Teyrante Carter remembers the first time she saw Sydney Robinson run. And, even as an 8 year old, the veteran coach knew Robinson was something special.
“Anything she tries she will try to do at the best of her ability,” said Carter, who entered her ninth year with Mt. Hebron. “She handles, to me, new challenges very well. She understands she has strengths and she understands that she has areas of improvement and I think she likes to challenge herself.”
Robinson transferred from River Hill to Mt. Hebron before the season to have an opportunity to work alongside Carter, who was a premiere athlete during her time at Long Reach High School. She currently holds county records for the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and she ran in 16 races at the state meet and won 16 medals — including 13 golds — during her four years with the Lightning.
“When I was younger I really didn’t know who she was, but she came up to me and said when I progressed in track I would one day probably be like her, breaking all the records,” Robinson recalled. “It makes me feel like I am a mini-her, because I am trying to succeed like she did in high school and break all the records and be the best athlete in Howard County, in the state, and in the nation.”
When Carter first sat down with Robinson to set individual goals, she quickly realized Robinson’s potential to break the times she once set. From then on, Robinson has been determined to break Carter’s records in the 100- and 200-meters.
Carter knows from experience how challenging such a task would be, but she believes Robinson has the ability to get it done.
“I think that right there is a tall order, but I do believe she is highly capable,” Carter said. “It was one of those things that I don’t even think that was her idea. It was my idea, and I told her, ‘Records are made to be broken and why set the bar so low? Why wouldn’t I coach you to go after them and why wouldn’t you go after it?’”
After two years at the varsity level it is easy to see Robinson is on her way to matching, and possibly surpassing, Carter’s success.
Last year for the Hawks, Robinson won a 3A East region title in the 500-meters and finished second at the state meet. She finished third at regions and fourth at states in the 300 and soon after was accepted to the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet.
She continued her impressive varsity career this season. At her first Howard County Indoor Championship meet, Robinson won the 55- 300- and 500-meter races and also finished second in long jump. She went on to win another regional title in the 300, while also placing second in the 500.
Robinson capped her indoor season by setting two personal records at states. She finished third in the 300 (41.06) and fourth in the 500 (1:18.45). And, along with the rest of her accolades this winter, the sophomore has been named Howard County Times/Columbia Flier indoor track and field girls Athlete of the Year.
“I feel like I still have more room to build records and get all my times in before I leave,” Robinson said. “I want those people to chase after those records that I have made in Howard County.”
Robinson’s versatility on the track is what sets her a part from the rest of the athletes in the county. Along with running in various sprinting events, she is also one of the best long jumpers in the county and is a vital member of the Vikings’ 4x200- and 4x400-meter relay team, which both qualified for nationals this winter.
Carter said Robinson's impact on relays has gone beyond her personal growth.
“To have her on the team has helped the girls,” Carter said. “We went to nationals last year so it was one of those things where now she was just as much as an addition, but the part about it is that she does so many events that it makes other girls across the board step up.”
Robinson helped Mt. Hebron win the 3A East region title and place third at states in the 4x400-relay. The same quartet — Robinson, Ebere Ugorji, Blaire Ridgely and Jaiden Ritter — finished 19th overall in the championship section and fifth in the 4x200-relay in the emerging elite section at nationals.
"I feel like with my relay team we built a really strong connection, because we’ve been together the whole indoor season and now we’re coming out to the outdoor season trying to break times," Robinson said. "I feel like our team in general has a really strong relationship, because I feel like we’re all family."
Carter has coached a number of high-level athletes but has only asked a handful to compete in four sprinting events that run without much rest inbetween. That, she said, was a challenge she enjoyed watching Robinson overcome.
“I can say at the end it was enjoyable seeing her try and tackle that because it’s about mental toughness, and regardless to whether she hit the times that set the bar for a lot of the other people, boys and girls,” Carter said.
Robinson still has more room to grow and her goals for the outdoor season are to once again qualify for nationals and continue to lower her times to grab more state titles. Ultimately, though, her eyes are set on breaking Carter’s high school records.
“I would have no words,” Robinson said. “I feel like she wouldn’t have any words, and I feel like her mother wouldn’t have any words, because it’s just like a whole ‘nother generation to beat the time, and I was that generation that beat her time. It would be amazing.”
Also named to the all-county team are:
Lola Alli, Reservoir, junior
Event: Shot put.
Highlights: Alli didn’t place lower than fourth in any meet this winter. She earned second in shot put at the Howard County Championships on Jan. 17 after throwing 34 feet, 7 inches. The junior won her third career region title after tossing 34 feet, 4 ½ inches in shot put at 3A East regionals on Feb. 7, and then placed fourth about at the 3A state meet with a distance of 34 feet, 1 ½ inches.
Emily Beyer, Mt. Hebron, junior
Events: 1,600- and 3,200-meters.
