Energy levels are high, but the stakes are higher as Carroll’s athletes prepare to compete at Monday and Tuesday’s indoor track state meets.
Century captured its eighth straight boys county title on Jan. 27 and followed that up with a second straight Class 2A West team victory the next week. The Knights are the reigning 2A indoor state champions entering the state meet Monday at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Center in Landover.
The Knights edged runner-up Westlake by 4.5 points last season to win their first indoor state title since 2013. They were state runners-up in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Century’s depth hasn’t changed and it’s continued to benefit the team as a whole, especially during championship season.
“Depth helps in having multiple opportunities to score in different events,” Knights coach Dyron Johnson said. “We’ve always used it to our benefit and it definitely helps when a race may not go your way, other kids in other events can pick up and score points that tend to help sometimes.”
Jalen Stanton and Zach Fenton were the Knights’ individual champions at the 2A West meet. Stanton won the high jump and Fenton finished first in the 3,200-meter run. Stanton, a sprinter, came in second in the 55 hurdles and the 55 dash.
“The 2A West is one of the hardest regions so we like to think they will fare well,” Johnson said. “They will come out to compete just like everyone else so we never like to venture to say they will win anything. With so many great athletes, it’s hard to tell who will do what. One athlete might have a good day; one might have a bad day so you can never tell. You just hope they’re in the right head space to go out and do what they have to do.”
South Carroll’s girls repeated as county champions and the Cavaliers won the 2A West title as well, crowning an individual champion in Allie Zolkiewicz (300, 500, 800). SC placed fifth at the state meet in 2017.
Century’s Allie Everton won a 2A West individual title in the high jump.
Look for Heidi Rinehart (Liberty), Jamie Anderson (South Carroll), Natalie Poulton (Century), Elise Greenwald (Century), Makenzie Hopkins (Winters Mill), and Chloe Sobchak (Century) to make some noise in the girls distance races.
Francis Scott Key freshman Elizabeth Mahoney won the 1A West shot put title and teammate Summer Burton placed second to qualify. Eagles senior Sarah Pernell won the 55 hurdles in contribution to the team’s second-place finish.
On Tuesday, athletes from Manchester Valley and Westminster will take on their 3A counterparts vying for medals at the state meet.
Mavericks coach Jim MacDonald qualified six athletes — Kelli Garriott (high jump), Adam Melville (high jump), Josh Gerber (high jump), Andrew Jackson (1,600 run), Katelynd Manno (pole vault), and Evan Bare (shot put).
Most of the Mavericks’ success comes from the field events and five of the team’s six state qualifiers compete in the field.
Garriott jumped 5 feet, 5 inches at the 3A West meet, placing second to Linganore’s Kathleen Gallagher. The Mavs senior won the indoor high jump state title last year and MacDonald said the county’s high jump champion has a shot to do exceptionally well.
Melville, the county’s boys high jump champion, and Gerber placed fifth and eighth at the regional meet and look to place at states. Manno, a junior, cleared a personal record height of 8-6 at the county meet, good for second. She followed that up with a third-place finish in the region and MacDonald said if she can repeat her county height, her contention for medaling is possible.
Bare won county and regional titles in shot put and his county throw of 49-4.5 is a regional best heading into Tuesday’s state meet. Jackson, a Mavs distance runner, ran second in the 1,600 — a personal best time of 4:39.54 — MacDonald said the senior just keeps getting faster.
“Even though we’re only taking six kids, we really hope to come back with a combination of medals and ribbons,” MacDonald said. “We hope to place in the top 8, that would be a very good day.”
Five Westminster athletes qualified for the state meet — Erin McGrath (1,600, 3,200), Zane Lewis (300), Brandon Arbaugh (800), Charlie Ferguson (3,200) and Danny Gillcrist (pole vault). The boys’ 4x800 meter relay qualified based on time.
McGrath, the Owls’ lone regional champion, won the 1,600 in 5:35.97 and placed second in the 3,200 to qualify for both events.