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.
Isaiah Gills had favorable winds in capturing silver medals in two events, the long jump on the west runway Thursday and the triple jump on the east runway on Saturday. He sailed 21-9 on his final leap of the long jump and 46-2 on his third effort of the triple jump. The latter brought the Harford Tech senior to within 3 inches of the Harford County record set 36 years ago. Dennis Pink also scored in two jumps for Tech, placing seventh in the high jump at 5-10 and eighth in the long jump at 20-5 1/2.
Fallston finished ninth among 2A boys' teams with 24 points. The foursome of Jacob Hatcher, Ean Hall, Chris West and Chris Johnson placed third in the 4x100 relay in 43.57 and fifth in the 4x200 in 1:30.68.
Hatcher took fourth in the long jump at 21-4 1/2, almost a foot beyond his previous best. Hall finished fourth in the 400 in 50.68 and Johnson was seventh in two dashes, running 11.16 in the 100 and 22.82 in the 200.
Lauren Woollen and Marissa Walker scored 11 1/2 points for Fallston's girls. Woolen tied for third in the high jump at 5-3 and Walker was fourth in the vault at 9-6.
North Harford's Kevin Mackey, a state champ in indoor track, finished second in the shot put at 50-10 1/2 and third in the discus at 139-2. Tyler Campbell threw 44-2 for 10th in the shot put and Tyler Ayers, 126-1 for 10th in the discus.
The Hawks' Nick Fransham set a school record in the 3200 in placing sixth in 9:31.31. He bettered by 0.69-second the mark set by Noah Hutton in 2010.
In the girls' 3200, Megan Tidey placed seventh in 11:40.69. Pete Meehan was eighth in the pole vault at 11-6, one place ahead of teammate Jake Creighton, 11-0. Abby Phillips was sixth in the girls' vault at 8-6.
In Class 2A, Joppatowne's Brittany Meads finished sixth in the 100 in 12.76 and seventh in the 200 in 26.33. Joppatowne junior Jhaimel Johnson threw 42-09 in the boys' shot put, placing 12th.
Bel Air's 4x100 team placed seventh in 3A. The foursome of Josh Jones, Devin Bowers, Joe Whilden and Hunter Smith ran 44.02.
In Class 1A, Okehie Ihuoma and Maddie Larrimore of Havre de Grace placed eighth and ninth, respectively, in the girls' triple jump at 31-0 and 30-10 1/2. Amy Kling was ninth in the shot put at 29-2. Scott Elliott was 12th in the long jump at 18-5 1/4 and Geno Nappi, 14th in the high jump at 5-6.