There are few major differences between the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. In the spring, the meets are held outside, the distances of the races are slightly different, and the discus and 300-meter intermediate hurdles are added to the programs. But for the most part, spring track is an extension of the winter season.
When the Virginia outdoor season opens Saturday, as it traditionally does, with the Haringer Relays at Washington-Lee High School, the Lake Braddock girls will be hoping to extend their victorius winter season. The Bruins, led by Cathron Birge, upset Jefferson-Huguenot-Wythe for the state AAA indoor crown.
Birge, a junior, and Andy Heck, a senior from W.T. Woodson, are the only Northern Region defending outdoor state champions. Birge set a state meet record of 54.12 last year in winning the 400 meters by more than a second. Heck, last year's regional runner-up in the discus, threw a personal-best 168 feet 6 inches to win the state.
Indoors last month, Birge broke two state meet records -- in the 300 and 500 -- and won the prestigious Eastern track championship 600-yard run in 1:21.24, the fourth-fastest time ever by a high school girl.
With Birge running two events and the relays, the Bruins could win the outdoor state title.
Last year, T.C. Williams swept the boys and girls region meets. The Titans' boys could win their fifth straight region title, but the girls are long shots to take their third straight.
* Northern District -- For the boys team title, T.C. Williams and Lake Braddock should continue the close competition they staged indoors.
Individual favorites include Heck, Lake Braddock's Mike Newell (defending region champion in the high jump), Mike Anthony (1,600) and Chris Coleman (long jump), T.C. Williams' Robert Pettiford (shot put), Thomas Boggan (800), Shawn McNeil (long sprints) and Bren Lowery (100), and Jim Dotter (1,600) of West Springfield.
For the girls, Robinson is the only competition Lake Braddock should get. Along with Birge, top individuals are Lake Braddock's Adria and April Hicks and Dana Boone (sprints/hurdles), Susan Volpe (middle distance) and Kristi Cassell (distance), and Robinson's middle distance pair of Gena and Tama Clare and Tracy Duke.
* Great Falls District -- Last year, both of South Lakes' teams were in the top five in the region, but Herndon's Tom Huminick (shot put) and Ian Smith (long jump) were the only top-five individual finishers from the district in the state meet. Steve Dupree of Langley and Sandy Sanford of South Lakes should do well in the distances.
Langley or South Lakes should win the girls district. Individually, watch for South Lakes' Shannon Mansfield (high jump/long jump) and Kathy Graves (distances), and Langley distance runners Erin Keogh, Jenny Montgomery and Sharon Poole.
* Potomac District -- Jeremy Worrell, a Stuart junior, and Carmen Mann, a Falls Church junior, have dominated this district for the past two years and went on to win numerous district and regional titles. They both won state indoor championships in February. Worrell should help Stuart to a narrow district win over Annandale and Chantilly with top efforts in the jumps, long sprints, hurdles and relays. Mann should give the Jaguars' girls victories in the same events.
Other district contenders include Lyle Decker (hurdles) of Stuart, Doug Clark (pole vault) of Chantilly and Annandale's Bill Boatright and Jeff Pajak in the distances.
* Gunston District -- Fort Hunt could be the boys district winner and Mount Vernon the girls titlist. If the Majors' weight man, John Rymiszewski, can come back from an injured arm, he could be a double winner in the state meet.
Edison could give the Majors' girls a run, led by LaVerne Williams in the 100. The girls to watch are Mount Vernon's Jean Burris and Julie Cash (shot put), Lee's Christelle Williams (hurdles, sprints and long jump) and Fort Hunt sophomore Lisa Faggins (100/200).
* Commonwealth District -- The boys and girls of Woodbridge should be No. 1 in the Northwest Region. The Vikings are led by Chris Lockett (pole vault), Tony Jones (triple jump) and its state cross country champion distance squad.
Woodbridge's girls, the defending regional champions, should also be far ahead of Gar-Field and Stonewall Jackson in the district. Individual contenders include Robin White (hurdles) of Gar-Field and Lisa Malloy of Woodbridge and Angie Cheek of Stonewall Jackson (distances).