Howard County showed its colors once again Friday during the second day of the state track championships at Morgan State University.
A plethora of individual and relay wins peppered in with a potential down-to-the-wire finish in the Class 3A team standings between Wilde Lake and Long Reach should make for an exciting final day of competition.
Though the wind made him feel like he was “running through Jell-O or peanut butter” when he was leading, David Eisenhauer held on for the first gold medal of the meet for the Wildecats with a 9:22.43 in the 3,200-meter run.
The key, according to the junior, was kicking early in the race, ensuring that he’d have to work harder down the stretch, but still feel comfortable in his ability to finish.
“I was waiting until I was at the 800-meter mark, because I regionals it worked perfectly,” he said. “Before then, I would kick with one lap to go, and every time I did that, I got beat in the last 100 meters.”
The win was important for Wilde Lake, which took first place in the boys team standings at both the county and regional championships, narrowly defeating rival Long Reach.
“We can only win as a team if everyone does their job,” said Eisenhauer, who also ran on the Wildecats’ fourth-place 4x800 relay team. “So, by me doing my job, it gets us closer.”
Wilde Lake also got points from high jumpers Khari Jackson (second place, 6-04.00) and Devon Groves (fourth, 6-02.00).
Not to be outdone, the Lightning are looking for a chance at redemption on the state’s highest level. With many of the team’s high-scoring events scheduled for Saturday, the Long Reach boys team collected what it could in its first day of the meet.
“It’s the same thing as always. We’re going in with confidence,” said Robert Carter, who will tackle both hurdles races tomorrow. “We just have to make sure our heads are right for the individual races, and come together for our relays.”
Carter joined fellow county and regional champion teammate Tosin Oyewole in Long Reach’s 4x200 (1:29.39) win on Friday. Both runners have the opportunity to net 40 combined points in individual races for their team tomorrow.
On the girls side, many of the defending county and regional champions from Howard County showed well in the first day of 3A/4A competition.
The Atholton 4x800 team took home first prize in the 4x800 (9:35.15), which sets the team up well with runner Jen Bleakney going for the 800 and 1,600 Saturday. Briana Taborn added another first-place finish in discus (117-02). The Raiders currently sit in third place overall (20).
Other overall winners on the day were Howard’s Trey Clark (pole vault, 14-00.00), and the River Hill boys 4x800 team (7:56.94).
On Thursday, the first day of competition that featured 1A and 2A schools, Oakland Mills’ Tre’Von Hopkins won the boys high jump (6-02.00) and finished third in long jump (21-05.50).