When it comes to winning team titles in the postseason track and field, the right mix includes some big points from the star athletes matched with contributions from the rest of the roster.

"You've of course got to have your studs who are going to get you the 10 points," said Northern Coach Vickie Murphy. "But you really need to get those points in fourth and fifth and sixth place. Those add up and are really important."

A look at the team favorites for the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championships, which begin today and are concluded Saturday at Westlake, shows that those teams have just the right recipe.

Among the boys, Northern is led by two big scorers, seniors Ryan Murphy and Solomon Plater. Murphy could win three events, the 800 meter, 1,600 and 3,200, as he did during the indoors season, while Plater will be a contender in three field events -- the long jump, high jump and triple jump, all of which he won indoors.

Aside from those big winners, though, the Patriots have a lot of depth. Kyle Parker has emerged as one of the area's best in the long and triple jump, while Ivan Funcic has high-jumped 6 feet 4 this year. Sophomore Andrew Bauder was fourth in the SMAC in the 3,200 last year as a freshman, and he could contend for high spots in the distance races

Northern won the SMAC indoor championship with relative ease this February, scoring 97 points to La Plata's 79. The Patriots finished the dual-meet season with a 10-0 record.

"We're really excited," Vickie Murphy said. "We look so balanced. I feel like we have no glaring weaknesses."

On the girls' side, Westlake has a team with several top performers, including All-Met senior JaQuay Evans and her classmate Kathryne Carter, both sprinters. Senior Quiteelia Boyd is a top thrower as well as a jumper who can account for several points, and she is joined by several other athletes who can pick up points needed to win.

Westlake cruised to an easy indoor victory in the SMAC and eventually won the Maryland state 3A/2A title.

Northern's Ryan Murphy passes La Plata's Travis Wray in the 3,200 meter held in February in Landover.