Performer of the Year: Shane Stroup, River Hill
Has an individual's Maryland high school track performance ever generated more buzz than Shane Stroup's state record-setting 1,600-meter race this season?
Spectators at UMBC cheered and watched in awe as Stroup traveled the four laps, each one close to 60 seconds. The smooth-striding senior simply mesmerized the crowd at the state track and field championships as he crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 7.11 seconds, breaking a 28-year-old mark of 4:08.6 set by an athlete of his father's generation. It was the nation's fastest high school time in the 1,600 this season.
Blowing away the field, Stroup finished 15.32 seconds ahead of the next runner.
"His coach at [the University of] Florida next year couldn't believe he ran that time alone," said Stroup's father, Shane Sr. "He thought he might have run four seconds faster if he'd had competition."
He had run a 4:11.3 mile this spring at Penn Relays (good for second) and a 4:10.6 mile last June at the Adidas Outdoor Championships, so he thought he could break the record. He devoted all his efforts through the cross country and indoor track seasons toward improving his speed.
Stroup is a five-time All-Metro performer, twice in indoor, twice in outdoor and once in cross country. He's a four-time Performer of the Year, once for indoor track and cross country. This is the second straight time for outdoor track.
This school year, he set a state cross country record by seven seconds while winning the Class 3A state title, was part of a state 3A-2A record-setting indoor 3,200 relay team (8:11.17) and added the state all-class outdoor record in the 1,600.
Coach of the Year: Brian Brown, Southern-AA
Six years ago, Brown stepped in to rescue the Southern track and field program so that the school's football players would have an opportunity to keep in shape during the spring.
The Bulldogs certainly bulked up this season, but in a different way. The coach turned the track and field team into a champion as it won its first county, regional and state titles.
"I knew it was floundering when I kept hearing 'no track practice today' during the announcements at the end of school," said Brown, referring to those lean years before his arrival to the track program.
Two years into his regime, the boys track team finished second in the county, region and state. That was 1998.
"After that, I really caught the track bug," Brown said. "I did the track clinics, asked questions and paid attention to what the successful track coaches were doing."
The 42-year-old physical education teacher reaped other benefits from the track program. His JV football team has gone 18-2 over the past two seasons.
"It was very satisfying to win the state title," Brown said. "I feel I'm blessed because of a lot of great coaches have never gotten in that position."
Chris Barksdale, Oakland Mills
A late-breaking runner with a powerful style, the senior salved his disappointment at a second-place finish in the Class 1A state 100 meters by running the fastest 200 meters (21.82 seconds) of any class at the state meet.
Barksdale ended up finishing his career with a bang: He won two gold medals and two silvers to lift Oakland Mills to its third straight state team title. He also ran on the first-place 400 and second-place 800 relays.
Barksdale achieved perfection at regionals by winning gold medals in the 100, 200 and both sprint relays. He'll attend High Point (N.C.) University.
Phil DeRosier, Long Reach
The first-year competing senior came out of nowhere and created a whirlwind that carried him to the heights of state competition with two gold medals and a silver.
DeRosier first touched down at the state meet by winning the Class 3A long jump (22 feet, 10 1/2 inches). Then he took runner-up in the 200 meters in 22.42 seconds. Not satisfied with those accomplishments, he added a gold medal for the 100 (11.02), producing the fastest time among Baltimore-area runners.
At regionals, he won the long jump and 100 and finished second in the 200. At the Howard County meet, he achieved one of his peak moments by erasing Kyle Farmer's name from the county record book by breaking his 1999 mark in the 100, running the dash in 10.6 seconds. He won the 200 and long jump as well to snare the meet's coveted Iron Man Award.
Brian DeVaul. Arundel
The second DeVaul to make his mark in track at Arundel, the senior exceeded his older brother Romaine's accomplishments and became the elite high jumper in the Baltimore area this season.
Had he been able to repeat his regional jump of 6 feet, 9 inches at the Class 4A state meet, he would have won by an inch. Instead, DeVaul finished his career at 6-6, which placed him third among stiff competition. While accounting for all 13 of his team's points at states, he also finished third in the long jump (22 feet, 11 inches), missing a gold medal by an inch.
Also a two-time county high jump champion, he'll attend UMES or Bowie State.
Aaron Dixon-Proctor, Old Mill
To his mom's disappointment, the senior missed his graduation so that he could win a state discus championship, and the sacrifice wasn't made in vain. He won the Class 4A title by 7 feet with a throw of 163-4, the second-best overall throw in all classes at the meet, but the best by a Baltimore-area thrower.
