LANDOVER — Northeast’s Davon Carroll came just short of winning two state titles at last year’s outdoor state championships, coming agonizingly close in both the 100 meters as well as the anchor leg in the 800-meter relay while winning the 200-meter dash.
Having won the 300 meters earlier in the Maryland State Indoor Track Championships by four tenths of a second, Carroll didn't come off the gun like he would have liked in the 55 dash finals, but was able to overcome, capturing the 55 dash in 6.46 seconds to capture his second title of the day and highlight a handful of state champions from the county on Tuesday at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.
“My start was kind of slow,” Carroll said. “As the race went on I worked on my form and my arms and came through. It feels pretty good to have two titles now. I reached my goals. It sends a message that we will be back at states at Morgan. When it’s time for big meets, Northeast comes up big.”
Carroll ran the opening leg for the 800- meter relay team that finished fourth, helping the Eagles to a fifth place finish. Linganore won the boys 3A title while Franklin won the girls title.
Severna Park's Emily Knight has dealt all season with the pressure of her success from last year, where she won three events at the county championship and ultimately a state title in the 500 meters.
Knight was unfazed in the final heat of the 500 dash, as she was all season, adapting to a quicker than usual start to close comfortably, defending her state title in the event.
“It was a really hard race,” Knight said. “I had to take it out a lot faster than normal and the girl in lane six (Ahliyah Williams of Henry A. Wise) got a fast start and I was trying to beat her to that corner. It makes me feel happy because I have worked so hard for it and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my coaches and teammates that pushed me and believed in me no matter what.”
One of those teammates is Izzy Kintzley, one of Knight’s main workout partners. Kintzley performed well enough in an earlier heat to finish fourth in the state in the 500, icing on the cake for Knight.
“She’s such a good friend of mine and she always pushes me to be better and believes in me so much,” Knight said. “We work really well together, we push each other a lot when we work out and that’s why we are both so fast because we motivate each other and we do it for each other.”
Knight later used a tremendous final kick to outlast Walter Johnson’s Abigail Green in the 800, winning in 2:20.11 to 2:20.12 in one of the best races of the day.
Knight and Kintzley combined to help the Falcons to a second place finish in the 1600-meter relay while Sarah Adams took second in the state in the pole vault, helping the Falcons to a second place finish, four points behind winner Walter Johnson. Northwest took the boys 4A title.
While Knight was motoring to her 500-meter win, the majority of the arena was captivated by the duel in the pole vault pit going on between Broadneck’s Jaren Baluyot and Urbana’s Yuri Brunner.
After neither of the pair could clear 13 feet, 6 inches in their three allotted jumps, they were forced into a jump off in which the first to clear the height while the other didn’t was the winner.
Six jumps weren’t enough, but on the seventh jump with the state title on the line, Baluyot found some extra inspiration and cleared the height to win the state title.
“My coach said this moment is where champions are made and if I wanted it, I had to go all out,” Baluyot said. “I had all-out written on my wrist, it was just a reminder and his words were the inspiration I needed. I was extremely tired, but going at it like that it reminds me of how competitive pole vault is and why I love the sport so much. I am so glad I had the opportunity to jump against someone who is just as good or better than me.”
Broadneck earned another title in a field event when Elian Ahmar took top honors in the shot put, throwing 56 feet, nine inches to win by nearly a foot.
Sadly one of the day's closest races, the girls 3200-meter relay, was ultimately decided by a rules violation that underscored the excitement of the race.
Broadneck’s Olivia Janke and South River’s Bronwyn Patterson raced to the finish with Janke edging Patterson by .03 seconds, appearing to give the Bruins a state championship.
There was a ruling by a judge on the track that the exchange between legs two and three violated rule 5.11.1 in the National Federation of High Schools Track and Field/Cross Country rule book because a runner had stepped off the track during the baton exchange.
Rule 5.11.1 states that , “A relay team shall pass the baton in accordance with the rules. The track rules relative to fouling, coaching or interference apply identically to relay races. Also, incoming competitors may not assist teammates by pushing them.” Any violation of this rule results in a disqualification.
“It’s extremely disappointing and I know that the step did not give us a competitive advantage, but that’s track and field for you,” Broadneck coach Andrew Villwock said. “Sometimes it can be the big things or sometimes the little things that can cost you and I’m hoping the girls can know in their hearts that they were the best team in the state in the 3200- meter relay, but it is certainly tough. They worked their tails off.”
Janke rallied back to later finish second in the 3200-meter dash to Green of Walter Johnson, while Annapolis’ Anna Coffin took third. Coffin also took second in the girls 1600-meter run, while South River’s Sam Keeny was third on the boys’ side.
Arundel’s Marcus Abrams took second place in the 55 hurdles while North County’s Ryan Willie took third place in the 300-meter dash. Cheapeake’s Hannah McKeon took third place in the 3A pole vault.
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Old Mill’s Diamond Moore, a threat in the high jump and 55 hurdles, suffered an ankle injury in the preliminaries of the hurdles and was unable to continue.