Performer of the Yea: Lindsay Grigoriev, Atholton
From age 8 to 11, Grigoriev, who is part Russian, dreamed of being a star gymnast and maybe competing in the Olympics. Those dreams vanished when she grew too big for that sport. As she watched her older sister compete in track, she replaced those dreams with different ones. "My sister's team wasn't too good, and I always said I could help them. Watching her is how I got into track."
It was a fortuitous conversion, and her dreams of someday making the Olympics now appear closer to reality.
Not many high school athletes ever set a national record at the prestigious Penn Relays. Grigoriev did. She won the discus with a toss of 151 feet, 10 inches, her personal best and one that earned her a No. 14 national ranking.
"The discus is the most fun," she said. "It's effortless, but exhilarating."
And not many athletes win three gold medals and set two state records at the state meet. Grigoriev did. Her Class 2A record-breaking discus toss sailed 146-3. Her 2A record-setting shot put was heaved 41-6 1/4 , a personal best. Her performances in those events topped all classifications by far at the state meet.
If that wasn't enough, the junior won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.27 seconds, and ran on a third-place 1,600 relay team to lift the Raiders into a fourth-place state finish.
At regionals, she led her team to third place by winning the discus, shot, 100 hurdles, and running in the winning 1,600 relay.
Another record fell at the Howard County meet with a shot put of 40-3. She also won the discus and earned bronze medals in the 100 hurdles and 1,600 relay. Her best hurdles time was 14.8 at Walkersville.
Grigoriev has a 3.43 grade-point average, and although it's too soon to pick a college, she likes North Carolina and Florida State.
Coach of the Year: Jerry Molyneaux
A native of the British Virgin Islands, Molyneaux represented them in the 1984 Olympic Games in the 800 meters after graduating from Morgan State.
With that background, the physical education teacher built a successful track program at Western since taking that coaching job in 1988.
During his tenure, the Doves had won 13 straight city titles but not a state title. Until this year.
In dramatic fashion, Western defeated Largo in the final event, the 1,600 relay, to outlast the Prince George's County team for the Class 4A state championship by five points. It almost didn't happen that way, because Doves sprinter Alicia Williams nearly lost her shoe at the start of the second leg, but she and the Doves recovered and caught Largo along the final stretch.
"This team had a vision that it would win states," he said. "It had chemistry and was good in a lot of areas. Almost every girl did exactly what they were supposed to do at states."
Western also won the state 3,200 relay, breaking a school record with a time of 9:16.74, second best in state history to Eleanor Roosevelt's 9:15.64.
Alana Black, Wilde Lake
The senior ran the fastest 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 2.90 seconds) among all Baltimore-area runners at the state meet, but still lost for the first time this spring in that event. Black finished second in Class 3A, losing to Susan Hendrick of Patuxent (Calvert County) by 0.60 of a second. She won the 1,600 (5:06.8) and 800 (2:20.9) at the Howard County championships and repeated as champion in both events at regionals.
Black had a breakout indoor season, winning the county, region and state 1,600 titles. She'll attend Elon (N.C.) College on an academic/athletic scholarship.
Novia Brown, Milford Mill
NCAA Division I programs are beginning to take notice of this junior sprinter, who had a breakout season during the indoor track season when she led her team to the Class 3A-2A title and was selected The Sun's Performer of the Year.
In her second season of outdoor track, she went undefeated in the 400 meters, winning the 3A state title by running her fastest time (a school-record 55.46 seconds) and leading her team to a fifth-place finish. It was the second-fastest 400 time at the state meet. She missed a Baltimore County 400 record by .01 of a second.
Late in the season, the junior began running the 200 and won the region and finished second in the state. She anchored the 1,600 relay that won county and region titles and was second in the state.
Lauren Centrowitz, Broadneck
One of two sophomores to make first-team All-Metro, the Anne Arundel County Performer of the Year will have a lot to remember as she relaxes for the summer. She was also Performer of the Year in indoor track and cross country, producing a rare hat trick.
A dominant 1,600-meter runner, she won that event at the county, region and Class 4A state meet, and posted the second-fastest time (5 minutes, 3.2 seconds) among Baltimore-area runners behind Wilde Lake's Alana Black (5:02.90). Centrowitz won county and regional titles in the 800 as well, but finished fifth in the state in that event.
Jeanette Curtis, Mount Hebron
Hurdling is an event that is always rife with danger. The slightest miscalculation can lead to a disastrous consequence. Curtis found that out firsthand at the Class 3A state meet while leading the 300-meter hurdles by a comfortable five to 10 meters. On the next-to-last hurdle, the junior tried to switch legs and took a nasty spill. She got up and finished last.
