PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Devon Williams, Towson Catholic
Williams, whose opportunities to run in high-profile out-of-state meets were limited by sanctioning issues, reminded observers that quality is better than quantity.
Williams, who set a U.S. record when she clocked in at 1 minute, 11.53 seconds in the 500 last winter, shaved .09 seconds off that mark at the Metropolitan Athletics Congress Holiday Classic to set a new national mark.
The sophomore's time of 1:31.05 in the 600 at the MAC Record Assault Challenge ranks as the second-fastest time registered by a U.S. high school athlete this season, according to Dyestat.com.
Williams' times of 38.64 seconds in the 300 at the 168th Street Invitational and 54.67 seconds in the 400 at the University of Kentucky High School Invitational rank second and fourth in the nation, respectively.
The two-time All-Metro Performer of the Year captured the 300 in 39.55 seconds and the 1,600 in 5:23.9 at the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships.
COACHES OF THE YEAR
Dave Fender and Jimmy Grant, Fallston
The Cougars faced a number of obstacles this season. First, Harford County does not recognize indoor track as a varsity sport, and therefore does not fund indoor programs. The lack of recognition discouraged many athletes from joining the team.
And parents - the support staff of any athletic program - traditionally didn't get involved. While the first hurdle remained, the latter two became nonexistent, as Fender (right, top) and Grant enjoyed their largest turnout of athletes (11 girls) and parents.
The turning point occurred when Fallston won the Clear Spring Invitational - its first multi-team meet victory since 1983. Buoyed by that performance, the Cougars swept the Class 3A-2A West regional and state championships to walk away with the school's first indoor track titles.
Elan Hilaire, Park
The freshman made a splash locally and nationally. Hilaire set a national freshman record in the 400 when she finished in 54.06 seconds at the Simplot Games.
Hilaire claimed the 55-meter dash at the Colgate Games (7.1 ) and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships (7.20). Her time of 6.8 in the 55 at the Quick Feet Meet ranks eighth nationally, according to Dyestat.com.
Cierra Layne, Edmondson
Less than a year removed from winning a Class 2A state title in the 100-meter dash last spring, the senior parlayed that success to the 55.
She claimed the 55 at the Class 2A-1A Central Region (7.33 seconds) and the state (7.40) championships. Layne, who placed second in the 55 at the Baltimore City championships, also ran a leg of the 800-relay squad that set a Class 2A state record with a winning time of 1:45.56.
Theresa Lewis, Western
The junior set meet records in the 55 hurdles at the Montgomery (8.01 seconds) and Virginia Tech (7.95) invitationals.
The Baltimore City Performer of the Year and two-time All-Metro pick swept the 55 and the 55 hurdles at the city (6.9 in the 55 and 8.4 in the hurdles), Class 4A-3A Central Region (7.26 and 8.06) and state (7.13 and 7.95) meets.
Her time in the hurdles at the state championships ranks No. 1 nationally, according to Dyestat.com.
Lauren McClenney, Mount Hebron
The senior was unstoppable in the 500. McClenney repeated as the Howard County champion in the event, establishing a new county record with a time of 1 minute, 17.9 seconds -- the fastest registered by a metro athlete.
McClenney, who also took the 300 (41.8) at the county championships, scored victories in the 500 at the Class 3A-2A West regional (1:19.4) and state (1:18.58) meets.
Heather Millford, Chesapeake-AA
Until she tore three ligaments in her left foot while competing in the pole vault at the Class 4A-3A Central Region meet, the senior was the area's premier vaulter.
Millford cleared an area-best 10 feet at the Howard County Winter Track Festival, Frostbite Invite and Anne Arundel-Baltimore County Challenge. Her winning height of 9-6 inches at the Anne Arundel County championships was a county record.
Trisha Repsher, Westminster
The junior dominated the 3,200 all winter. Repsher swept the event at the Carroll County (11 minutes 34.0 seconds), Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Chesapeake Division (11:15), Class 4A-3A Central Region (11:17.80) and state (11:15.84) championships.
Her time at the MVAL meet is the fastest recorded by a metro athlete. Repsher also claimed the 1,600 (5:28.1) and the 3,200 (11:16.3) at the Frostbite Invite.
Ashely Rucker, Old Mill
The junior didn't make her presence felt in the shot put until the championships began.
After placing second at the Anne Arundel County championships, Rucker was a runner-up again at the Class 4A-3A Central Region meet.
Even though she placed fourth in the shot put at the state championships, Rucker's throw of 34 feet, 7 inches is the longest mark posted by a metro athlete.
Alison Smith, Atholton
The sophomore tripled at every championship level. Smith won the 1,600 (5 minutes 22.1 seconds) and 3,200 (11:45.0) and ran a leg of the winning 1,600 relay squad at the Howard County championships.
The county Performer of the Year took the 500 (1:21.51), 800 (2:24.9) and 1,600 (5:27.63) at the Class 2A-1A East regional meet.
Smith collected the 800 (2:22.74) and 1,600 (5:15.62) and ran a leg of the winning 1,600 relay at the state meet.
Shalaiyah Sommerville, Western
The junior came close to winning Class 4A-3A state crowns in the 300 and 500, placing second in both. Even so, the two-time All-Metro selection's time of 39.38 seconds in the 300 at the state meet ranks as the second-fastest time recorded by a metro athlete.
Sommerville claimed both events at the Baltimore City (40.1 in the 300 and 1:19.6 in the 500) and Central Region (39.56 and 1:20.19) championships.
Rokesha Williams, Towson Catholic
The senior rewrote two records at the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships.
Williams' time of 8.22 seconds in the 55 hurdles broke the mark of 8.40 set by Mount de Sales' Ashley Duckett last year.
The two-time All-Metro pick's leap of 17 feet, 5 inches in the long jump eclipsed the record of 16-4 by McDonogh's Brooke Staton last year. Williams won the 55 hurdles (8.34) and high jump (5-2) at the 168th Street Invitational.
Cynthia Windesheim, North County
The sophomore captured the high jump at the Anne Arundel County (5 feet, 2 inches) and Class 4A-3A Central Region (5-1) championships before finishing second at the state meet.
Windesheim's mark of 5-4 is the best recorded by a metro athlete. The Anne Arundel County Performer of the Year took the long jump (a county-record 15-8) and triple jump (a county-record 31-10) at the county championships.
Lauren Capone, Towson, junior
Jessica Clarke, Mount de Sales, junior
Alyssa Evering, Fallston, senior
Diane Hunter, Edmondson, sophomore
Emma Larkin, Dulaney, freshman
Jessica O'Brien, John Carroll, junior
Bethaney Perna, Winters Mill, junior
Devin Robinson, McDonogh, sophomore
Emily Saltsman, Fallston, senior
Christine Vidmar, Reservoir, junior
JaNay Woolridge, Long Reach, senior
Robin Yerkes, Broadneck, junior
Note: Teams selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun