In that race, Duncan Enerson pushed eventual winner Braden Bruning of Linganore to the limit, but fell short of a gold medal by 1.53 seconds.

Soetje's time of 35.55 in the 300 was only seven one-hundreths of a second off of the winning pace set by Digital Harbor's George Flaviano.

Other notable finishes at the meet came from Mt. Hebron's Paul Haley, who was fourth in the hurdles, and the relay teams of Reservoir (4x200), Howard (4x400) and Mt. Hebron (4x800), who each claimed third. Howard's Jordan Carr placed third in the high jump with a mark of 6-4.

Like Virostek, Howard County also had a strong hope for a multiple gold medal winner in the girls meet.


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But Mt. Hebron's Michaela Wilkins, who won gold medals in four events at the county meet, got off to a rough start on Tuesday. Wilkins fell down rounding a turn midway through the 500 and dropped into last place. Despite the setback, she used a rousing effort to battle all the way back to third place, but it was a disappointing result nonetheless for Wilkins, who skipped the 300 in anticipation of a big performance in the 500.

"I was pushed. I don't know if it was intentional or what, but I was pushed and then I fell. But I knew I had to get back up and finish the job," said Wilkins, who still finished just 1.5 seconds out of first. "When I got up I thought that (I could come back and win)."

Wilkins did come back to win the 800 later, salvaging some good from the meet, and helped her team place third out of 30 teams.

"It feels good, it really does, I know I'm going to have to improve my time again by outdoor, but it does feel really good," she said. "I just look forward to better meets."

Howard's Christine London completed her postseason sweep of the 55 hurdles, winning her first indoor state title in a postseason best time of 8.15.

"I've been having a rough time at practice and I just feel like I finally pulled it together and really dug down and believed in myself and finally got the gold," said the junior, who won an outdoor state title last year in the 300 hurdles.

London won the preliminary hurdles race on Tuesday by a comfortable margin, but said that she took nothing for granted heading into the finals.

"I made that mistake last year (at the outdoor state meet). I hyped myself up and I ended up falling (in the 100 hurdles). So I was just trying not to look at times and just go into the race with a clear mind, run my own race and do my thing," she said. "This year I really focused on starts, because that was usually the worst part of my race. I did the 55 dash to work on my speed and now that I finally have my starts down it helped so much."

Atholton junior Natalie Alper won the high jump with a personal best mark of 5-4. That effort was six inches better than her showing at the Howard County meet, when she placed third.

Alper said that after the county meet, she attended a specialized high jump clinic where she was taught to delay her acceleration on her approach.

"The (county meet) was just a really bad day for me," said Alper, who bounced back to win regions with a jump of 5-2. "But (winning states) was a bit of a surprise. When I found out I was excited ... every time I went over the bar my form just felt really good."

Alper, who now has a personal goal of clearing 5-6 this spring, said that her teammate, seventh-place high jump finisher Katie Pelikan, also helped her win the title on Tuesday.

"I have a really good support system. Katie is always there to give advice and help me," said Alper, who also placed sixth in the 500.

Although Atholton qualified only two female athletes for the meet, the 15 points scored by Alper and Pelikan was good enough for 12th place, best of any county  team except for Mt. Hebron.

Other top-three performances by Howard County girls in the meet came from Mt. Hebron's Karli Buescher, who was third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 800; Mt. Hebron's Rachel Yep, whose third place finish in the 3,200 was best among four county runners (Hammond's Nicole Dawson, River Hill's Leanne Young and Reservoir's Katie Wilson) to score points in that event; and Wilde Lake's Adrianna Shoemaker, who placed third in the pole vault.