For some, running at armory a nightmare

February 11, 1997


Staff Correspondent

Each turn on the 200-meter oval is like sliding across a newly waxed kitchen floor. Shin splints are common and the gym is smaller than most facilities.

Welcome to the Maryland State High School Indoor Track Championships at the National Guard 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore, Md., where this week dreams become reality for some and reality becomes a nightmare for others.

"The best place to run, to get the best record, is at Hagerstown (Junior College)," Frederick boys coach Bill Price said. "The slowest place to run is the National Guard on the hardwood floor."


Five of Frederick's boys have earned state appearances, and Price has been able to evaluate his team's strengths and weaknesses in the National Guard Scholar meet and last week's 4A-3A region championships.

"A.J. Waldon is running the 55 and 300. His two worst meets have been there," Price said. "His other meets have been great. A.J. can compete with the best of them, he's just someone who has a little trouble with the Armory. Hopefully, the third time is the charm."

Meanwhile, distance standout Justin Ward has taken the earlier meets as a learning experience. He's changed his style of running while in Baltimore, but has been able to retain his aggressiveness.

Both Ward and Waldon "say they feel a strain on their legs," Price said. "Especially the quick races, going fast around the turns, you're feet are always slipping."

Clear Spring junior and Region 2A-1A West two-mile champ Tim Mason agrees.

"It's tough, real tough," Mason said. "(But) everybody has to run on the same surface. As long as it isn't dusty, as it's been in past years."


"We went down the the National Guard games and you could just see the dust laying on the lanes," Mason said. "You have a lot of people falling."

During the Scholar Games, a girls' relay team dropped the baton as the competitor in the next lane fell. Worrying about the girl, the runner kicked her dropped baton across the floor. By the time she recovered, her team was being lapped.

Overall, though, Mason said the Armory is "a very nice facility," describing the suspended bleachers that surround the oval. True, it's smaller, but the ceiling is higher and, Mason said, helps breathing considerably.

Things may change next season, when Prince George's County recieves a state-of-the-art facility from the NFL's Washington Redskins deal.

One last chance

The Potomac Valley Athletic Club is offering high school runners one last competition before the Maryland State High School Indoor Track Championships.

The meet will be held at the Hagerstown Junior College ARCC on Saturday, Feb. 15, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Events include the high jump, shot put, 55, 55 hurdles, 300, 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

In a similar meet Dec. 22, nearly 400 people participated from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Cost for athletes 18-and-under is $5 for the first two events and $3 for every additional event. Entry fee for adults is $5 for the first event, $3 for the second.

For more information, contact PVAC representative Jan Price at (301) 293-4219.

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