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Hereford girls claim third state indoor track state championship in four years

President’s Day was no holiday for the Hereford girls’ indoor track team as they were all business in the Class 2A state championship meet when the Bulls captured their third state crown in the past four years.

It completed a masterful trifecta for the girls, who won their 13th straight Baltimore County championship in January and ninth straight regional title earlier this month.

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It was the girls’ fifth state championship overall, all under head coach Brad Duvall, who is in his 11th season as head coach.

They won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 and 2016 and 2017.

The Bulls scored 60 points and this year’s winning margin was two points over runner-up Harford Tech (58) at the Prince Georges Sports & Learning Complex.

Damascus (38), Kent Island (38) and Seneca Valley (31) rounded out the top five.

Although they produced no individual state titles, the Bulls got second-place performances from Emily Konkus, who ran a personal best 5:17 in the 1,600 meters, and Vita Shats, who set her personal record in pole vault (10 feet, 6 inches).

Shats did it after injuring her back in a fall.

“Two weeks ago, she fell straight back on her back on the runway after a 10-foot vault and luckily didn’t hit her head,” Duvall said. “She really hasn’t vaulted in two weeks and [Monday] was the first time she put the pole in the ground since then. That’s a big emotional thing to get over.”

The 3,200-meter relay team of Lizzie Lopez, Shannon Francis, Kelsey Fowler and Jen Barranco was second in a time of 10:06.36.

Konkus, who won the Class 2A individual state cross country title last fall for the state champions, was third in the 800 (2:23.04).

“She (Konkus) was golden in the meet,” Duvall said. “She’s had ups and downs this season, which is going to happen when you are training for that long and that hard, so [assistant] Adam Hittner and I tried to be a little smarter with her training this year.”

The 1,600-meter relay team of Laura Schmidt, Lily Gaffney, Isabel Watt and Julia Watt was third (4:08.68) and that same quartet was fifth in the 800 relay (1:48.66).

The championship wouldn’t have been possible without other individual efforts that earned points by placing in the top eight.

Barranco scored in the 800 (5th, 2:2.89) and 500 (8th, 1:21.40), Julia Watt placed in the 500 (7th, 1:20.02), Lily Robertson scored in the 1,600 (6th, 5:3.19) and 3,200 (7th, 12:18.13) and Caroline Benda scored in the 3,200 (5th, 12:11.62).

Robertson was the Baltimore County champion in the 3,200 and 1,600 and won the 3,200 at regionals, but she was performing under the weather.

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“She was sick and not feeling very good, but she went out and gutted it out and still got us a couple points in both events which is critical,” Duvall said. “If she is healthy, it’s not quite as close, but somebody else could have been sick.”

Hereford's Lily Robertson, right, shown in the 3,200 meters in the 2018 outdoor state championship meet, scored in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at the 2019 indoor track state meet despite battling illness.
Hereford's Lily Robertson, right, shown in the 3,200 meters in the 2018 outdoor state championship meet, scored in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at the 2019 indoor track state meet despite battling illness. (File photo)

In the 3,200, Robertson rallied and out-kicked a girl in the last lap.

“That one point wasn’t the difference, but it certainly gave us a little bit of breathing room,” Duvall said. “She’s just a tough kid and it stinks for her that she couldn’t be at her healthiest when it mattered, but she has been big for us all year and she will be back in the spring doing her thing.”

The biggest secondary contribution came in pole vault where junior Courtney Butz and sophomore Elizabeth Schriver finished in a three-way tie for sixth place, earning two points each.

Both cleared 10-feet, but Schriver’s personal-best clearing height was 14 inches higher then she jumped at the Class 2A Central Region meet (8-10).

Schriver didn’t vault at the varsity Baltimore County championships, but she did win the JV county title with a jump of 9-feet.

“To add a foot PR was so huge for us,” Duvall said. “I was blown away to get 10-feet, I knew she could get 9-6, but to see her get 10 easily, it wasn’t even close. It took her third attempt, but she was way over the bar, that was great. That was an enormous swing for us.”

