Competing next to flying legs jumping in unison can be a distraction for some hurdlers. Not for Hereford senior Jamal Cody, who has one-lane tunnel vision when he takes the track for the 110- and 300-meter hurdle events.
"I try to mainly focus on my race because I learned from previous experiences when you start worrying about other people, you look away, and when you look away the hurdle comes up real quick," Cody said.
Cody won both events at at the Baltimore County championship meet on May 9 and won both again on May 16 at the Class 2A North Region championships, earning a trip to this weekend's Maryland state meet at Morgan State University.
Cody, whose time of 39.63 in the 300 hurdles at the county championships is the fastest of any runner in Baltimore County this spring, will be gunning for a second straight individual state championship in both hurdle races.
Last year, he captured the Class 2A state title in the 300 hurdles in 39.34 and the 110 hurdles in 14.78.
But the senior, who will attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore County next year, isn't strictly a hurdler.
At regionals, he also ran second in the 400-meter run and was on the fourth-place 1,600-meter relay with Shawn Gmurek, Michael Class and Zach Lang.
His pride and joy are the hurdles, but his work in the 400 and 1,600 relays helped the Hereford boys win the regional title with 178 points.
"The 400 is a really tough race," Cody said. "I think it's probably the hardest race to run as a sprinter. It tests, not only your speed, but also that speed and endurance aspect, because the last 100 meters are just pure guts and want-to. I feel like it's a man's race.
Doing it after running both hurdle events is even more difficult, but Cody won't give up hurdling.
"I feel like hurdling is pretty fun, he said. "It adds a little bit of danger into running, which makes it a little more interesting. It just gives you a unique characteristic.
At the county meet, Cody's efforts helped the boys team take third place behind Dulaney and Milford Mill.
"It's pretty special and I'm glad that it turned out with two wins," said Cody after his final Baltimore County meet.
At regionals, Hereford's depth proved to be the difference as the Bulls easily outdistanced Randallstown (77) and Western Tech (74).
The Hereford girls, who were second to Milford Mill at the county meet, went even deeper and easily won the Class 2A North Region title with 229 points.
The Bulls were led by double regional champion Hannah Boliek (long jump, pole vault). Boliek tied with teammate Anna Watt for the long jump championship.
Sarah Coffey, who won the 3,200 and 1,600 meters at the county meet, won the 1,600 and was second in the 800 to teammate Alicia Kozlowski.
Hannah Weeren won the 3,200 meters at regionals and joined the 3,200 relay quartet of Sophie Seaman, Ashley Treadwell, Liz Barranco and Megan Lime captured gold.
Hereford boys (1st, 178 points, top 8)
400-Jamal Cody, 2nd 49.76
800-Shawn Gmurek, 2nd 2:06.01; Michael Class, 4th 2:08.04
1,600-Zack Lang, 1st 4:40.03; Matt Kingeter, 2nd 10:48.95; Ethan Batchelor, 6th 4:52.74
3,200-Lang, 1st 10:38.53; Kingeter, 2nd 10:48.95; Batchelor, 3rd 10:55.85
110 hurdles-Cody, 1st 14.91
300 hurdles-Cody, 1st 40.18
Discus-Mike Nash, 1st 125-feet, 9 inches
Shot put-Nash, 2nd 46-feet
Triple jump-Jake Hess, 5th 36-8; Dylan Fox, 6th 36-7; Dylan Balcar, 7th 36-0
Long jump-Hess, 5th 19-1; Bryce Moritz, 6th 18-5
Pole vault-Greg Leasure, 1st 10-0; Dylan Fox, 2nd 9-6; Jordan Hettleman, 3rd 9-6
High jump-Nate McMillan, 2nd 5-8; Liam Fox, 5th 5-6; David Staab, 6th 5-4
3200 relay-Class, Konrad Shire, Dillon Coffey, Gmurek, 2nd 8:45.27
1,600 relay-Cody, Gmurek, Class, Lang, 4th 3:39.21
800 relay-Trevor Sanders, Jeremiah Schubert, Dylan Principio, Jack White, 8th 1:39.42
400 relay-Sanders, White, Mike Ivey, Hess, 4th 51.18
Hereford girls (1st, 229 points, top 8)