When you have 153 athletes in the indoor track and field program, like Dulaney High head coach Chad Boyle does, certain things that are out of your control can hinder a team’s development.
On Friday, Dec. 15, a brief snowstorm in the afternoon was one of those, because Baltimore County schools closed early and all afternoon and evening activities were postponed.
Boyle, whose boys and girls roster of 153 includes varsity and JV athletes, was slated to showcase some of his top performers in a track meet at the Community College of Baltimore County, Essex.
“We were going to throw out our A team,” said Boyle, who has held back some of the Dulaney standouts to see what kind of depth he will have as the Lions go for their third straight Baltimore County indoor track title on Jan. 23.
Several of those athletes will perform this week, on Friday, Dec. 22, in the Frostbite Invitational at the Prince Georges Sports and Learning Complex.
“We are looking forward to that,” Boyle said. “It should give us a nice barometer of where we are.”
So far, in addition to the plethora of talent in the distance events, with several runners that were on the cross country Baltimore County champions and Class 4A state runners-up, are a slew of field event standouts.
“Field events have been a highlight of our season so far,” Boyle said.
One newcomer to the boys varsity squad sure to make an impact is junior high jumper Josiah Nilsen.
The transfer from St. Paul’s has a personal record best jump of 6-feet-8 ¾ inches.
That’s the same height that 2017 Dulaney High graduate Nico Yarbough cleared in the spring at the Baltimore County championships when he set a meet record.
That outdoor team finished seventh in the Class 4A states with 27 points, but indoors, the Lions were second in the state meet with 28 points, trailing only front-running Northwest (81.5).
Boyle thinks they can do better than that this season.
“I think we are a little bit better in track because Josiah kind of fills the void of Nico,” Boyle said.
In addition, the Lions are loaded with talent in the pole vault with seniors Mark Bonner and Samuel Hodgetts, junior Josh Wilmer, sophomore Adam Madro and freshman Vince Young.
“Mark, Adam and Sam have already vaulted 11-feet in practice,” Boyle said. “They are already vaulting at their PR [personal record] level.”
In shot put, junior Moiz Butt has taken significant strides and junior Colman Hallinan shows potential.
At a meet on Dec. 12, Butt cleared 47-feet and Hallinan threw 44-feet, but Hallinan fouled on his throw.
In the speed events, the Lions most dangerous weapon is senior James Green, who was sixth in the 300 meters (35.90) at the indoor state meet and fifth in the 400 meters (49.17) at the Class 4A outdoor state championships.
“James Green is probably the best returning track athlete in the whole county,” said Boyle, after the state meet last season.
Green’s extended versatility has impressed Boyle even more.
“He’s really close to signing with a Division I school,” Boyle said. “He just ran the 55 [meters] the other day and that was just to work on his speed a little bit.”
Other than being one of the runners on the 4 x 400 relay team, the coach has no idea what other events Green will run at the state meet.
“James can run the 800 too,” Boyle said. “He’s got a lot of versatility. We kind of have to wait and see where we put him in the postseason.”
Another strong event should be the 4 x 800 relay.
Last year at indoor states, the relay team of Drew Dailey, Donovan Johnson, Nick Owens and Alex Ozbolt placed seventh in a time of 8:29.30.
All four runners return, along with a few more candidates waiting in the wings.
“That will definitely be a strong point for us,” Boyle said.
Dailey, a junior, won the Baltimore County cross country title in the fall, barely nipping senior teammate Brian McCullough.
McCullough was fifth in the state indoors last season in the 1600-meter run (4:32.89).
In the Baltimore County championships last year, the Dulaney boys finished with 123 points and won the meet by 87 points over second-place Hereford and New Town.
In 2016, the Lions totaled 148 points.
The Dulaney girls were third in the county championship meet last winter, but Boyle has higher expectations.
The Lions return senior pole vaulters Grace Jung and Paige Johnson. Jung (9-feet) was third at the indoor states last year and Johnson (8-6) was fourth.
“Grace and Paige are two of the best returning vaulters in the county and just anywhere around Baltimore,” Boyle said. “They should do really well again.”
Boyle is also excited about the continued improvement of his distance runners, including junior Brooke Ruffin, senior Dorrie Gaeng and freshman Marissa Dailey.
“We will have to see how our distance girls evolve throughout the winter time,” Boyle said.
Filling all the events with the right girls is his main goal.
“We have a lot of people and we just have to try and develop some people in different places and see where the talent emerges,” Boyle said.
Battle of the Beltway
Loch Raven High is hosting the first annual Battle of the Beltway basketball doubleheader on Friday, Dec. 22, at Goucher College.
At 6 p.m., the Loch Raven girls varsity team plays Towson High and at 8 p.m. the Loch Raven boys host the Towson boys. Tickets are $5 and will be sold during the week at both schools and may not be available at the door.