David Eisenhauer of Wilde Lake decided late in the season to change his strategy when running the 3,200-meter dash, a move that's paid off handsomely.
Instead of waiting until the final lap of the eight-lap race, the junior starting making his move one lap sooner. That change helped him win the region title last week, and it worked again on Friday when he captured the Class 3A state title.
That victory gave No. 5 Wilde Lake 10 important points and helped the Wildecats sit in second place, one-half point behind No. 10 Digital Harbor after the first day of competition in the 4A-3A state track and field meet at Morgan State. All four classes will finish up on Saturday.
After taking second in the Howard County meet this season, Eisenhauer realized he needed to make a change.
"What I was doing was not working," he said. "I had to try something different."
Eisenhauer was in second place, behind North Harford's Nick Fransham, with two laps left when the junior made his move. He took the lead and turned the race into a rout, winning in nine minnutes, 22.43 seconds. Fransham finished in 9:31.08. A strong headwind on the backstretch — strong enough to rock nearby trees — made the race even more challenging.
"It felt like running through Jell-O or peanut butter," Eisenhauer said.
Digital Harbor got most of its points thanks to a pair of second-place finishes in the 800- and 3,200-meter relays, plus Michael Francis' victory in the long jump (23 feet, 8 inches) near the end of the night.
In Class 4A, Severna Park's Ryan Forsyth won another state title in the 3,200. He won in 9:14.53, edging out rival Brent Musselman of South River (9:17.09). Musselman beat him in the 1,600 at the Anne Arundel County title meet earlier this month.
The Colorado-bound Forsyth also won the state title in cross country and the 3,200 indoors. Dulaney's Isabel Griffith did the same thing in Class 4A and also tried for a third state title on Friday but came up short, finishing third in her 3,200 run.
The senior, who's headed to Penn in the fall, let Nora McUmber of Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson's Kiernan Keller go out and set the pace. McUmber pulled away and won in 10:45.68, with Keller second (10:53.46). Next came Griffith at 10:59.56, and she later wondered about her strategy.
"I was a little anxious to lead the race," Griffith said. "I know how fast they were, and they've got a heck of a kick. I knew it was coming."
Franklin's Olivia Gruver won the Class 3A pole vault crown for the second straight season with a class-record vault of 12 feet. She also won a state crown indoors.
(at Morgan State)
Team scores (Top 5): 1. Digital Harbor, 29; 2. Wilde Lake, 28.5; 3. Northern-Calvert, 26; 4. T. Johnson, 14; 5. Urbana, 13.
3,200-meter relay: 1. River Hill, 7:56.84; 2. Digital Harbor, 8:13.63; 3. Edgewood, 8:17.96.