Dalton Hengst is already “the greatest runner to run at McDonogh, bar none,” according to Eagles longtime cross country coach Jeff Sanborn, and the senior wants to continue that upward trend, aiming for the Olympics.
Wednesday, last fall’s All-Metro Cross Country Runner of the Year signed a national letter of intent to run cross country and track at Mississippi. He said Ole Miss is the perfect place to help him reach that potential.
“I had five really good schools that I was kind of deciding between and then I got down to three,” Hengst said. “Then I kind of had to think what I wanted to get out of college and what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to put myself in the position to be the best runner I could possibly become, so it came down to which coach could get me there and what program was on the upward trend and having a lot of recent success. With the guys there right now and the coach, I think that it’s the perfect place.”
This fall, Hengst has run two sub-15 minute 5Ks, something that had not been done by a Maryland high school runner in 10 years, Sanborn said. Last week, Hengst won his third straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association cross country championship. Last year, he swept the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races in the MIAA indoor and outdoor track championships.
His resume is extensive, including winning the mile at the Penn Relays last spring in a personal-best 4 minutes, 9.99 seconds and winning the 1,500 meters at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Havana in May.
“My ultimate goal … is to make the Olympics,” Hengst said. “It’s a big thing to get there. That’s part of the college decision — what coach is going to develop me to get me there and what coach is going to put that goal before anything. If I can get better every year, run professionally, but then represent the USA in the Olympics one day — that’s, of course, the goal.”
McDonogh’s Jenner picks Duke: Hengst wasn’t the only top All-Metro athlete to sign at McDonogh’s signing ceremony on the Owings Mills campus Wednesday afternoon. Girls lacrosse Player of the Year Maddie Jenner signed with Duke, where she will join her sister Olivia, a former Eagles All-Metro player.
The 6-foot-2 center has been key to McDonogh’s 177-game winning streak. No. 1 in every national poll, the Eagles get a huge advantage in possession because Jenner wins 7.5 draws per game and about 80 percent of the ones she takes. She won 165 last season and that was a big spark to an Eagles offense that averaged 16.4 goals last spring against one of the toughest schedules in the country.
Jenner, also USA Today’s All-USA Player of the Year last spring, committed to the Blue Devils before her junior year while many of her peers committed during their freshman and sophomore years. The No. 1 recruit in the country since her junior year, she had many offers.
“I think I took so much time [because] there were so many schools to consider,” she said. “I think I would have been happy at a number of different schools, so it was hard to decide knowing that you’d be so happy at all these different schools and [it was] hard to say no to these great schools.”
Olivia has led the Blue Devils in draw controls the past two years, and Maddie likely will follow her sister into that role, but she said she didn’t go to Duke because of her sister.
“I definitely thought about playing with her when I decided on Duke. It was kind of a struggle between not wanting to be in her shadow and wanting to do my own thing, so I did think about it, but I’m definitely glad I get to play with her for one more year.”
Five of Jenner’s teammates also signed — All-Metro attacker Julia Hoffman with national champion Maryland, as well as Julia Cooper (Stanford), Megan Mix (California) Anna Robinson (Radford) and Hannah Rothe (Richmond).
In boys lacrosse, All-Metro midfielder Jack Simmons signed with Virginia while Griffin Catlett signed with Duke and George Ward with Delaware.
Two girls basketball players also signed: Kayla Liles, a first-team All-Metro guard last year signed with Elon. Teammate Taleah Dixon, a first team guard in 2015 who bounced back from injury last season, signed with Loyola Maryland.
Twins Sarah and Grace Boston became the first Eagles equestriennes to sign with Division I programs as Sarah is headed to Baylor and Grace signed with Texas A&M.
Eagles swimmer Erin Vance signed with Rice.
Bakers’ dozen for NDP: At Notre Dame Prep, an afternoon ceremony honored 13 girls lacrosse players who signed. That was the largest contingent in the Baltimore area, a year after 11 Blazers signed.
The Blazers, who finished second to McDonogh in last year’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship, have All-Metro first team attacker Caitlynn Mossman headed to Boston College as well as second-team defender Sarah Cooper to Syracuse and second-team attacker Hannah Mardiney to Florida.
Other Blazers who signed: Maggie Corbo (Florida); Maddie Johnson (Duke); Maddie Hoffman and Jordan Tilley (Virginia Tech); Jenna Kraft (High Point); Eva Macris (Bucknell); Annika Meyer and Caroline Somerville (Johns Hopkins); Kati Paavola (Iona); and Jordyn Sabourin (Georgetown).
Hoop dreams: In girls basketball, St. Frances guard Nia Clouden signed with Michigan State on Wednesday. She was last year’s Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year for the IAAM-champion Panthers.
Catonsville All-Metro forward-guard Jasmine Dickey, who led the Comets to their first state championship, signed with Delaware. Teammate Jameila Barrett signed with Norfolk State.
Manchester Valley guard Mackenzie DeWees, a three-time Carroll County Player of the Year and two-time second-team All-Metro selection with a chance to break the county scoring record this winter, signed with Quinnipiac. John Carroll’s Savannah Simmons signed with Kansas State and became the first girl from her school to sign with a Power 5 conference.