Most of the fans had cleared out of the stadium. Howard was announced as the girls champion 30 minutes earlier and had already taken their victory lap.
But for the Mt. Hebron and Reservoir boys outdoor track and field teams, there was nervous energy mounting as two events — discus and triple jump — were still undecided. Coming down the stretch at this year's Howard County outdoor track championships Tuesday, May 7, only a couple of points separated the teams.
Brenden Chavis, though, made sure it was Mt. Hebron that got to do the celebrating.
On the strength of Chavis capturing gold in the discus, the Vikings finished ahead of the defending champion Gators, 116-110, on a rainy afternoon at Reservoir High School.
"I'm extremely proud of myself because I didn't think I could win in both events," said Chavis, who also won the shot put. "I'm so proud of the team, too. We were trying to win it all and we achieved that goal."
Mt. Hebron coach Teyarnte Carter expected the tight finish.
"To be honest we knew it was going to be close between three teams — Reservoir, Howard and us," Carter said. "We told them to come out here and just compete. We didn't have a beautiful day to drop times so we told them to just worry about the places. Everyone had to show up on the same day."
The Mt. Hebron boys also got first place finishes in the 4x800 relay and by Andrew Humm in the long jump (20-8.5).
In less than ideal weather — with runners battling on-and-off spurts of heavy rain and wind — the collective strategy seemed to be forget about times and simply focus on winning.
That was certainly the strategy for Howard's Christine London. The Virginia Tech-bound standout earned gold in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles in times below her normal average.
"The weather was not cooperating," said London, who also ran legs in the gold-winning 400 and 800 meter relays. "Today was about going out and winning because these weren't the right conditions to worry about times. My mindset was just to finish."
The Lions also got strong contributions from Taylor Scaife (gold in the shot put), Sydney Biniak (first in the high hump, second in the long jump) and Jessica Doremann (second in the discus). Kelsey Wright added third in the 100 and 200 and was on the 4x100 and 4x200 teams that won.
"Its tough to win in this county, so to pull it out after (winning) indoors is a really exciting thing," Howard coach Tyler Wade said. "We had a lot of kids contribute. Throws, jumps, sprints and we even got some distance points."
The Lions' depth definitely was the difference as they pulled away from Reservoir, 125-104. Amy Oliver and Karlia Smiraglia finished 1-2 for the second-place Gators in the 800-meter run.
River Hill's Allison Krein and Centennial's Shreya Nalubola continued their distance duels that started in the fall during cross country and indoor track. Krein won the latest showdown, in Monday's 3,200-meter race at Reservoir, with a time of 11:11.90 — less than six seconds ahead of Nalubola.
Monday's events also featured a record-breaking performance, as the Atholton girls team of Rebekah Markovitz, Jill Greenwald, Jennifer Bleakney and Natalie Alper set a new meet record by winning the 4x800 relay in 9:41.60 - breaking the Raiders' own record, set in 2005, by 1.5 seconds.
Bleakney added a stellar performance in the 1,600, winning in 5:12.76 after overtaking Ally Driscoll and Julia Nardone over the final 200 meters.
"I told myself how much I wanted it," said Bleakney, who won the same event during indoor season. "I just got the sudden urge down the stretch. I was just trying to stay on the girls and in the last lap I kicked it."
Mt. Hebron's Taylor Williams had an afternoon to remember. After finishing second in the 200 and 400 last season respectively, she won the 200 (26.31) and 400 (59.24), while adding a victories in the 100 (12.82) and the gold medal winning 4x400 meter relay.
"I'm excited because I've trained very hard," Williams said. "I want to thank my coach for all of her support and believing in me, which helped me believe in myself. I worked so hard to improve my times from last year."