Boys Indoor Track Athlete of the Year: Century's Bryant hitting his peak

Megan Woodward
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times
Kyle Bryant is the Times Boys Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.

When Kyle Bryant joined the Century track team as a freshman, he wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first.

He sought out former Knights vaulters Nick Neral and Chandler Kennell and started making the 90-minute trip with them to VaultWorX in Camp Hill, Pa., where other local vaulters go to train. Once they graduated, Bryant, then a sophomore, partnered with Seth Jacobs, another Century vaulter, to continue training at the facility.

"Nick and Chandler were the superstars of the team, so I kind of flocked over there," Bryant said. "They took me under their wing and brought me up through that and got me started with it."

Bryant won Class 2A West Region and 2A state pole vault titles in indoor and outdoor track as a junior in 2016 — he cleared a personal-record height of 14 feet, 3 inches en route to his outdoor pole vault title.

Bryant continued to vault his way to the top this year, capping off his senior indoor campaign as the repeat regional and state pole vault champion. He beat his personal record height from the spring when he cleared 14-4 for state title gold.

Century's boys indoor track team had quite the championship season as a whole. First-year co-coaches Chris Mead and Dyron Johnson led the boys to county, regional, and state titles this winter. This was their seventh consecutive county crown, second straight region title victory and first state championship since 2013.

"It feels great," Bryant said. "We weren't really expecting it at first but of course, everybody on the team did the best they could, better than they were expecting. Our coaches are such a big help and they have this season regimen to make sure when we get to championship season to be the best you can possibly be, so it kind of clicked perfectly and we owe a lot to them."

Bryant won a county title in the 55-meter hurdles (8.42 seconds) in contribution to his team's victory.

He was Century's lone champion at the state meet, but the culmination of team points from the other events pushed the Knights to victory with 69.5 points, just ahead of Westlake's 65.

"We obviously cherish the team championship a lot, but it says a lot for him to go out and do that," Mead said. "It was a big culmination and a huge goal of his to not only just win but he had been trying to PR all year. It was perfect that it worked out and that's exactly when you should be hitting your peak. He had trial and error all year and for it to come together at states, you can't really ask for much more than that."

Mead and Johnson took over head coaching duties at the start of the indoor season. Former coach Tony Griner stayed on as a strength coach this year and he led the 2011 and 2013 boys indoor squads to state championships and two outdoor titles as well. The Knights finished second at indoor states from 2014-16.

Their guidance didn't change the vibe of the team much, Bryant said, and Mead had him train in a little bit of everything this season in preparation for the New Balance Nationals Indoor Meet in New York last weekend. He finished 37th in the pole vault (13-3.75) and 13th in the pentathlon, totaling 2,781 points over five events.

He said he didn't place as well as he wanted to, but was happy to have received the opportunity to compete at a national level. Bryant credited the support of his coaches and the training regimens they set up for him and his teammates.

"They really took on a leadership role," Bryant said. "Coach Mead was really there to push me this year and he really taught me to get in the zone and push myself to work a lot harder than I normally would have."

The outdoor season is days away and Bryant said he's already prepared with a new goal in mind — surpass Neral's program record height of 15-6. Neral cleared that at the outdoor region meet in 2014.

"Nick was always the greatest and the superstar," Bryant said. "It would be great to get up there and finally get to where he was, higher hopefully."

mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

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All-County Boys Indoor Track

FIRST TEAM

Event;Name;School;Year

Sprints;Troy Johnson;Westminster;Junior

Sprints;Zane Lewis;Westminster;Senior

Sprints;Henry Seabrook;Century;Senior

Distance;Sean Dodson;Manchester Valley;Senior

Distance;Zach Fenton;Century;Senior

Distance;Theo Johnson;Century;Sophomore

Distance;Jacob Spera;Century;Junior

Hurdles/Field;Kyle Bryant;Century;Senior

Field;Braedan Balch;Liberty;Senior

Field;Andrew Haberman;Century;Senior

Field;Carson Miller;Manchester Valley;Senior

Field;Zach Stump;Liberty;Junior

SECOND TEAM

Century: Sean Renehan, Jalen Stanton. Liberty: Brooks Chaney, John Lemaster, Andrew Miner, Luca Pagni, Alec Pellicciotti. Man Valley: Adam Melville. South Carroll: Remy Mezebish. Westminster: Wilson Funk, Noah Griffin, Garvin Steele.

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