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Wilde Lake's David Eisenhauer distances himself as Howard County boys indoor track Athlete of Year

Wilde Lake senior David Eisenhauer has been named boys indoor track Athlete of the Year

Coming from Yakima, Wa., about 2,700 miles from his current home in Columbia, Wilde Lake senior David Eisenhauer didn't know what to expect.

His first thought at seeing his new school before his first day of junior year was, "this thing is massive."

"I came from a high school with about 83 kids at the whole school, 26 in my grade," said Eisenhauer.

It didn't take Eisenhauer, the Howard County Times/Columbia Flier Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, long to adjust to his new surroundings — especially when he was running.

Less than three weeks into his first school year in Columbia and in his first ever cross country race here, he finished third at the Howard County Invitational. It was a coming out party for everyone — his coaches, teammates and competition.

"I have a picture of me going up the starting hill in first place, and (River Hill's Chris) Heydrick and (Mt. Hebron's) Ben Weinstein are looking at each other with these shocked expressions on their face like, 'Who is this kid?'" he said.

"I was skeptical when I asked him his background of running," Wilde Lake coach Whitty Bass said. "He said his cross country team in Yakima had consisted of himself, a neighbor and a girl. I thought, 'Well, that might not make it in Howard County.' But he quickly dispelled any reservations I had."

It wasn't the first time Eisenhauer had raced before. He ran for his middle school team, competing in any event that wasn't long distance.

"I didn't really want to run distance until one time I made my coach mad and he stuck me in the mile and I broke the 7th-grade school record," he said. "From then on, I have been running the mile."

At Riverside Christian School in Washington, his first taste of varsity running proved to be a success, especially for his team.

As it turned out, his team won the state title by one point in his freshman outdoor track season thanks to that single point Eisenhauer earned by finishing seventh in the mile.

"I was happy with that," he said.

While Eisenhauer has finished second in the state twice now in cross country in Maryland, he now has conquered something that was new to him coming to the east coast — indoor track.

He finished just short of any postseason titles as a junior, finishing second, third and third at the county, region and state meets, respectively, in the 1,600-meters. He came in second, fourth and third in the 3,200-meters.

This season, his goals were set on sweeping the postseason in both events. The winter didn't start off as planned, though.

"The first meet of the year, I was up against Jordan Leon from Milford Mill. I ran good and strong, he just had a bigger kick than me," Eisenhauer said. "He finished (the 3,200-meters) in 9:30, I was 9:34."

Eisenhauer doesn't like to lose, but he said he looks back on that defeat as a moment where he knew it wouldn't be a cakewalk to the state title.

"This guy's good. I can't just walk up and win, I've got to work hard. ... That first meet getting beat, I was like, 'I have a target on my back.'" Eisenhauer said.

Eisenhauer spent the rest of the season thinking about a quote his coach Washington once told him — "Nobody trains harder than the guy in second place."

At the county championships, he accomplished the first step of his goal by winning the 1,600 in 4:22.09, and the 3,200 in 9:29.48, setting a new meet record.

He also dominated both races at regionals and prepared himself for a rematch with Leon in the 3,200 — this time for a state championship.

His hard work paid off. He not only won both races, he dominated.

He ran 4:20.93 — less than a second off his time at outdoor states last spring — in the 1,600, then beat Leon by 14 seconds in the 3,200 (9:30.31).

"I knew that he would try to get in front and slow the pace, and I knew he had that kick," Eisenhauer said. "At states, I could hear him coming up behind me, and I said, 'It's not happening. I'm not slowing down.'"

"I thought it was very impressive. He dominated the indoor season," Bass said. "The championship meets, he won (all three). That's incredibly hard to do."

Even with the dominating postseason performances, Eisenhauer is always searching for that next goal. He wants to win, but set records and be remembered along the way.

