The Century and Pikesville boys took similar paths to indoor track and field state titles Monday afternoon at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.
The two teams relied on depth and balance to score throughout the meet. That's a big reason No. 2 Century won its second state title in three years and why the Panthers scored their first in school history.
Pikesville scored in 12 of the 13 events and finished with 110 points, outlasting Boonsboro (102) to earn the Class 1A state crown. Century got points in 10 events to score 84 points and beat Long Reach (45) en route to the Class 2A title.
Pikesville coach Adam Hittner said scoring points in so many places helped the Panthers capture six events and post 10 top-three finishes.
"The depth was the biggest thing for us," Hittner said. "We had people who just really rose to the occasion. We knew we needed bodies everywhere."
Maury Sall paced Pikesville with victories in the 500 and 800 meters along with a second-place finish in the 300. The junior anchored Pikesville's victorious 1,600 relay in the final event that clinched the team championship.
"I think it really shows everyone what we can do," Sall said. "In the beginning of the year, I don't think people thought we could win it. But we started believing."
Sall said the team's big win in last week's Class 1A Central Region meet — Pikesville topped Western Tech by 106.5 points — gave the team confidence.
The Panthers also won the 800 relay. Andre Pollard set a Class 1A record with his pole vault victory (13-6). Daniel Lewis was the other Pikesville winner; he took the 55 hurdles.
Lewis also ran on the winning 800 relay team. Quadir Rhoe helped with fourth-place efforts in 55 and 300 and participated in the two victorious relays.
Century followed the same path as Pikesville. Julian Woods won the 55 hurdles and took third in the 300 and fourth in the 55 dash. He also ran on the third-place 800 relay.
Jake Stefanik (high jump) and Chandler Kennell (pole vault) also posted Century victories as the Knights finished with six top-three finishes overall.
"This year, we have the depth in a lot of different places," Century coach Tony Griner said. "The thrill of it is just watching each one of them know they're doing something bigger than themselves."
The No. 2 Liberty girls tried to repeat as the Class 2A champion but just missed as Largo edged out the Lions, 59-55. The Liberty girls won the 3,200, and the Lions' Erin Patrice finished second in the 55.
Western Tech and Boonsboro were tied with one event left in the Class 1A girls, but the Washington County school scored 17.5 points in the pole vault to win the title.
Julia Nardone of Glenelg plus Western Tech's Carrington Akosa and Sharon Dorsey all won two events. Nardone took the 1,600, 3,200 in Class 2A while Akosa (55, 300) and Dorsey (500, 800) won in Class 1A. Dorsey set class records in her two wins. Abby Culp of Manchester Valley set a Class 1A record with her win in the 3,200.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun