Performer of the Year: Jesse O'Connell, Westminster
O'Connell's year began with a strong performance in cross country, then got better. He was the team leader for the state 4A champion Owls, and also was All-Metro. Then came the indoor track season and the task of taking on a new event -- the long sprint 500 meters). No problem. He won his specialty (800 meters), did his usual fine work as a relayist and finished a strong second in the 500 to help lead Westminster to the state 4A indoor title. He was thus named the top performer on the All-Met team. And, that was just the beginning. O'Connell was untouchable in the 800, going unbeaten, and was strong in the 1,600, too. Then came the state championship meet. In the 3,200 relay, O'Connell over- came a 50-meter deficit on the anchor leg. His time, giving his team the victory, was 1:51.8. After that performance, he added victories in the 800 (1:53.71) and 1,600 (4:19.58). O'Connell is headed for Georgetown University.
This is getting to be an on-again, on-again thing, Shank's being named to this coaching honor. But who's to deny the Owls have had a sensational season under their cast of coaches, the boys winning the state 4A titles in cross country and indoor track and being right up there in the final standings outdoors and the girls being close behind.
Jared Craig, Westminster
If, perchance, there was an event O'Connell didn't take care of, Craig was there for Westminster -- running, jumping, hurdling, you name it. A state champion hurdler, Craig, an aspiring decathlete, scored in the long jump at the state meet and high jumps 6 feet 2.
Kyle Farmer, Oakland Mills
It really doesn't matter what events Farmer runs in the state championships, just figure him for 40 points and go from there. Besides winning the 400 in a record 47.81, he proved the hammer on four winning relay teams as Oakland Mills rallied for the Class 1A title.
Norman Forrest, Mervo
Starting with a 48-foot plus triple jump early in the season, the Mervo senior bound for Norfolk State roared out to a solid season culminating with a second-place finish in the state meet (46-3). He also had a fifth in the long jump after winning both jumps in the city championships and the triple at regionals.
Luis George, Long Reach
One of the main reasons Long Reach was able to win the Howard County title over Oakland Mills and go on to finish fourth in the state 3A meet is George. He dominated at 400 and 800, winning both events at the county, region and state levels. He runs the low 49s and 1:56s consistently.
Clevon Johnson, Woodlawn
Johnson capped another All-Metro campaign with a 1:56.25 800 and a 4:27.6 1,600 in the state 4A meet. At the same time, he led Woodlawn's 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams to second-place finishes. He ran 1:53 behind O'Connell's 1:51.8 on the fourth leg of the 3,200 relay.
Rayvon Johnson, Annapolis
The senior not only scored a 100-200-long jump triple at the Anne Arundel County championships, but he also had a third-place finish in the triple jump just in case his team needed the points. Due to graduation the day of the state meet finals, Johnson was restricted to competing in the 100 dash, where he finished second.
Alan McDavid, Calvert Hall
The dominant performer in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association indoors and outdoors the past two years, McDavid rarely lost in distance from 60 yards to 400 meters and usually brought the Cardinals from behind to win relay races.
Jeremy Moore, Broadneck
Quietly, almost without fanfare, Moore has showed up at meets the last two seasons, heaved the 12-pound ball further than anyone else and departed the premises. He's the county and region champ and his 52-foot-6 throw was good for the runner-up's spot in the state 4A meet.
Chris Scott, North County
The combination of speed, size and technique has served Scott well as the area's premier high hurdler this season. At the same time, he won over the intermediate hurdles most of the time and proved a consistent point scorer in the 100 dash and sometimes in the high jump.
Marques Sneed, Catonsville
A necessity on any track team is a speedy 400 runner, one who can dip down to the 200 or move up and run a serviceable 800. This makes him invaluable on relay teams. Sneed is such a performer. He ran a best of 48.2 and is a county, region and state (2A) champ.
Mike Styczynski, River Hill
Named top performer on last fall's All-Metro cross country squad, Styczynski completes a 3-for-3 run on All-Met squads by doing what comes naturally for him: winning the 3,200 and challenging in the 1,600. He took the state 3A 3,200 title in 9:31.6 and was fourth in the 1,600 in 4:27.7. He's headed to Ithaca College.
Nick Wright, Mount St. Joseph
As sure as the Gaels show up wearing purple uniforms, Wright will be there taking part in four hurdles and jumping events. In the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association, he dominates the hurdles and high jump and, against outside competition, he always scores.
Gary Bates, Randallstown
Dwayne Birden, Calvert Hall
Mike Brown, Annapolis
Matt Diggs, Edgewood
Nick Fambro, Oakland Mills
Justin Ferguson, Howard
Jerome Goodman, North County
Andy Kuchera, Westminster
Dusty Lieb, Arch. Spalding
Rob Ludwig, Mt. St. Joseph
Erik Myhill, Severna Park
Shane Stroup, River Hill
Antonio Thomas, Woodlawn
Note: The All-Metro boys track teams were selected by Phil Jackman after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.