The Hereford High girls’ indoor track team has won state championships in three of the past five years, including 2016, but that won’t stop them from making another statement in the Baltimore County championship meet on Jan. 24.
Hereford has won the past 10 county championships and keeping the streak alive, and beating a quality Franklin squad, will be a main goal.
“Our girls really focus on the county meet first, and with the streak of 10, and hopefully this will be 11 in a row, they don’t want to be the team that loses that and it’s something that we certainly use as a motivator in practice without a doubt,” coach Brad Duvall said. “They definitely take counties very seriously.”
Last year, the Bulls finished with 128 points and runner-up Franklin had 73.
Two of the keys to this year’s meet, which will be held at 4 p.m. at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore City, are seniors Kelly Wesolowski and Alex Butz.
Wesolowski will run in the individual 1,600 and 3,200 meters and Butz is one of the elite field event performers in high jump and pole vault.
“They [Wesolowski and Butz] are going to have to score 20 points apiece,” Duvall said. “Kelly is going to have to win the 1,600 and 3,200 and Alex is going to have to win the high jump and pole vault for us to win the county because Franklin is very good.”
Wesolowski currently has the fastest indoor time this season among Baltimore County runners in the 1,600 (5:23.13) and 3,200 (11:02.04).
She set the 1,600 mark in an Anne Arundel vs. Baltimore County meet that was held on Jan. 10.
Hereford won the meet featuring 11 teams.
Butz, second in the 2016 Class 2A Maryland state championships in pole vault, has posted the highest marks in the county in pole vault (11-feet) and high jump (5-feet, 4 inches).
Butz jumped 5-4 at the 19-team Warrior Invite won by Hereford on Jan. 13.
“She is a hard worker and she is just athletically-gifted and she is very naturally body aware which is great for the pole vault and high jump,” said Duvall of the 6-foot jumper. “Being that tall, it’s hard for a lot of athletes to control their limbs and get them out of the way, but she is really, really coordinated.”
Juniors Bess Tiller and Kendall Sperber are candidates to score in pole vault. They both have personal records of 8-feet, 6 inches.
Duvall’s best strength is the team’s depth in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
“I’m trying to figure out who is going to run what at the county championships,” Duvall said.
Sophomores Emily Konkus and Lily Robertson are candidates to run in the 1,600 and/or 3,200.
Junior Hannah Ace is strong in the 800 where she could run on the 3,200-meter relay team or the individual 800.
Junior Hannah Weeren is an option for the individual 1,600 and junior Kelly Shearer is a candidate to run in the 3,200.
“We’ve got six or seven kids for six spots and it’s just how do we best shake out,” Duvall said.
One rare sight under Duvall will be junior Erin Williams, who is entered in the 55-meter dash.
“In my 10 years here, we’ve never even had a girl entered in the 55 dash and we will actually have a girl [Williams] entered into it this year,” Duvall said.
Williams will most likely run in the 300 meters along with junior Tori White and sophomore Hannah O’Brien.
After the county championships, the Bulls will compete in the Class 2A Central Region meet at the Fifth Regiment Armory on Feb. 6 and at the state meet Feb. 20-21 at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Md.
“The goal is to win a state championship, but also understanding it’s going to be hard to do this year,” said Duvall, whose squad won the 2016 state title over Lackey by three points, 59-56. “Lackey is better than they were last year and we lost some talented kids from last year, so I don’t know if we are going to win, but we’ve got a county championship first that we are going to try to win.”
The Hereford boys finished third in the Baltimore County championship meet last season with 36 points, trailing only front-running Dulaney (148) and Milford Mill (50).
The Bulls return senior Michael Nash, who is the defending Baltimore County champion in shot put.
Nash, winner of a state outdoor shot put championship as a sophomore and runner-up at the state indoor meet as a junior, has posted the longest throw in the county (55-feet, 7 inches) this season.
“I don’t see anyone beating him at the counties, but I think at the state level he might have some minor completion, but I honestly think he will have a shot to win state championship again, Duvall said. “He’s pretty focused. He just started spinning about a year and a half ago and he is still working on perfecting that.”
Greg Leasure was second in pole vault at counties last year and his jump of 13-feet is best in the county this season.
“Greg Leasure has a good shot at winning pole vault in the county,” Duvall said.