Eleanor Roosevelt senior Tiandra Ponteen and senior Juanita Broaddus of William Penn (Pa.), two of the nation's top sprinters during the indoor season, never raced each other until Saturday when they lined up for the 200-meter dash at the Morgan State Invitational.
Ponteen proved the most prepared for the showdown. The two-time All-Met Athlete of the Year took control heading into the straightaway and finished in 23.59 seconds, smashing the meet record of 24.57 set by Broaddus last year. Broaddus also topped her old mark, finishing in 23.97.
"It was no contest from what I could see after she came off the turn," Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Larry Colbert said.
Broaddus led the nation indoors in the 200 with 24.19, and Ponteen was seventh at 25.07. Ponteen's flat-track 39.19 and banked-track 37.85 in the 300 were the nation's fastest and second-fastest, respectively, while Broaddus's fastest time was 38.44 on a banked track.
However, the two avoided going head-to-head last month at the Nike Indoor Championships, choosing to run -- and dominate -- separate events. Broaddus won the 200 in 24.19, and Ponteen took the 400 in 55.00.
Ponteen "didn't have a chance to race [Broaddus] at nationals, so she definitely was excited to race her," Colbert said. "It was a fantastic day for her, a good race for her to get under her belt, because she really wanted Juanita bad."
Ponteen was not finished, however. She then captured Saturday's 400 dash in a meet-record 55.49.
Colbert was also impressed with junior Nathandra John, who placed third (12.30) in the 100 and fourth (25.08) in the 200 even though she thought the final sections of the 200 were just preliminary heats.
"She was running just to qualify," Colbert said. "She said, 'Oh, coach, I wish I would've known. I could've gone 24 [seconds] easy.' " . . .
DeMatha's Anthony Wiseman also enjoyed a record-setting day. The All-Met won the 100 in a meet-record 10.53, nipping Bullis senior Rashaad Woodard (10.55). The first five finishers, including fifth-place Therrian Davis (10.99) of Roosevelt, bested the 11.01 set last year by Oakland Mills's Chris Barksdale.
Pallotti Shows Power
Junior catcher Tommy Rossi entered the season hoping that the Pallotti baseball team could double last year's home run output. Since the Panthers hit just one last year -- an inside-the-park one -- that goal seemed reasonable.
After nine games, however, Rossi has two home runs. With additional homers from senior Matt Anderson, sophomore Kevin Olive and freshman Travis Stewart, the Panthers have soared past last season's mark.
"We're not really trying to hit home runs; we're just doing what we should do by putting the bat on the ball," Rossi said. "We're just normal people, but I guess the offseason workouts paid off."
Through Sunday, the team was 4-5 overall and 3-2 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B League Division I. However, in games in which they homered the Panthers were 4-1.
"If we hit a home run, we're pretty much guaranteed to win," Anderson said. "We're just so into it, and we're ready to play after that. . . .To hit one out for our little Pallotti, that's pretty cool."
The deep balls have come at opportune times. Facing Boys' Latin in late March, Pallotti trailed by as many as six, but Olive's two-run shot tied the game in the seventh. The Panthers won in extra innings. Against Glenelg Country Day six days later, a two-run blast by Rossi tied the game in the fourth inning, and Pallotti went on to win by four.
"We don't have any big strong physical kids, but we're making great contact with the ball," Pallotti Coach Pat Courtemanche said. "We know we need to score eight or 10 runs to win a game, and we've been scoring some runs."
Kellner on Track for Hitting Mark
To say that Bowie senior first baseman Paul Kellner has been a tough out this season would be an understatement. Starting this week, he had 13 hits in 16 at-bats, an .812 average, and was on pace to shatter the single-season state record held by Bowie's Danny Stein, who had a .655 batting average in 1999. Coincidentally, Stein is the Bulldogs' volunteer hitting coach.
"Paul's not hitting bloop singles, either," said Bowie Coach Bill Seibert. "He's hitting line drives. There have been times that he has hit the ball so hard I thought the ball would hurt somebody, but thankfully nothing bad has happened."
Kellner, who has driven in 13 runs and scored 10, was one of four Bulldogs hitting at least .600 as the week began. The others are senior infielder Jamey Pacel (.667), junior outfielder Jeff Casey (.625) and senior third baseman Brian Trotter (.600).
The Bulldogs have found the going quite easy, outscoring their first five opponents, 103-0, while their pitchers yielded just five hits.
However, a rougher road awaited this week. Bowie hosted Parkdale on Monday and traveled to undefeated Eleanor Roosevelt on Tuesday. The Bulldogs face Northern (6-0), the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference front-runner, at 9 a.m. Saturday.
"Obviously, this is a very big week for us because of who we play, and they are all good teams that we need to beat," Kellner said. "If we can do that, I think we will prove to everybody that we are legitimate."
-- Kynan Kelly, Dan Steinberg and Jon Gallo