Indoor Track Meet Has Many Contenders

Larry Colbert took over as Eleanor Roosevelt's track and field coach 11 years ago, and since then the Greenbelt school's girls team never has lost at the Prince George's County indoor track meet.

That could change this afternoon at Hagerstown Community College, where the county meet starts at 4 p.m. County coaches expect it to be the closest meet in years, as a number of teams have a chance to defeat the reigning champions.

"It's going to be pretty tough," Colbert said. "It is not going to be easy."

Largo, which has a group of talented, experienced sprinters, has the best chance to win its first girls indoor county title. Senior Chiquita Stephens has recorded the nation's seventh-fastest prep-level time in the 55 meters (7.24 seconds) and junior India Ransom won the 55 in 7.38 seconds at the D.C. Invitational on Thursday.

Stephens and Ransom could face two of Eleanor Roosevelt's top sprinters, Kim Jones and Teyanna Gresham, in the 55, creating an intriguing final.

The 1,600 and 3,200 also will be key events, with the Behrns sisters, Niki and Crystal, competing against Largo junior Ryann Holmes. Holmes won the events at the D.C. Invitational, posting the fastest times in the county at 5 minutes 40.58 seconds and 12:27.31, respectively.

The Laurel girls team could overtake Largo and Roosevelt, especially since the Spartans have the fastest 4x400 relay team in the county (4:02.71) and the top two pole vaulters, Gacenta Bowen (season best of 7 feet 6 inches) and Dianna Franklin (7-0).

The boys competition should be wide open, unless Northwestern All-Met senior Dwight Thomas returns. Thomas, who has not run since suffering a sprained ankle at the Jan. 8 Virginia Tech meet, has not been ruled out, according to Coach Marie Graham-Sims.

Suitland will be led by senior Shannon Hughes and junior Tim Riley in the middle-distance events. High Point, the defending county champion, will be anchored by sprinter Andrew Murphy and shot putters Shayne Thurston and Garreth Fearon.

DeMatha Hockey Team Primed for League Play

DeMatha's ice hockey team is turning its attention to Maryland Scholastic Hockey League (MSHL) play after finishing with a loss and two ties in the Bethel Park (Pa.) tournament last weekend. The Stags (19-8-3, 4-0) had won the St. Charles tournament in Columbus (Ohio) in November and the Gonzaga Purple Puck tournament in December.

The Stags--two-time defending MSHL champions and winners of six league titles since 1990--face an important test Friday when they face Mount St. Joseph's of Baltimore at Laurel Ice Rink. The Gaels were the MSHL's runners-up the past two seasons, losing the title games to DeMatha by identical 3-2 scores.

"The kids on both teams and from both schools recognize that this is a big rivalry," DeMatha assistant coach Paul Ruggles said. "It will be a good test to see where we both stand."

The Stags have received strong play from their first line--which includes wingers Gary Burgess (30 goals), Colin Hanley (17 goals) and center Kevin Earley (17 goals, 32 assists). DeMatha senior All-Met goaltender Lenny Barnard is 12-3-2 with a 91.7 save percentage.

CAPTION: E. Roosevelt's Kim Jones will vie for county's indoor 55-meter title.