The official results were coming in slowly and this year’s Class 3A state championship meet at Morgan State University was down to its final events. Mt. Hebron boys track and field coach Teyarnte Carter knew her team was in the mix for the title, so she calculated the numbers with her assistants – and recounted them again.
“Coming down to crunch time they didn’t post any results on the wall, so we had to keep checking on the Internet,” Carter said. “One of our assistants was going around talking to other coaches trying to tally up the points.”
After all 18 events were completed, the Vikings pulled off a slim, 58-55, victory over Hereford to capture the program’s first boys state championship.
“At the end of the day, these kids have worked so hard,” Carter said. “The seniors on this team are my first graduating class that I’ve had for all four years. I told them if things don’t go the way we planned, you have to keep fighting. We have to push each other and everything fell into place.”
All spring, Mt. Hebron has competed under the mantra of having all of its runners “all show up on the same day.” That philosophy has been the driving force behind the team capturing county and 3A East region titles this season.
“It’s been four long years that we’ve been waiting for this and for us to finally finish it off at the end of senior year is incredible,” said sprinter Nate Gainey. “We all had great days, between today and yesterday. We had been collecting the points all day and when we found the official results, it was definitely a relief.”
Gainey – who also finished second in the 400 meter dash – won the Vikings’ only individual crown in the 200 with a time of 21.90, but several runners picked up critical points in multiple events.
Runners like Jackson Porter (second in the 100, sixth in the 200), Karl Schmidt (fourth in the 800), Brenden Chavis (fifth in shot put), Andrew Humm (sixth in the long jump) and Brian Shade (eighth in the 400) all had strong showings.
Schmidt, Andy DeLaitsch, Alec Vaughan and June Kim got things started in the first day of competition on Friday with a second place finish in the 4x800 in 8 minutes, 15 seconds.
Howard’s girls were neck-and-neck with Thomas Stone all afternoon but in the end, Thomas Stone slipped past the Lions, 55-54, to capture team gold. All seven of Howard’s runners contributed in the runner-up finish.
“We gave it a good fight, just fell a little short,” Lions coach Tyler Wade said. “We don’t have a lot of girls but they do multiple things and they all performed really well. This is a big accomplishment.”
Virginia Tech-bound senior Christine London picked the sixth and seventh overall state titles of her high school career – including indoor seasons – with wins in the 100 hurdles (14.1) and 300 hurdles (43.8).
All-County basketball player Sydney Biniak transferred her skills on the court to the high jump this season, taking first in the event with a personal best jump of 5-foot-6.
“I’m speechless. I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Biniak said. “I just started doing this about a month ago. My coaches put me in there as a joke and it turns out that I love it.”
Biniak – who also added points as a part of the third place 4x200 relay team and in the triple jump – knew that every point would be crucial in the outcome of the meet.
“We knew that we had a shot at winning this year and with only seven girls, every event is important,” Biniak said. “I have four events, so it’s tiresome but it’ll be worth it.”
Taylor Scaife was third in the shot put (34-10) and sixth in the discus (103-2), while London, Bre Hamilton, Natalie Talley and Kelsey Wright helped the Lions to a third-place finish in the 4x100 relay.
Jermika Miller was the only other 3A runner from the county to win individual gold with a victory in the triple jump on Friday. The Morgan State-bound jumper culminated a stellar career with her first outdoor state title.
The county also produced several top three individual finishers in multiple events.