But all was not lost for the area's premier hurdler. She won the state 100 hurdles in 14.65 seconds and helped her team finish fifth in the 400 relay. She missed making the 100 final by one place.
Curtis also won the Howard County and regional titles in the 100 hurdles, captured the county 300 hurdles (45.0) and placed second in the region.
Maleka Diggs, Annapolis
After the Anne Arundel County meet was postponed one day because of a stormy weather forecast -- one that proved to be incorrect -- the area's best high jumper gave up on winning a county title to attend her prom.
After qualifying at regionals for the long, high and triple jumps, more scheduling problems followed her. She had to skip the triple jump to attend her graduation. And she gave up the long jump because she had just finished the high jump and felt the events were too close together.
The 6-foot-2 senior, who will run track at Bowie State, did finish her career with a bang by easily winning the state high jump championship at 5 feet, 6 inches, the best by a Baltimore-area athlete.
She lost only once all season in the high jump, at the Mount St. Joseph Invitational.
Timisha Gomez, Southern-AA
It's amazing to think that Gomez is only a sophomore. This phenom won the Class 3A state triple jump at 36 feet, 11 inches, the top distance by a Baltimore-area athlete and second best overall at the state meet.
Gomez took bronze state medals for the 100-meter hurdles (15.27 seconds) and 300 hurdles (44.70). At regionals, Gomez won the 300 hurdles and triple jump, was second in the 100 hurdles and third in the high jump. At the Howard County meet, she won the high jump, was second in the 300 hurdles (45.2) and second in the 100 hurdles (15.0).
Mariama Gondo, Western
The only state outdoor gold medal that she ever won she'll remember for the rest of her life. In the last event of the state meet and her team needing a win to secure its first state title, the senior inherited a third-place position in the 1,600-meter relay going into the final leg, after a mishap in the second leg cost the Doves the lead. Trailing by at least 50 meters, she relaxed like her coach taught her and ran the leg in a personal-record 54.9 seconds to win by less than one second. As a result, Largo finished second in that event and second in the meet by five points.
The Baltimore City/County Performer of the Year in 2001 also finished second in the state 100 (12.12) and 200 (24.85) and ran on the third-place 800 relay team. At regionals, she took gold medals in the 100 (12.1), 200 and 800 relay, and a silver in the 400. She won city titles in the 100, 200 and 400 relay and was second in the 400. She'll attend Morgan State on an athletic/academic scholarship.
Ashlynne Jones, Southern-AA
The three-sport athlete had the best long jump in the Baltimore area this season, tying an Anne Arundel County record of 17 feet, 11 1/2 inches to win the county championship. She went on to finish second at regionals (15-1) and second at states (16-8) in the long jump.
The junior didn't get as far in the triple jump, but she did win a regional title with a personal record of 34-11. She was second in the county triple jump and fifth at the state meet. Jones also ran on the 800 relay team that finished fourth in the county and region. She won the long and triple at the Southern Invitational.
Melanie Langmead, Mount Hebron
The top pole-vaulter in the Baltimore area reached for the stars in her final high school meet and she caught one with a personal record of 10 feet, 6 inches that surpassed her previous best of 10-0. It earned her a silver medal, second to Urbana's Lauren Graff, who jumped 11-7.
Mount Hebron's Tri-Female Athlete of the Year along with Melissa McCarthy and Laura Carper, Langmead learned to vault while watching her older sister Leigh, whose records she broke a year ago.
Langmead also ran on a 400-meter relay team that finished fifth at states. She won Howard County and regional pole-vault titles and earned a silver medal for the county 400 relay and a bronze for the regional 400 relay. She will attend Virginia Tech to study engineering.
Carrie Selmer, Glenelg
The senior has enjoyed a unique perspective on the track world, because her father, Mike, is Glenelg's coach and also runs a popular track Web site called trackfirst.com.
The only girls runner to score points in all three distance events at the state meet, she capped an outstanding career by winning Class 2A state titles in the 1,600 (5 minutes, 9.39 seconds) and the 3,200 meters (11:21.0). She finished a close second in the 800 (2:18.35) and earned fourth place in the 300 hurdles (47.6).
In leading her team to its second state track title by scoring 32 of its 64 points, she displayed durability, determination and a great work ethic typical of champions. She came to hurdling late in the season, but won a regional 300 hurdles title to go with gold medals in the 3,200 and 1,600 and a silver in the 800. She set a Howard County meet record (11:17.2) in winning the 3,200, and was runner-up in the 800 and 1,600.
Shade' Smith, Hammond
Smith won three gold medals at the state meet and nearly captured a fourth.