Driven to excel by his older brother Jamal's football and track accomplishments in the early 1990s, Aaron surpassed him in the discus but not in the shot put. He finished only eighth in the state shot put (45-5 1/2 ).
Dixon-Proctor produced his personal best discus toss (167-3) at the county championships, where he also finished second in the shot put. He will attend Shenandoah (Va.) University on scholarship.
Adam Grossman, Pikesville
Described by his father as falling into an almost transcendental state at track meets - taking little naps between races but always attuned to first call - Grossman attracted a popular following.
The senior sprinter looked like a cannonball as he burst from the blocks and down the track. He won state titles in the 100 (11.03 seconds) and the 200 meters (22.44) for the second straight season, while also running on the first-place 400 relay team, giving him three gold medals this season and helping his team finish second. He will attend UMBC on a track scholarship.
Kelley Jackson, Mervo
As a freshman, Jackson told coach Freddie Hendricks that he would win a state title in the shot put before he left school.
Jackson finished third as a junior before living up to his bold prognostication this season, winning the Class 4A state shot put title. And he did it impressively, breaking the Baltimore City and school records with a personal-best 157 feet, 1 inch that was also an area-best mark this season.
Also an All-Metro indoor selection, he completed a triple crown by winning the county, regional and state championships. Jackson also won the county (146-0) and region discus titles as a consistent point-getter for the Mustangs, who finished third in the state. He'll compete in football and track at Virginia State.
Rob Ludwig, Mount St. Joseph
His interest in extreme sports naturally attracted him to the pole vault, where he went undefeated this season and produced an area-best vault of 14 feet, 2 inches during a dual meet with Calvert Hall. That established a school record.
Although his team was upset by Gilman for the MIAA championship, the senior broke the league record by vaulting 13-9.
Ludwig won the Meade Stampede, the Anne Arundel Relays and set records while winning the Mount St. Joseph Invitational and Knights Invitational. Also an All-Metro indoor performer, he'll attend Mount St. Mary's on an academic/athletic scholarship.
Broderick Maybank, Eastern Tech
Do good football players automatically make good track athletes? Or does it just seem that way? Whatever the case, Maybank, an All-Metro football player, shined for the Mustangs at the Class 2A state track meet, winning the long jump (22 feet, 10 1/4 inches) and repeating as the triple jump champion (46-3 1/2 ). The senior also anchored a fourth-place 400-meter relay team. His points helped the Mustangs to a third-place state finish.
His state long jump distance was a personal record, and his best triple jump (47- 1/2 ) at the Baltimore County meet placed him among the top 100 jumpers in the nation.
Maybank can also sprint. He ran the 100 in 11.03 seconds at the Woodlawn Invitational. He'll compete in football and track at McDaniel College in Westminster.
Mark McKenzie, Woodlawn
McKenzie may sing in the school choir, but he hit his best high notes while jumping the hurdles.
One of the area's top hurdlers, the senior led the Warriors to their sixth straight Baltimore County track championship by scoring 38 points. He won the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches), 300-meter hurdles (39.60 seconds) and the 110 hurdles (14.50), and ran on the second-place 800 relay team.
A repeat All-Metro outdoor selection who was also All-Metro indoors, McKenzie set a personal record in the 110 hurdles (14.68) at the Woodlawn Invitational. At the state meet he finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.89). At regionals, he won the 300 hurdles (42.3), the 110 hurdles (14.5) and anchored the winning 1,600-meter relay. He will attend West Virginia on a football scholarship.
Izudin Mehmedovic, Oakland Mills
He's one of the best-known track performers in the area, partly for his publicized worn-torn Bosnian heritage, partly for his team-first mentality, genuine grace and humility, and partly for his desire to excel.
Always quick with a good word for his teammates and opponents, Mehmedovic capped his three-year career by winning four state gold medals and sparking his team to its third straight state championship.
The senior won the Class 1A state 800 meters (1 minute, 57.15 seconds), 1,600 (4:23.22) and 3,200 (9:46.40), and he ran a 1:53.6 anchor leg in the winning 3,200 relay (8:12.80).
The indoor track All-Metro Performer of the Year and a 1A state champion in cross country, "[he] was probably the best all-time distance runner at Oakland Mills," said his coach, Sam Singleton. "The Bosnian Flash" will attend UMBC.
