Horner Is at His Best at Penn Relays
PHILADELPHIA, April 28 — It wasn’t until after his first attempt in the discus at the 113th Penn Relays that Brunswick junior Ben Horner really could relax. Remembering the rocky start that hamstrung his performance at last year’s competition, the All-Met repeated to himself one simple instruction: don’t foul.
Horner settled into his stance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field and let fly a first attempt that landed fair. That toss gave him the necessary confidence and ultimately led to a career-best throw of 51 meters 14 centimeters (167 feet 51⁄ inches) that earned him sixth
2 place among some of the country’s top throwers.
“Last year, my first two throws were fouls, so I had to get my first throw in,” said Horner, a Maryland state shot put and discus champion last outdoor season. “I got a 160 on my first throw. That allowed me to get loose on my next throws.”
Prone to foul trouble earlier this season despite not having lost to another Maryland competitor, Horner had difficulty remaining in the thrower’s circle on his follow through. That trouble prompted him to modify his technique and increase his weight training. Those measures have helped Horner make noticeable improvement over the last several weeks.
“I think I gained more control and more strength,” Horner said. “I’m still pretty thin for discus throwers, but I can do a lot more weight than I could do two months ago.”
Among area high schools teams, Howard had the day’s best finish. The 4x100 relay of Matt Harvey, Marcus Randolph, Anthony Elliott and Chris Brewington ran in the Lions’ first final in school history and clocked a school-record 42.34 seconds to finish third out of eight teams in the smallschools division. DuVal was last in 43.21.
No other local boys’ team qualified for a relay final, and DeMatha’s absence was conspicuous. The Stags reached the prestigious 4x400 Championship of America in each of the last two years, placing third in 2005 and sixth in ’06. On Friday, however, the Hyattsville school lacked its characteristic smoothness, finishing in 3:25.96 and far out of contention. DeMatha Coach Anthony Bryant was at a loss for words.
“I can’t explain. I have no idea,” said Bryant, throwing his hands in the air. “We shine at places like this. For us not to do it is very disappointing. We run to win. Unfortunately, this wasn’t our weekend.”
Howard’s Marcus Randolph, left, prepares to take the baton from teammate Matthew Harvey in the 4x100 relay. The Lions finished third among small schools.
Centreville senior Phil Allison raises his game in the high jump.