Highlights: Coming off a stellar cross country season, Beyer continued junior campaign with a solid winter for the Vikings. SHe competed in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races and set personal records in both events. Beyer had the most success in the 3,200 and won her first county title in the event on Jan. 17 with a time of 11:43.88. She finished fifth at the 3A East region meet with a time of 12:15.60, and at the 3A state championships she placed fourth after clocking in at 11:46.77.
Janaya Cooper-Marshall, Reservoir, senior
Events: 55-meter hurdles, long and triple jump and 4x200-meter relay.
Highlights: Cooper-Marshall enjoyed a successful postseason this past winter, kicking it off by winning a county championship in long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 7 inches and placing third with a personal-best mark of 33 feet, 6 inches in triple jump. She finished third in the 55-meter hurdles at the 3A East region meet with a time of 9.11 seconds and helped the Gators finish fourth in the 4x200-meter relay. The senior ran a personal record 8.61 seconds in the 55-hurdles to finish second at the 3A state meet.
Chinenye Iloanya, Howard, sophomore
Event: Shot put.
Highlights: Iloanya broke onto the scene this winter for the Lions, as the sophomore swept the postseason with a county, 4A East and 4A state championship in shot put. At the county championships, Iloanya threw a personal record 38 feet, 7 inches to win her first league title, and then threw 35 feet, 4 ¾ inches to win her first region title. She threw 36 feet, ¼ inches at the state meet to complete the championship trifecta.
Courtney Mann, Howard, senior
Events: 800- and- 1,600-meters.
Highlights: Mann finished her final indoor season with two region championships and her first county title to go along with two strong performances in the 800- and- 1,600-meters at the 4A state championships. At the county championship meet, Mann placed second in the 800 with a time of 2:27.92 seconds and won the 1,600 after clocking in at 5:21.84. The Lions senior won two 4A East region titles in both the 800- and- 1,600 with times of 2:25.59 and 5:28.81, respectively, and followed with personal-best times in both events at the 4A state meet. Mann crossed in 2:24.04 for a fourth place finish in the 800 and then ran 5:13.69 to finish third in the 1,600.
Riley Murtha, Marriotts Ridge, junior
Events: 300- and-800-meters, 55-meter hurdles, high and long jump.
Highlights: Murtha qualified for the regional championships in four different events and qualified for the state meet in three. She won her first county title after clocking in at 9.12 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles. At the 2A East region championships, Murtha placed eighth in the 300 (44.35), fifth in high jump (4-6), fourth in the 800 (2:34.17) and third in the 55-hurdles (9.24). She then ran a personal record 8.91 seconds to finish fifth in the 55-hurdles in the 1A/2A state championships.
Jasmine Tiamfook, River Hill, junior
Events: 800- and- 1,600-meters, and 4x400-meter relay.
Highlights: The reigning Howard County Times cross country Runner of the Year had a solid start to her winter season, as she won a county championship in the 800-meters with a personal-best time of 2:33.25, while also setting a school record in the 1,600-meters with a time 5:25.73 to finish second. At the 3A East region meet, she finished third in the 800 with a time of 2:33.25 and fifth in the 1,600 in 5:30.09. Tiamfook qualified for the state meet but did not compete because of an illness.
Ebere Ugorji, Mt. Hebron, junior
Events: 300- and 500-meters, 4x200- and -4x400-meter relay.
Highlights: After placing third in the 500-meters at the county championships, the junior won two region titles at the 3A East region meet. She clocked in at 1:23.94 win the 500-meters and then helped the Vikings win the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4:16.86. Ugorji qualified for the 3A state championship meet in the 500 and set a new personal record in the event with a time of 1:20.62. She also helped Mt. Hebron finish second in the 4x200-relay and third in the 4x400-relay at the state meet.
Asha Washington, Atholton, junior
Events: 55- and- 300-meters, and 4x200-meter relay.
Highlights: Washington won her first 3A East region title after clocking in at 4.41 in the 55-meter dash and then helped the Raiders win the 4x200-meter relay in 1:51.53. At the 3A state meet, the junior finished fourth in the 55-dash (7.33) and third in 1:47.40 as part of the 4x200-relay.
Morgan Williams, Howard, junior
Events: High, long and triple jump.
Highlights: Williams won her first county championship after jumping 33 feet, 7 ½ inches in triple jump. She also placed seventh in high jump and set a personal record of 15 feet, 6 ¼ inches to come in fourth in long jump. Williams then concluded her postseason by finishing sixth and setting a school record of 4 feet, 8 inches in high jump at the 4A East region championships.
Deanna Yancey, Wilde Lake, senior
Event: High jump.
Highlights: Yancey is the best high jumper in the county and, coming off her first indoor state title in the event, the senior won the county title with a distance of 5 feet, 2 inches to match a personal record. She cleared the same height to win the 3A East region title.