Midway through the Class 3A girls 100-meter dash in the State Track and Field Championships at Morgan State Saturday, Jimmia McCluskey found herself in a familiar situation - shoulder to shoulder with an unyielding challenger.
It appeared the same as a year ago when McCluskey eked out a 0.01-second victory in the 100. This time, however, the Aberdeen senior erased the uncertainty before reaching the finish line. She pushed on to a 0.04-second win in 12.06.
Later, on the long jump runway, she found herself trailing early, as she had a year ago, when she won by 2 inches with a leap of 19 feet. On her fourth effort, she soared into the lead with a leap of 18 feet, 3 inches into an 8-mph head wind. She won by 5 3/4 inches.
Between the 100 and the long jump, she finished second in the 200 in 25.06 behind Shania Collins of Huntington, the same sprinter who beat her in the 200 last year.
A key player on Aberdeen's back-to-back state-championship basketball teams, McCluskey completed her stellar high school career with back-to-back double state titles in track and field.
Hers were two of the six state championships won by Harford athletes in the meet.
C. Milton Wright's Kathy Kammerer won the 3A pole vault. Edgewood's Lenier Tucker won the 2A 800-meter run; Harford Tech's Brittney Chavis, the 2A discus; and the Tech girls, the 4x100 relay.
The Tech girls - Paige Chapman, Marietta Corbin, Cierra Singleton and Charice Corbin - applied near-perfect handoffs to make it four straight Tech state titles in the 4x100. The same foursome won it last year, and all but Singleton were on the team that won it in 2011. Marietta Corbin was on the 2010 winning team. This time, the Cobras finished in 49.23 despite strong, gusting winds.
Tech was also trying for its fourth straight win in the 4x200, in which it set the 2A state meet record in 2011. The team of Jada Jones, Corbin, Corbin and Chapman finished third, however, in 1:45.11.
Chapman came close to a victory in the 100 dash. The swift junior was first out of the blocks but finished second 0.06 behind the winner in 12.54. She also placed fifth in the long jump at 16-5.
Tech's Chavis again won with a late surge. In last year's state meet, she won the shot put on her final throw. This year she won the discus on her next-to-last throw. She was in seventh place when she spun her best throw ever, 121 feet 3 inches - seven feet farther than the leader, 21 feet farther than her previous best of the season and just 2 feet short of the Harford County record. She also placed sixth in the shot put at 35-8.
Tech finished sixth among 2A girls' teams with 43 points. Singleton added a point in the 100 hurdles, placing eighth in 16.30, and Charice Corbin, a point in the 300 hurdles in 48.25.
The Aberdeen girls placed sixth in 3A with 39 points. The Eagles' 4x100 team of Jazmine Harris, Aria Real, Cierra Reid and McCluskey finished fourth in 50.18.
Taylor Cole took fourth in the girls' shot put at 34-9, with Alexis Tyler eighth at 32-3 1/2.
Edgewood boys 3rd in 2A
Edgewood's Tucker applied an exceptional finishing sprint in two races, the 800 and 1600. The timing of his kick was perfect in the 800 and not quite perfect in the 1600. In the 800, he was elbow to elbow with Terrell Green of Douglass with 50 meters to go then surged past him to win by 4 meters in 1:57.63. In the 1600, he dropped 15 meters behind the lead pack of three with 400 remaining and waited until the final turn to sprint. His kick fell 0.83-second short of victory. He finished second in 4:25.33, a personal best.
Tucker's 18 points boosted Edgewood to third place with 51 points. The Rams got most of their points from sprinters and hurdlers. Izaiah Sneed finished second in the 300 hurdles in 40.43 and sixth in the 100 hurdles in 15.40. Jeremy Middlebrooks was fourth in the 300 hurdles in 40.60.
Devon Teagle took third in the 400 in 50.61 and eighth in the 200 in 22.94. Noel Spencer placed fifth in the 200 in 22.63. Spencer, Teagle, Sneed and Middlebrooks placed third in 4x200 relay in the stormy Thursday session. A downpour began just as Spencer, the anchorman reached the finish line in 1:30.21.
Turbulent weather prevailed during the three days of the meet. Thunderstorms interrupted action three times the first day, and strong, gusting winds buffeted competitors the second and third.
Pole-vaulting was affected by the winds, which at times blew the crossbar off the standards. CMW's Kammerer proved to be the steadiest of the 3A vaulters. The senior, who won the UCBAC and regional meets at 10-0 and 10-4 1/2, won the state championship at 10 feet by a margin of 1 foot.