Running the anchor of the 1,600-meter relay for the Bears, the meet's last event, she fought through her exhaustion and the pain of a sore back to make up 50 meters. In the last 100, she ran head-to-head with the leader before finishing second by 1 1/2 seconds.
That kind of fortitude helped the junior blow away her Class 2A competition while winning state gold medals in the 100 (12.47 seconds) and 200 (25.51). She also ran in the first-place 800 relay (1:45.37).
She earned the same places in the same events at the regional meet. At the Howard County meet, she won the 100 (12.4), finished second in the 200 (25.7) and ran on the winning 1,600 relay and second-place 800 relay.
Latosha Wallace, Western
Her coach marvels at how fast the junior runs the leadoff leg on relay teams. "I've never seen leadoffs like hers in all my years of coaching girls track," Jerry Molyneaux said. Her leadoff leg was critical in the Class 4A state 1,600-meter relay, the last and deciding event. She earned the Doves a crucial 20-meter lead before an exchange mishap almost cost the Doves the state title.
Wallace also ran a 2-minute, 15-second leadoff leg on the winning state 3,200 relay that recorded one of the 10 fastest times in state history (9 minutes, 16.74 seconds). That relay team finished seventh at the Penn Relays this spring.
The Baltimore City/County Performer of the Year added the state 400 title (55.16) to victories in that event at the city and regional meets. And she finished third in the state long jump with a personal record of 17 feet, 10 inches after winning city and regional titles in that event.
Dominique Washington, Milford Mill
Washington is interested in a career in physical therapy. Always the first one to analyze her teammates' injuries, the junior also enjoys teaching her younger teammates how to stretch properly and warm up. Maybe that's because she has been running track since she was 11, and is a veteran of Junior Olympic national competitions.
After winning four gold medals at the Baltimore County and regional meets, she suffered her first losses all season at the state meet, where she finished second in the 300-meter hurdles (44.45 seconds), long jump (17 feet, 1 1/2 inches) and 1,600 relay, and fifth in the high jump (5-2).
Alicia Williams, Western
This outspoken leader was one of the most focused athletes on her state championship team. Williams went undefeated in the 800 meters until the state meet. Completing the event in 2 minutes, 14.5 seconds, she finished runner-up by .74 of a second.
The junior also ran on Western's state champion 3,200 and 1,600 relays.
Williams, a straight-A student, also won a regional title in the 400.
Ginger Williams, Chesapeake-AA
A 5-foot-11 center on the basketball team that reached the state semifinals, Williams is following in her brother Tracey's footsteps by throwing shot and discus. He's now at UMBC.
After weight coach Mark Gimon taught her a spin move, her distances took off until she threw the shot a personal-record 36 feet, 10 1/2 inches to win the Class 4A state championship. Her discus toss of 122-7 was good enough for second place.
The junior won the Anne Arundel County shot put title (36-8) and was second in the discus (116-11). At regionals, she finished second in the shot and fourth in the discus.
Tenke Zoltani, Dulaney
Told her junior year by several doctors that she would never race again because of compartment syndrome -- a condition in which the muscles of the lower leg expand too much for the sheaths that surround them -- Zoltani continued to prove them wrong by once again winning a state title in the 3,200 meters in 11 minutes, 18.59 seconds. She also ran on the 3,200 relay team that finished second (3:35.3).
The senior standout was at her best during the Baltimore County championships when she won three gold medals and one bronze to lead her team to the title. She won the 1,600 in 5:03, won the 3,200 in 11:09, finished third in the 800 in 2:24 and ran on the winning 800 relay team.
At regionals, she won the 1,600 in 5:13, finished second in the 3,200 at 11;53, and was fourth in the 800 at 2:26.2. The Baltimore City/County indoor Performer of the Year, she was named to 10 All-Metro teams during her career and won 10 state individual titles. Zoltani will attend Columbia University in New York.
Name School Class
Asha Cooke Owings Mills Junior
Brittany Davis Arundel Soph.
Stephanie Dickerson Century Sophomore
Laura Drossner Bryn Mawr Sophomore
Lauren Dunn Edgewood Junior
Kelly Fanshaw Dulaney Senior
Becca Funk Severna Park Senior
Brittany Frye Chesapeake-AA Junior
C'vette Henson Annapolis Junior
Melanie Morrow Franklin Senior
Christine Myers Dulaney Senior
Calynn Offer Annapolis Junior
DaMara Parrish Long Reach Junior
Mary Rollyson Glenelg Soph.
Lena Tillett McDonogh Freshman
Angie Watkins Long Reach Senior
Ashley West-Nesbitt Western Junior
Note: Teams selected by Rick Belz after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.
2. Long Reach
5. Milford Mill
6. C. Milton Wright
7. Bryn Mawr
10. Mount de SalesCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun