When Carroll senior Kevin Brown exceeded his previous best in the triple jump by two feet and broke the school record in the long jump by one foot -- all at the beginning of the indoor track season -- Lions Coach Bill Witte knew he had something special.
In two years, Brown has improved from a 41-foot triple jumper to possibly the area's best with a 47-6 thus far. Last weekend at Central High, he won the triple jump in the Falconers Invitational with a best of 44-9, which was five inches better than second place finisher Al Perrine of DeMatha.
"We're expecting all kinds of things from him this season," said Witte. "We're looking at 24 feet: that's the magic number for the long jump. The Howard University coach told us that that's what he and other coaches consider for Division I full scholarships. That's his goal, he's also shooting for 49 feet in the triple jump."
A two-foot improvement is not out of the question for Brown, who competed at the East Coast championships last month and finished second in the long jump at 23-3 1/4. Two years ago, Brown had never competed at any sport, let alone track. He started with the horizontal jumps and has progressed from a pinnacle of 41 feet that first year.
In closing last year's outdoor season with a clearance of 45-6 in the triple jump in the Metro Conference meet, Brown became the WMAC record-holder.
Charting Brown's progress in the past, the league long jump record of 24-4 also is within reach. O'Connell's Eric Metcalf, who plays football for the University of Texas, set that mark last year in the Metro championship.
Brown tops the list of several potential record-setters in the private school ranks this spring.
Like Brown, Good Counsel senior Norris Hanes also competed in the Easterns. There, he finished third in a hotly contested 55-meter dash. Over the past two years, Hanes has demonstrated proficiency at distances from 55 to 500 meters. Last year he paced Montgomery County sprinters with a time of 22.0 in the 200 meters. In addition to his success in the 55 this indoor season, Hanes ran fast enough to be ranked second in the nation at 300 meters.
"We'll concentrate on the 200 to 400 and we definitely think he can run 47.0 in the 400 ," said Coach Mark Jankovitz. Metcalf set the Metro Conference at 47.7 last year. "We'll see if [Hanes] can go 46.0, that's where his training is now. Last year, we didn't gear him for the quarter and he ran a 48.7, no problem. We're confident he can run it."
Episcopal, perennially among the upper echelon of the Interstate Athletic Conference, will be relying on seniors Richard Beaver and Jim Bass for big points. Beaver is a top distance runner and Bass excels in the pole vault.
"Richard would like to win both the 1,500 and 3,000 in the IAC championships," said his coach, Buz Male. Beaver is the defending league champion in the 1,500 and was runner-up in the 3,000. "Ultimately, we're going to try to get him ready for the Penn Relays 3,000," Male said.
A Penn Relays invitation is also incentive for Bass to clear 14 feet this year in the pole vault. The league's defending champion in that event, Bass already has exceeded 13-6.
"Jim would like to make 15 feet," said Male. "That's a high goal. Realistically, I think he can make 14 easily this year."
Although most athletes take pride in seeing how long a record they established will stand after they are no longer competing, Ted Lewis, who holds the IAC high jump record of 6 feet, 8 inches, is a bit different.
Lewis, who set his record while competing for Sidwell Friends, may see two athletes threaten or break his record this spring. If they do, however, Lewis will experience pride, not disappointment, because the senior Steve Bowsher and sophomore Will Warren are now competing for him at Landon.
Two weeks ago, Bowsher and Warren teamed to win the Landon Relays high jump at a combined 12-8. Each jumped 6-4 and quickly set their sights higher.
"At first, my goal this year was to jump 6-4, which is the school record," said Bowsher. "Now that I have reached that, my next goal is the IAC record at 6-8. That one should be interesting because my coach set it."
For Bullis senior Mark Forster, the biggest problem is how to coordinate his schedule. If Forster could do it, he would enter everything from the 55-meter hurdles to the 800-meter run.
Forster already holds Bulldogs school records in the 55 hurdles, the 200-meters, 300, 400, 600 and 800. His early spring times have established him as an IAC contender at any distance between 100 and 800 yards. Yet, Forster has further ambitions. He wants to add the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles to his spring list.
"This year I want to score as many points for my team as possible," said Forster, who realizes doing just that may lessen his chances of breaking meet records in several of the events.
The only junior to join the elite group is Georgetown Prep's Kevin Haley. A discus thrower Coach Mike Horsey says is "really a decathlete," Haley already has thrown 145 feet in competition (the IAC record is 166). While the difference may seem insurmountable, consider Haley's improvement in one year. Last year, in his first year of competition, he was throwing 132 feet.
"I think Kevin can break the league record," said Horsey. "If not this year, then definitely the next. He's been throwing 150s in practice."
Haley, the defending league champion, undertook the event after the season officially ended his freshman year because the team's discus throwers were seniors. "The day after the league meet, Kevin picked up the discus and started working with it. There was nobody else," said Horsey.