Top-seeded Arumugam takes little for granted

February 19, 2006|By ANDREW MASON

North Hagerstown distance-running star Hemu Arumugam won so many races as a freshman, sophomore and junior that his senior year has been playing out like one long victory lap.

Arumugam will attempt to add two more state titles to his trophy case Monday at the Maryland Class 2A-1A Indoor Track Championships at the Prince George's County Sports & Learning Complex in Landover. He is the top seed in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs

"It's states, it's my senior year and it's my last indoor meet, so that all adds more pressure," said Arumugam, who already owns three state titles in the 3,200 - one from indoor and two from outdoor. "That puts a lot more weight on it than usual. I just have to make sure I do well."


In his two seasons of indoor track, Arumugam, who played basketball as a freshman and sophomore, has only lost one distance race. Competing in 3A-2A last year, he finished third in the 1,600 at states.

At the West region championships on Feb. 3, Arumugam won the 1,600 in 4:29.4 - nearly 2 seconds slower than his personal best set the previous week at the Washington County meet, but 4.1 seconds ahead of runner-up Brian Jefferies of Fort Hill, the defending state champ in the event.

Arumugam said the 1,600 is the event that has been getting most of his focus recently.

"I've been doing a lot more speedwork, because that's my weaker event," he said. "I've come a long way from where I used to be. ...

"And I've got to make sure I do well in the 3,200, too, because that is my event."

After Monday, Arumugam, the three-time Herald-Mail Boys Runner of the Year in cross country, will start preparing for his final tour on the prep outdoor circuit.

"I don't take much for granted," said Arumugam, who will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. "I'm still working hard."

Leopards take aim

If any team brings a 2A-1A team title back to Washington County on Monday, it most likely will be the Smithsburg boys.

"I think we have a legitimate chance at a top-five finish," said Smithsburg coach Ray Shriver, whose boys finished second to Liberty in the West region meet. "If things go well and everything falls into place, we could go top three."

What about winning it?

"Everything would have to fall perfectly into place," Shriver said. "There are some teams out there that are just loaded. Just looking off the Internet, Forestville looks extremely tough and we already know Liberty is really tough."

The Leopards will have to get it done in the sprints, hurdles and relays, like they did at the region meet. Chad Brown won the 55 and 300, Jamal Campbell and Derek Martin went 1-2 in the 55 hurdles and Brown, Campbell and Martin teamed with Charlie Wisz to win the 800 relay.

"My prediction is that 50 to 60 points is probably going to win it," Shriver said. "If everything clicks, we're going to be right there in the hunt."

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