Hereford freshman Kelly Wesolowski caught the attention of track coach Brad Duvall when training for soccer and playing that sport in the fall. Duvall believed Wesolowski could give the No. 3 Bulls a boost when she came over to track in the winter.
She did just that, quickly turning into one of the area's top distance runners during the indoor track season. Wesolowski has continued to develop in outdoor track, and turned in a strong, third-place performance in the 3,200 meters during the Pikesville Track Classic on Saturday.
The top-ranked McDonogh boys won the meet's team title with 70.5 points, beating out No. 7 Century (51). No. 9 Howard took the title for girls with 60 points. The No. 1 McDonogh girls were second with 45.5 points.
Wesolowski ran against indoor state champions Molly Offstein of Mountain Ridge (Class 2A) and Isabel Griffith from No. 7 Dulaney (Class 4A) and took the lead just past halfway on a cold and windy afternoon. The Hereford freshman remained in first until the gun lap, when Offstein and Griffith moved past her.
Offstein won in 10:50.01 (a meet record), edging out both Griffith (10:51.52) and Wesolowski (10:53.92). But the freshman made her mark.
"I knew it was going to be really competitive," she said. "I'll take that, but I want to get better."
Wesolowski really caught Duvall's attention — plus that of others — when she broke a 30-year-old school record in her first indoor race this winter in the 3,200. She ran 11:06 to set a new Hereford record by three seconds. Later in the winter, she improved to 10:52.
Duvall said Wesolowski is starting to realize she'll be able to do big things on the track. She was an All-Metro second-team pick this winter, despite toning down her training for about four weeks due to hamstring injury.
"She knew she was good," Duvall said. "I don't think she knew she was of that that level, that caliber, but she's not cocky or arrogant."
Looking for more
Century's Nick Neral finished fifth in the pole vault (Class 2A) last spring. He liked his effort, but wanted more.
That's why Neral began to push things. He started going to a personal trainer to work on speed and running technique to improve that part of his vault. He also began going to Harrisburg at least once a week to work on his vaulting technique.
Neral, who finished thirdin the pole vault at the Pikesville Classic, really learned from all of that work. He won the Class 2A state title indoors with a vault of 15 feet — the best among all four classes.
"The more you vault, the more confident you feel in meets," said Neral, an All-Metro first-team pick during the indoor season. "It just becomes routine in your steps and your warm-ups."
Neral worked with the personal trainer on his speed two to three times per week from July through November. The junior made that 90-minute drive to Harrisburg for help with the vaulting technique weekly, and still does.
In addition, Neral works with teammate Chandler Kennell, the state indoor champion in 2013. Kennell also took second in the state outdoors last spring for the No. 7 Knights.
"It's great to have another vaulter like Chandler at a high height because…we can always push each other," Neral said.
Centennial's Richard Vook has a story similar to Neral's. Vook decided after last spring to get more serious about vaulting.
He went to a summer vaulting camp in Baltimore for two weeks and began working on technique. Vook began going with another vaulting program in the Washington, D.C., area last fall.
Vook went to the USA Track and Field Youth Nationals and finished second there in the winter after the state meet, where he took third in Class 3A. He placed sixth in the Pikesville meet.