"I've always been one to shoot for records to get your name on some book that will have a lasting impact," said Eisenhauer, who will continue his running career in college at Virginia Tech next fall. "I'm looking at this 4:20 mark in track (in the mile) ... it's just one of those things like, I just need to do this. If I don't do it, for the rest of my life I'm going to be thinking, 'You could have done a little bit more. You could've got it.' I don't want to have that."

Also named to the all-county team are:

Ademola Abdulkadir, Howard

Events: long jump, triple jump

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (20-8.5) in the long jump, and second (40-8.75) in the triple jump.

Trey Clark, Howard

Events: pole vault, high jump, 55-meter dash, 4x200 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished second at the county championships (13-6), first at 4A Central regional (13-6) and first at 4A states (13) in the pole vault. Finished second at the county championships (5-10) and seventh at regionals (5-6) in the high jump. Finished third at the county championships (6.70) and third at regionals (6.67) in the 55-meter dash. Was part of 4x200 relay team that finished third (1:36.38) and second at regionals (1:34.65).

Chris Flowers, Long Reach

Events: 55-meter hurdles, triple jump

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (8.00), second at the 3A East regional (8.21) and fourth at 3A states (7.89) in the 55-meter hurdles. Finished third at the county championships (40-4.75) in the triple jump.

Matthew Mercer, Reservoir

Events: high jump, 300-meter dash, 4x200 relay, 4x400 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (6-4), first at the 3A East regional (5-6) and second at 3A states (6-2) in the high jump. Finished third at the county championships (36.70), fourth at regionals (39.12) and eighth at states (36.97) in the 300-meter dash. Was part of 4x200 meter relay team that finished first at the county championships (1:32.74), third at regionals (1:39.44) and second at states (1:32.94). Was part of 4x400 relay team that finished third at the county championships (3:41.84).

Calvin Pitney, Glenelg

Events: pole vault, 4x400 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (14), 3A East regional meet (14) and 3A states (14) in the pole vault. Was part of 4x400 relay team that finished third at the county (3:31.16), region (3:47.56) and state championship meets (3:32.76).

Darnell Pratt, Mt. Hebron

Events: 300- and 500-meter dash, 4x400 relay, 4x200 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished second at the county championships (35.94), first at the 3A East regional (37.02) and first at 3A states (35.04) in the 300-meter dash. Finished second at the county championships (1:07.01), first at regionals (1:08.64) and fourth at states (1:07.92). Was part of the 4x400 relay team that finished first at the county championships (3:29.31, meet record), first at regionals (3:38.30) and second at states (3:30.69). Was part of 4x200 relay team that finished second at regionals (1:37.22).

Glen Taylor, Atholton

Events: 55-meter dash, 4x200 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (6:53), 3A East regionals (6.88) and 3A state meet (6.48) in the 55-meter dash. Was part of 4x200 relay team that finished second at the county championships (1:33.42), fourth at regionals (1:39.94) and fifth at states (1:33.03).

Daniel Usher, Reservoir

Event: shot put

Postseason highlights: Finished second at the county championships (43-4), first at the 3A East regional (48-2) and fourth at 3A states (45-2.75) in the shot put.

Alec Vaughan, Mt. Hebron

Events: 800- and 1,600-meters, 4x800 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (2:01.83), second at the 3A East regional (2:05.30) and third at 3A states (1:57.39) in the 800-meters. Finished second at the county championships (4:29.89) in the 1,600-meters. Was part of 4x800 relay team that finished first at regionals (8:52.25) and fifth at states (8:30.64).

Nicholas Wardell, Mt. Hebron

Events: 300- and 500-meters, 4x400 relay

Postseason highlights: Finished first at the county championships (1:06.69), second at the 3A East regional (1:09.00) and first at 3A states (1:07.04) in the 500-meters. Finished fourth at the county championships (37.28) and sixth at regionals (39.20) in the 300-meters. Part of the 4x400 relay team that finished first at the county (3:29.31, meet record), and regional championship meets (3:38.30), and second at states (3:30.69).

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