Dominic Berger has spoken highly of the University of Maryland's efforts to revitalize its track and field program. The DeMatha High senior signed a national letter of intent with the Terps last week and plans to do his part to help the program climb back to prominence.
"They're on the rise and rebuilding their program," said Berger, a Mitchellville resident. "I just want to be a part of that."
Berger selected Maryland over Kentucky, Mississippi State, Pennsylvania and Seton Hall, and is the second member from the county's senior class to commit. DuVal hurdler Aaron James will be joining Berger in College Park in the fall.
Andrew Valmon, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and former Georgetown coach, is in his first season as Maryland coach. Many coaches in the county track community say Valmon, who has former Suitland and Roosevelt coach Katrina Allen and Glenarden Track Club coach Anthony Gorham on his staff, will return the Terps to high standing in the Atlantic Coast Conference and nationally.
"Coach Valmon is trying to bring in some very elite athletes," said DeMatha coach Anthony Bryant. "Dominic is one of the top athletes in the area, and hopefully, others will follow."
Last weekend at the T.C. Williams Invitational in Alexandria, Va., Berger claimed first in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles in 14.1 and 38.71 seconds, respectively. He helped the Stags to a fourth-place showing in the large schools' 400 relay finals at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia the weekend before.
A Star/Gazette Outdoor first-team pick in 2003, Berger is currently ranked fifth in the nation in the 110 hurdles (13.81 at Jaguar Invitational) by track Website DyeStat, and has the state's top clocking in the 300 hurdles (38.11 at the Northern Virginia Invitational).
He will defend his 110 title at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals next weekend at Flowers.
Tuning up at T.C.
Largo's girls performed well before the start of the postseason, taking the team title at the T.C. Williams meet. Angelique Henderson won the 100 hurdles (15.08) and sophomore Michaylin Golladay placed first in the long jump (17-3.25). The Lions also captured first in the 1,600 relay (4:01.73).
DeMatha was the runner-up in the boys' standings, claiming top honors in the 1,600 relay (3:23.03). Roosevelt won the 3,200 relay (8:15.99) and junior Anthony Walker placed first in the 400 (49.57).
Senior Travis Bowman (48.02) beat out Flowers' Afolabi Aromire (48.62) in the 400, and the District Heights school won the 400 relay (41.6). Oxon Hill junior Anthony Simmons won the 300 hurdles (40.05), and Bowie claimed the 800 relay (1:32.29). The Rams (72 points) held off Baltimore City power Mervo, a team that will challenged their title defense at the state 4A championships in a couple of weeks.
Flowers senior Tiffany Nesfield won the girls' 100 (12.42) and Friendly won the 400 relay in 51.62 seconds. High Point's Jalissa Edwards won the 200 (25.71). The Jaguars were the top county girls' finisher (eighth) in a 22-team field.
Around the oval
DeMatha's Darryl Jones finished second in the boys' high jump at T.C. Williams and Joseph Lavela was runner-up in the 100 (11.15). Dante Buckner placed third in the 400 (50.39). Jasper Watkins of Roosevelt was the runner-up in the 200 (22.24)...High Point's Kendell Quashie took third (51.36) in the 400 .... Bowie (43.4) was the runner-up behind Suitland in the 400 relay ... ...High Point's girls were the runners-up in the 800 relay (1:48.16) and third in the 1,600 relay (4:20.39). Sophomore Labake Orotope placed second in the 800 (2:21.78). Marvin Dessaure placed third in the boys' 110 hurdles (16.3) for the Eagles.
E-mail Derek Toney at firstname.lastname@example.org.