Best team in six years sparked by sprinter, hurdler


by craig clary

Taylor Martin, 11, of the Catonsville Cougars, showcases the medal she won in the 100 meter dash at the 12th annual North County Summer Open championships.
Track and Field

The No. 13 may be unlucky for some folks, but don't count Catonsville Cougars summer track coach Tony Christian among them.

Christian, who has headed the Cougars program since 2002, qualified 13 of his athletes for the Amateur Athletic Union Region 2 championships, held last month at Delaware State University in Dover.

Two of the standouts, Kellie Christian and Taylor Martin, also qualified for the AAU National Junior Olympics in Knoxville, Tenn.

Christian, 16, competed in the 200-meter dash in Knoxville, where she clocked 24.78 and placed sixth in the finals of the Intermediate age group.

The top six in the race, won by Kamaria Brown (24.13), all were under 25 seconds.

Facing athletes from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and the District of Columbia, Christian, a rising junior at Catonsville High, set her own personal record of 24.37 in the regional final in Dover.

The winner's time of 23.60 in that race was a national record, and second place (23.78) equaled it for her age group.

Christian is the reigning Baltimore County outdoor champion in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, and was third in the Class 3A state 200 meters (24.72).

Martin, 11, qualified for the nationals by taking third in the 80-meter hurdles at regionals with a personal record of 14.79.

Tony Christian noted, via e-mail, that Martin's performances was exceptional considering its her first year running track.

At nationals, Martin equaled her personal best of 14.79 and was 12th in the preliminaries of the 80 hurdles.

Although she didn't qualify for nationals, rising Catonsville High junior Naomy Ramos, 16, was sixth in triple jump (33 feet) at regionals.

During the 2007 Baltimore County championships, Ramos set a school record in the 300 hurdles (46:04).

Tara McDonald, 11, was eighth in the 800 (2:44) at regionals, but she didn't qualify for nationals because several elite runners were in her event.

Also competing at the regionals in Dover were hurdlers Davonte Wallace, Maura Wallace and Breya Wallace, distance runners Nick Nonn and Nika Macdonald and sprinters Espinal Koenig and Jacob Koenig.

Caroline Cerand, Tommy Perry and Kemahn Jones qualified for the Dover meet but were unable to compete.

The Cougars, who practice at Randallstown High, completed their regular season July 26 with a meet at North County High.