QA’s hopes to generate points throughout lineup
Major pieces in place for defending Bayside champion North Caroline
Rob Thomas thought North Caroline High boys’ track and field team had the talent to make a legitimate run at a state title at the outset of this past indoor season.
Everything didn’t quite come together as planned though, as the Bulldogs, after winning the Bayside Conference title by over 50 points, placed third at the 2A East Regional championships and 12th at states.
Less than two months after that state meet, North Caroline’s head coach again thinks his team has the goods to make a serious bid outdoors.
“I think this team is capable of making a run for a state title,” Thomas said. “We have a few pieces we’ve got to fill in, but I think we’ve got some good allaround athletes who can make a push and get ready for that competition across the bridge.”
One of Caroline’s biggest pieces is junior Rodney Thomas, the defending Bayside and 2A East champion in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. If Thomas becomes eligible midseason he could again be a multiple-title contender, and also have a shot at the 100, where he was regional runner-up.
The Bulldogs have plenty of other big pieces.
Senior Anton Black won the region high jump title, was runner-up in the 200, and third in the 100 last spring, and comes off a strong indoor season that included title-winning efforts in the 55, 300 and high jump at Baysides. Devin Robinson and Jason Samuels finished 1-2 indoors at regionals in the pole vault. Chris Haile qualified for states last year in the 110 hurdles and long jump, and just missed a spot in the triple jump.
The Bulldogs should also pick up points from Jacob Stevens and Troy Smith, who finished 1-2 indoors at Baysides in the 3,200, and also run the 1,600. Melvin Umana, the Bayside runnerup in the 500, runs the 300 hurdles, as well as the 400 and the 1,600 relay. David Bailey returns after finishing third in the 300 hurdles a year ago outdoors. Derrick Adams figures to again be a key part of the 400 and 800 relays.
Sophomore Jamion Franklin’s return could provide a big boost. Franklin transferred to Baltimore private Gilman to play football this past fall, but transferred back to North Caroline in the winter. His return wouldn’t have helped indoors since he plays basketball, but it could mean big points this spring.
Like its girls’ team, North Caroline will look to make school history this season as it bids for a second straight Bayside title outdoors.
“I think Bayside and regionals should be pretty easy for us,” Coach Thomas said. “I don’t think anybody has a complete team like we have to make that run.”
Here’s a look at the rest of this year’s local teams:
Kent Island The same crew that carried the Bucs to an unprecedented sixth straight Bayside title in cross country last fall figures to set the pace outdoors for head coach Justin Holland. Jose Crosby, who overcame an early season injury to win the conference cross country title, leads a solid middleand long-distance group.
Cade Stanfield, second to Crosby at the conference cross country championships, won the Bayside indoor title at 1,600 meters and figures to challenge for a state berth there and in the 800. Sophomore Brandon Nichols, sixth in cross country at Baysides, is also in the 1,600-3,200 mix.
Queen Anne’s Nikolai Rhodes, the 2A East champ at 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters last year, is now on the roster at the Air Force Academy. Lions head coach Devone Comegys is hopeful this year’s team can make up Rhodes’ big scores by generating points from throughout the lineup.
Senior Vernon Ashley and junior Kevin Cassinelli will run the 400 and 800, with Ashley possibly running the 3,200 relay, and Cassinelli the 1,600. Juniors Andrew Brewer and Berkley Stinson look to produce points between the 800 and 3,200. Senior Jerron Brown will run hurdles and high jump, while sophomore Harrison Butski, a transfer from Pennsylvania, runs the 100 and 200.
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