Horner Is at His Best at Penn Re­lays

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports - By Carl Lit­tle

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.”

PHO­TOS BY TONI L. SANDYS — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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.

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