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Indoor Track: Gold mined by Carroll athletes at 1A, 2A West regional meets

Indoor Track: Gold mined by Carroll athletes at 1A, 2A West regional meets
Francis Scott Key's Emma Taggart goes for an attempt in the girls high jump event during the Carroll County Athletic League indoor track championship meet at Hagerstown Community College on Saturday, Jan. 26. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

Theo Johnson was embraced by his father after crossing the finish line first in the 3,200-meter run at the Class 2A West meet at Hagerstown Community College on Saturday.

Johnson, a senior at Century High School, paced the field and remained in first place the entire way, finishing in 10 minutes, 5.75 seconds. Teammates Zachary Fenton and Hayden Hebert finished second and third, and South Carroll’s Jason Cave came in fourth.

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The 1-2-3 finish gave the Knights 24 points in the team standings. Seven Carroll athletes finished in the top 10 to qualify for states, and six of those runners came in first through sixth place.

(The 1A and 2A West meets were held simultaneously Saturday, but the events ran too late for final results and team scores to be published.)

“I went out at a good pace and started slowing down in the second and third lap,” Johnson said. “I just decided that I was going to go out, I did 35 seconds in the fourth lap and no one else came with me from what I heard so I just kept the same pace. The gap was so big, so I just finished strong.

“I heard them coming at the end with about 100 meters left, Zach was kicking after me so I just finished as fast as I could before he got me.”

Carroll saw representation from five schools at Saturday’s meet — Francis Scott Key in 1A West, and Century, Liberty, South Carroll, and Winters Mill in 2A West.

Knights senior Jalen Stanton repeated as region champion in all four of his events — the 300, high jump, 55 hurdles, and 55 dash.

He came in to Saturday’s meet feeling confident, he said, despite the team’s inability to practice because of inclement weather that plagued the county and closed or delayed school this week. Stanton finished the 300 in 36.55 seconds, beating out Oakdale’s Haran Nadarajah.

However, Stanton was most impressed with his high jump performance.

“High jump today was unbelievable,” Stanton said. “I felt good again, for me though the season it’s iffy here and there but in championship season, I get some adrenaline. I got 6-5 today and it just felt natural.”

Francis Scott Key’s 4x200relay team of Jakub Mihulka, Tanner Miller, Hayden Ritz and Jacob Watson won the 1A West title in 9:00.17. Eagles pole vaulter Jacksun Layne cleared 9-7, good for fourth place and a state qualification.

South Carroll’s Brooke Flanigan and Sarah Langille finished second and third in the 55 hurdles behind Deborah Gnoumou of Seneca Valley. Cavaliers senior Megan O’Neill came in third in the 500 dash in 1:22.8.

Liberty’s 4x800 relay team of Sammie Spargo, Jenna Ziewtowksi, Grace Maciejewski and Hailey Steier won in 10:32.94, and Century finished second.

Winters Mill sophomore Kathryn Hopkins raced to third place in the 3,200 and finished fourth in the 1,600 earlier in the afternoon.

Francis Scott Key senior Emma Taggart cleared 4-10 to capture the 1A West regional title in high jump one week removed from winning the high jump county title at 5 feet.

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The past week’s snowfall put a damper in the Eagles’ ability to practice, so Taggart had to focus on keeping her form in check while jumping on Saturday.

“I think I just kind of did what I usually do,” Taggart said. “I don’t think I jumped under 4-10 this season but I would like to jump higher, especially at states. I did pretty well for not practicing all week.”

Taggart also competed in the 55 hurdles and the 4x200 relay and has played an integral role in adding strength to the Eagles, especially in the field events. She qualified for states in the shot put with a throw of 29-8.25, along with teammate Elizabeth Mahoney.

FSK’s Haley Sawyers cleared 8-4 to capture the 1A West pole vault title as well.

“I think it’s really important just having a lot of people do different events,” Taggart said. “Some people might only run one event and they might have to sit around for six hours so getting people into more events is really helpful and it helps to score points and keep everyone ready to go.”

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