Arumugam distances self from field

February 06, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

The switch from basketball to indoor track couldn't have worked out any better for North Hagerstown's Hemu Arumugam.

Coming off a dominating performance in which Arumugam set Washington County meet records in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, he cashed in another sterling afternoon at the Maryland Class 3A-2A West Region meet at the HCC athletic complex, winning the same two events and setting himself up for what could be a banner day at the state championships.

"This is my first year indoors, and I'm definitely excited for states, because that's what this is all for," Arumugam said.

Arumugam had his hands full in the 1,600, which went down to the wire with Centennial's Brian Harvey and River Hill's Nicholas Keane. Arumugam, the front-runner, held on in the final lap in 4 minutes, 31.1 seconds to edge Harvey (4:32.8) and Keane (4:33.4).


"I've been concentrating on the mile a lot, it's my weaker event," Arumugam said. "They were coming right up on me. I knew that was going to be a close race, those guys are good."

The 3,200 was a breeze in comparison, as Arumugam dropped the hammer around the fifth lap and pulled away to clock 9:56 and win by more than 15 seconds.

"Both my mile and 2-mile have definitely improved," Arumugam said. "There was a year-and-a-half there where my times didn't improve much. I was playing basketball in the winter, and indoor track has definitely helped my times."

North's boys finished third in the team standings with 51 points, 12 behind champion Centennial, and showed plenty of sprinting muscle to go with Arumugam's distance prowess. Da'rail Porter ran a personal-best 6.5 seconds to win the 55 dash, then anchored the 800 relay team filled out by Greg Sandridge (third in the 55), Bernard Artillus and Jerome Ford to another victory in 1:36.9.

"(The 55) was really close, really close," Porter said. "I knew I could do it if I timed my start right and had the blocks right. I ran my best time today, so I'm really happy. ... (The relay team) is a great group. I think we'll be able to place higher at states than we did last year."

Middletown hurdler Steve Papuchis let out a yell at the finish line after he crossed it in 7.8 seconds to win the 55 hurdles, edging Mt. Hebron's Blake Garcia.

"I could see him in my peripheral vision. When we crossed the line I wasn't sure who won," Papuchis said. "It wasn't until we were cleared off the line that Coach (Don Boyer) told me I won. ... It was a good race. It wasn't a perfect race, there are still some things I can do to get over the hurdles quicker, but it was a good race."

North's Sharnay Burnett won the girls shot put easily with a throw of 36 feet, 1 1/4 inches - almost three feet farther than anyone else.

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