Wilde Lake senior Tim Virostek had one final chance to accomplish his most coveted goal on the track — winning an outdoor state championship.
After finishing a close second in the 1,600-meter run at the Class 3A state championship meet earlier in the day, Virostek had another opportunity in the 800 — an event in which he had gone undefeated in the postseason.
"I was definitely disappointed in (the 1,600) because I was so close but I was very happy with the race," Virostek said. "Going into the final 200 is right when I got passed. I was trying to make my move but (Hereford's) Jon Luckin had a great kick and passed me."
"I just knew that I had to get myself psyched for the 800," he added.
Any disappointment from the earlier race didn't show on Virostek's face when he was preparing for the 800 meters. He confidently stepped to the line, charged through a strong wind and pulled away over the final 50 meters to capture gold with a time of 1:55.18.
"I just had to clear my mind," Virostek said. "I went into it confident but I knew that I had to run a smart race with the wind. It's a two-lap race so you only get one move. I timed my move really well and I think that I ran a perfect race."
There were several other county runners who had outstanding performances at the state championship meet — making it hard to narrow down just one to be named this year's Columbia Flier/Howard County Times boys outdoor track Athlete of the Year.
But when the final gun sounded on the season, Virostek's body of work was unmatched. His postseason included sweeps in the 800 and 1,600 at the county championship, a title in 800 at the Class 3A East regional and gold at states.
No other boys runner won an individual event at the county meet, regionals and states.
Atholton jumper Jordan Palmer swept the triple jump at all three meets.
"The competition was much higher (than in indoor) and I was very happy that I was able to finish off my season with an outdoor state championship," Virostek said.
During the winter, Virostek dominated the 500- and 800-meter runs and collected a pair of state titles in the events with relative ease. He knew that outdoor would be even tougher.
"Coming off a really good indoor season, I wanted a great outdoor season," Virostek said. "I knew that I would have to work really hard to do it but it was my last season in high school. I had to push really hard and go all out."
Virostek got off to a strong start this spring. At the first event of the season — the Pikesville Track Classic — he set the tone by running personal bests in the 800 (1:53.72) and 1,600 (4:19.33).
The culmination of senior year was memorable for Virostek, but the beginning was quite forgettable. In the fall, he entered cross country as the reigning county champion and Runner of the Year.
At the Howard County Invitational in early September, Virostek suffered a setback. Well on his way to victory, he fell coming down the final hill with about 150 meters to go. He couldn't finish the race and his cross country season never got back on track.
"I had big hopes for cross country after having a good junior season," Virostek said. "I felt like I was in great shape, especially in that first race. I was running a best time by 20 or 30 seconds on the Centennial course; then I just collapsed. It was definitely a mental block after that and I wasn't able to push myself."
But Virostek didn't allow that setback to carry over into indoor season.
He picked things up in the winter, earning county, regional and state gold medals to bring his indoor total to four in three different events (500, 800, 1,600).
"I just had to be more confident in track than I was in cross country," Virostek said.