Josh Perry, McDonogh
Unbeaten in the 800 meters this outdoor season, the senior ran a personal best and set a school record of 1 minute, 53.9 seconds while winning the Draper Relays in Alexandria, Va.
At the MIAA championships, he set the meet record (1:55.9) while winning the 800, anchored the winning 3,200 relay, finished second in the 400 (50.97) and ran in the runner-up 1,600 relay.
Perry excelled year-round, leading his cross country team to its first MIAA title and setting a school record, earning a No. 7 national ranking and All-Metro indoor honors for the 800. He'll attend Princeton.
Shomari Taylor, McDonogh
He earned a black belt in tae kwon do by age 9, so it's no surprise that the All-Metro football player showed incredible versatility in everything from the long jump to the hurdles to the half-mile.
Easily one of the area's best all-around athletes and its top 300-meter hurdler, the senior went undefeated in the latter event, setting a personal record of 38.2 seconds while winning the McDonogh Invitational. At the MIAA meet, he won the 300 hurdles (38.91) and 400 meters (50.66).
At Penn Relays, he was part of two school-record setting teams in the 1,600 (3:28.7) and the 3,200 (8:01.7). He owns the school record in the long jump (23 feet) as well as the 300 hurdles. He'll attend Yale.
Stann Waithe, Loch Raven
Coach David Kreller refers to Waithe as 'the franchise" with good reason. The junior set a school record while winning the Class 1A state 400 meters in 48.5 seconds. He finished second in the 200 (22:08 seconds) and ran on the winning 1,600 and the runner-up 800 relays.
No wonder the Raiders were state runners-up, their highest finish ever. No wonder they won their first regional title with Waithe bringing home four gold medals in his same four events he ran at the state meet. He also won the county 400 and 100.
Chris Wright, Mount St. Joseph
He chose track over baseball, which turned out to be a wise move. As a distance runner, Wright set eight school records for the Gaels, won 10 MIAA titles during eight All-Metro outdoor, indoor and cross country seasons, ran on six championship teams, won the Baltimore City/County Runner of the Year in cross country three times and outdoor track and field Baltimore City/County Performer of the Year once.
The senior couldn't stop Gilman from pulling off the upset victory in the MIAA championships over the prom-weary Gaels despite demolishing the 3,200-meter field with a time of 9 minutes, 44.40 seconds. His best time in the 1,600 was 4:23. Wright will attend Milligan College in Tennessee.
Frankie Wright, Mervo
Described by coach Fred Hendricks as "a guy of few words and great deeds," the junior won four gold medals at the Class 4A state meet. Most significantly, Wright led off Mervo's 800-meter relay team that finished in 1 minute, 26.9 seconds, breaking a 15-year-old state record held by Dundalk (1:27).
The junior also won the long (22 feet) and triple jumps (44-8 3/4 ) with season-best efforts, and ran in the victorious 400 relay (42.03).
Selected the Baltimore City/County Performer of the Year, Wright helped the Mustangs win city and region titles by winning three golds and a silver at the county meet and four golds at regionals.
Ronald Wright, Mervo
Determination always marked Wright as an athlete to watch, especially after he failed to make Mervo's relay teams as a freshman because he still hadn't grown into his then-gangly body.
That determination began to show when he finished fourth in the Class 4A state 200 meters his sophomore year, and bore greater fruit this season as he won city and regional gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 relay. He placed fourth in the state 100 and 200, but won gold medals for the 400 and 800 relays. Along the way, he posted his best times in the 100 (10.82 seconds) and 200 (21.72) at the C.H. Flowers Invitational.
Name School Class
Chris Bell Southern-AA Senior
Tommy Breaux Randallstown Junior
Mike Brown Annapolis Senior
Ryan Cartwright Eastern Tech Senior
Anthony Cole Oakland Mills Sophomore
Billy Duffy Dulaney Senior
Glenwood Edwards Lansdowne Junior
Drew Hackett Mervo Senior
DeMario Harris Annapolis Junior
Will Knox Dulaney Senior
Andrew Peresta Southern-AA Junior
Kareem Reed Annapolis Senior
Matt Sanders Mount Hebron Senior
Roger Sexauer Broadneck Junior
Tristram Thomas McDonogh Freshman
Mike Watson Randallstown Senior
John Young Meade Junior
Note: Teams selected by Rick Belz after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.
1. Oakland Mills
4. Mount St. Joseph
5. C. Milton Wright
8. Old Mill
10. RandallstownCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun