By TOM WORGO
His high school resume with the Raiders was gaudy enough to include plenty of top-four finishes but no individual championships.
Summers' career seemed to reach a low point at the Baltimore County championships in February when he finished tied for fifth in the 55 meters and 10th in the 300.
"It was easily his worst meet of the year," Loch Raven indoor track Coach Adam Hittner said.
Indeed. Summers felt so embarrassed he quit his job as a waiter and ratcheted up his training schedule in hopes of breaking the curse of being a perennial runner- up.
His strategy worked.
Summers won regional and Class 1A state championships in the 55 meters indoors in February, and he carried that momentum into the spring season, securing three more individual titles.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Summers also came into his own last fall on the football field, leading the Raiders in interceptions (4) and touchdown catches (6) as a two-way starter at cornerback and wide receiver.
The 2005 Northeast Reporter Athlete of the Year proved beyond a doubt that his achievements were worthy of recognition.
"He is a phenomenal athlete," Hittner said. "I refer to people like him as genetic freaks. They are the big winner of genetic lottery. He is not just a football player and a runner. He's an athlete."
After Summers quit his job, he focused intently on improving his technique, which he said had gotten sloppy because of the training time missed to work.
"My form was falling apart because I hadn't been at practice," Summers said. "It was hard to run like I was used to."
With the region and state championships in the 55 under his belt, he's obviously regained that form.
Hittner praised Summers for rising to the challenge posed by that disastrous county meet.
"A lot of kids under those circumstances would fold and their season would be washed down the drain," Hittner said. "After that day he didn't get upset anymore. It fueled his desire to perform well and it made him a better athlete."
Hittner probably wouldn't hesitate to name Summers a team captain next season.
"He didn't have to be a vocal leader this season because we had a lot of seniors," the coach said. "But he did have a great relationship with the guys in his grade and the younger ones. He's always willing to help them out and share his knowledge."
Loch Raven football Coach Mark Lehman used Summers in a lot of different ways.
Besides defense and offense, Summers returned punts and kicks and even ran the ball seven times for 62 yards in late September against Mount St. Joseph of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
When the Raiders drove deep inside an opponent's territory, quarterback Danny Hunter looked for his favorite target in Summers, whose speed and sure hands made him a dangerous weapon.
"He was the go-to guy, especially in the passing game," Lehman said. "Once he caught the football, he was able to turn it into touchdowns."
Summers caught touchdown passes of 40 and 55 yards in a 21-7 victory over Lansdowne. He also returned an interception 32 yards for a score in the same game.
Summers asked for the ball to be thrown his way, which helped the Raiders stay close to Towson and Sparrows Point with eye-catching grabs in the first half of both games.
"I told them to get me the ball," said Summers, referring to his quarterback and the Loch Raven coaching staff. "Every time I felt I was open or could burn a guy easily, I would let them know. I wanted to make some things happen."
Summers proved to be just as valuable to his team at cornerback as well. Lehman said the only time a receiver beat Summers downfield was during a preseason scrimmage.
In track this spring, Summers continued to shine. He helped the Raiders to their first county championship in school history, finishing first in the 100, second in the 200 and anchoring the winning 400 and 800 relay teams.
"He's definitely our go-to guy," Loch Raven Coach Dave Kreller said. "Guys were afraid of running against him. They would say, 'It's Kevin Summers.'"
Summers also won region championships in the 100 and 200 and placed third in the 200 and fourth in the 100 at the state championships.
He will stay busy this summer with track, working out two hours daily at Mervo High, preparing for meets as a representative of the Freddie Hendricks Track Club.
Summers placed third in the 100 and second in the 200 and anchored the winning 400 relay team at the AAU state championships last weekend.
Those standout performances got him invited to the AAU regional championships in Hampton, Va., that begin June 29.
College coaches may take notice of him there because, as his coach points out, Summers may eventually compete in the fall, winter and spring after high school.
"He will be a Division I runner," Hittner said.