The St. Mary’s High track & field team got their first look at the competition in the BSAL, and it wasn’t exactly intimidating.
The Panthers hosted a three-way league meet between Kennedy, Holy Names and Albany on Thursday, as St. Mary’s is one of only two schools in the BSAL with track facilities (Piedmont is the other). St. Mary’s entered most events, with their scores not counting, to get in a day of practice. Although many of the home team’s top competitors didn’t participate, the Panthers still established their dominance over the league, winning most of the events they entered.
“We have fun out here, but it’s also a hard practice for us,” St. Mary’s senior Solomon Welch said. “But I know the coaches take it seriously.”
But veterans like Welch, a state finalist in hurdles last season and on of the state’s top jumpers, weren’t really what the St. Mary’s coaches were concentrating on. Distance coach Dennis Mohun, who ran the event, said the league meets are a good chance for the younger athletes to get a taste of competition.
“For some kids this is their first meet, and it’s a big learning experience,” Mohun said. “Our vets also get a chance to help the younger kids, which they can’t usually do at a meet.”
But for the Panthers’ top athletes, Thursday was a chance to either rest or run some different events. Welch, not usually a sprinter, ran the 100- and 200-meter dashes along with the 110-meter hurdles, finishing second in each event. Three of the team’s top competitors, Trestin George, Courtney Brown and Chris Dunbar, didn’t even suit up for the meet, choosing to rest their legs after taking part in a national event in New York last weekend.
Some of the stars did come out for St. Mary’s, however. Kamaiya Warren, a state hopeful in both throwing events, easily bested the field in the discus, with Leon Drummer dominating the boys’ side in the event. Junior Jason Bolden-Anderson won both hurdles events and finished third in the 100-meter dash, nipping Welch in the 110-meter hurdles and finishing just behind him in the sprint.
“It’s fun to run against Solomon, since I see him every day in practice,” Bolden-Anderson said. “We get a chance to see where we’re at for real.”
St. Mary’s senior Steve Murphy, who missed most of last season with pneumonia, came back with a vengeance, winning the long jump and the 100-meter dash. For Murphy, the league meets will be a chance to get his form back before regionals and possibly state.
“I’m getting my legs back, and I know I have to train hard to get to the state meet in the 100,” Murphy said.