Lackey girls, West­lake boys seek­ing state track ti­tles

Lackey girls, West­lake boys track and field teams look­ing to re­peat

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

Bol­stered by their dom­i­nance in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence dur­ing the re­cent in­door track and field sea­son, the Lackey High School girls and West­lake High School boys will be dif­fi­cult to up­end as re­spec­tive Class 2A state out­door track and field cham­pi­ons this spring.

Lackey won the girls ti­tle last spring thanks largely to the ef­forts of Syd­ney Wil­liams, who won the 200-me­ter dash as well as the 100 hur­dles and 300 hur­dles to com­plete a rare triple as a ju­nior. The Charg­ers se­nior, joined by ju­nior Do­minique Jef­fery and Nikiya Mitchell, Erin Pear­son, Destiny Thompson and Tay­lor Wil­liams, give Lackey tal­ent and depth in in­di­vid­ual events and re­lays.

“I’m re­ally fo­cused on the hur­dles again this spring,” Wil­liams said at the con­clu­sion of the in­door sea­son. “I would like to be able to main­tain the state ti­tle in both the 100 and the 300, but my main goal is the 300. We have a lot of good girls on this team and we al­ways push each other to work harder and go faster.”

Mitchell, Pear­son, Thompson and Tay­lor Wil­liams will likely com­prise the 800 re­lay and 1,600 re­lay quar­tets, while Syd­ney Wil­liams and Jef­fery could oc­cupy the top two spots in the 200 this spring af­ter they took first and third, re­spec­tively, in last year’s state cham­pi­onships. Mitchell will also prove for­mi­da­ble in the 100 hur­dles where she fin­ished fourth last spring.

“I know we wanted the in­door ti­tle, but that got away from us at the end,” Jef­fery said. “But our main fo­cus now is get­ting the out­door ti­tle again. We have a lot of the same girls back that won last year, in­clud­ing my­self and Syd­ney. We’re all look­ing for­ward to go­ing back there and do­ing just as well as we did last year.”

Lackey ju­nior Court­ney Hawkins will also be called upon for valu­able points in a pair of field events where she per­formed very well last spring. At the 2A state cham­pi­onships, Hawkins fin­ished third in the girls shot put and fourth in the dis­cus and has ev­ery right to im­prove those po­si­tions this spring.

The Charg­ers are sched­uled to be­gin the 2017 SMAC schedule with a tri-meet at Chop­ti­con

that also in­cludes Patux­ent at 4 p.m. Tues­day.

The West­lake boys as­cended to the head of the class among 2A squads last spring and re­turn all but one of the run­ners re­spon­si­ble for that suc­cess, hav­ing grad­u­ated Jalen El­liott. But the Wolver­ines re­turn dual state cham­pion Will Moten (100 and 200) and Thomas Al­corn, who won the 400 and was sec­ond to Moten in the 200.

West­lake won the boys 800 and 1,600 re­lays last spring, but grad­u­ated two mem­bers of the 800 and one from the 1,600. Nev­er­the­less, Al­corn, Moten, To­bias Hur­ley and An­thony John­son were su­perb all win­ter in those events dur­ing the in­door sea­son and that quar­tet will prove dif­fi­cult to beat dur­ing the out­door sea­son, which is sched­uled to be­gin at 4 p.m. Tues­day when the Wolver­ines host Great Mills, Leonard­town and Thomas Stone.

“All of us con­stantly push each other to get bet­ter,” said Al­corn, a Univer­sity of Hous­ton recruit. “We try not to look at the team to­tals un­til the meet’s over. We know if we all go out there and do what we’re sup­posed to do in our events, we can win the state ti­tle. But it’s not some­thing that we al­ways look at right away. We want to get faster and we push each other in prac­tice to get faster and the re­sults take care of them­selves.”

North Point se­nior Mal­lo­rie Smith will head into the spring sea­son as the de­fend­ing 4A state cham­pion in the 400 and will seek to im­prove on her third-place fin­ish in the 200, while se­nior Rachel Nueslein will look to main­tain her sta­tus as one of the county’s top dis­tance spe­cial­ists. Lackey’s 400 re­lay of Dion Yelder, Tevin Thomas, Tre Gul­ley and Demetrius Sims com­bined to place third last spring in the state fi­nals and that en­tire quar­tet re­turns for a po­ten­tial ti­tle bid.

“We had 68 girls come out for the out­door team,” North Point head coach Deb­bie Hall said. “We had 30 fresh­men girls try out and some of them are go­ing to have an im­pact at the meets right away. Mal­lo­rie is re­ally ex­cited to get back out­doors and de­fend her ti­tle in the 400. She wasn’t among the top seeds last year and she had to climb her way through the slow heats to win it all.”

North Point is sched­uled to host Calvert, La Plata and North­ern at 4 p.m. Tues­day in its South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence sea­son opener for all three squads and Hall is al­ready look­ing for­ward to the oc­ca­sion. North­ern’s girls have set the bar high for the SMAC squads the past two sea­sons and the Pa­tri­ots will arrive as the fa­vorite, some­thing that Hall rel­ishes.

“That should be a very good meet for all four teams,” Hall said. “I’m very ex­cited to see how this group of girls does on the track and in the field events. We’re young, but we have proven tal­ent in Mal­lo­rie and Rachel and we have some fresh­men and sopho­mores that are go­ing to sur­prise some people this spring. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to the meet.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

West­lake High School se­nior Thomas Al­corn, pic­tured here win­ning the 300-me­ter run dur­ing the in­door sea­son, will play a key role in the Wolver­ines’ Class 2A state ti­tle de­fense this spring as the out­door track and field sea­son gets un­der way.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Lackey High School se­nior Syd­ney Wil­liams, pic­tured here com­pet­ing in the 55-me­ter hur­dles dur­ing the in­door sea­son, will look to de­fend her 2A state ti­tle in the 100 hur­dles, 300 hur­dles and 200-me­ter dash dur­ing the up­com­ing spring out­door track and field sea­son.

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