QA’s hopes to gen­er­ate points through­out lineup

Ma­jor pieces in place for de­fend­ing Bay­side cham­pion North Caro­line

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

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.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­dem.com

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