Schriver replaced Anna Lime in the lineup for regionals and states, after Lime placed third at counties.

“Anna went to counties and jumped 9-feet which is great,” Duvall said. “It’s nice to have that problem where you have four kids that are really good.”

Pole vault isn’t the only spot where the Bulls have depth.

“We had one of our girls sick, but having two or three deep at each position, we were able to make up for that,” Duvall said. “You don’t have to worry about having one kid have a bad day.”

The bad weather with snow and ice storms that hit Hereford didn’t even faze the team.

“It’s pretty cool, because I’ll wake up in the morning on a snow day and Emily Konkus has already sent me a text messages asking what she should be doing and what she should be telling the team,” Duvall said. “It’s a pretty cool thing that we get to experience with kids that are just so dedicated. They don’t want to miss a day, so they will make sure they are ready.”

Girl regional title is ninth straight

In the Class 2A Central Region meet, the Hereford girls captured the title with 174.5 points.

They were followed by Harford Tech (131), Elkton (49), Fallston (39.5) and New Town (27).

Robertson won the 3,200 (12:13.23) and was second in the 1,600 (5:25.86).

Also scoring in the 3,200 was Benda (2nd, 12:19.94) and Mary Ellen Revitte (4th, 13:41.68).

In the 1,600, Konkus was third (5:30.60) and Olivia Holbrook was fourth (5:53.42).

The Bulls also piled up the points in the pole vault with sophomore Shats taking gold (10-feet, 1 inch) and junior Butz landing second (9-10). Sophomore Schriver placed fourth (8-10).

The Bulls also got fine efforts in the shot put with Gabriella Gatto (2nd) throwing a personal-best 27-feet, 10 inches and Sophia Parker taking third (27-4).

Schmidt, Blair, Gaffney and Watt won the 1,600 relay (4:20.42) and narrowly nipped Harford Tech (4:20.53).

Lopez, Shannon Francis, Blair and Fowler won the 3,200 relay (10:29.47).

Schmidt, Watt, Gaffney and Julia Watt were second in the 800 relay (1:52.91).

Hereford didn’t let up in the sprint events.

Schmidt was fifth in the 55-meter dash (7.79) and fifth in the 300 meters (44.77).

Julia Watt was fourth in the 300 (44.62) and third in the 500 (1:24.11), just ahead of Barranco (1:24.98).

In the 800, Konkus was second (2:28.54), Barranco third (2:29.94) and Fowler fifth (2:38.41).

Junior Emma Fox, set a personal record in the 55 hurdles and placed fourth (10.41), while freshman teammate Lopez also set a PR and placed fifth (10.50), while Lime was eighth (10.72).

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The Hereford boys were third at the Class 2A Central Region meet with 48 points.

They trailed Harford Tech (125.5) and New Town (83).

Junior Drew Turnbaugh was third in the 3,200 (11:03.50), William Holbrook sixth (11:26.59) and Shane Taylor seventh (11:35.00).

Taylor was sixth in the 1,600 (5:14.99) and Connor McCue was seventh (5:20.38).

Aiden Jacobsen finished seventh in the 300 (40.62).

Wyatt Parks and Daniel Weiss tied for second in pole vault (11-9) with Weiss jumping a personal best.

Zack Kralec was sixth in the pole vault (8-9).

The top relay team was the quartet of William Holbrook, Ben Caputo, Jacob Robertson and Turnbaugh, who were third in the 3,200 (9:28.21).

Parks, Turnbaugh, Jacobsen and Quentin Kostick was fourth in the 1,600 relay (4:00.00).

Kostick, Jacobsen, Wyatt Parks and Spencer Wheeler placed seventh in the 800-meter relay (1:48.56).

Hereford’s boys scored seven points and finished in a tie for 19th in the Class 2A state meet.

Senior pole vaulter Weiss was fifth (12-6) and junior vaulter Parks was seventh (12-0).

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