Jalen Stanton experienced a busy spring, but in a way different from even the best of athletes.
Stanton proved to be a double-sport star once again at Century, helping the Knights to second place in the state in Class 2A lacrosse, plus track and field. But in the latter, a sport where individuals truly can shine while helping a team, Stanton really helped carry Century to that second-place finish.
He won the 100-meter dash (10.81 seconds), the 110 hurdles (14.14, a state record) as well as the high jump and even anchored the 4x100 relay team that took third place at the state title meet at Morgan State. In other words, Stanton scored 30 points by himself and helped the relay team bring in six more, accounting for 36 of Century’s 68 points. Oakdale won with 85.
Stanton turned in this kind of effort throughout the season — while keeping up his lacrosse schedule — and became one of the most versatile track and field athletes in Carroll County, and that’s why the senior was once again chosen as Times Boys Track Athlete of the Year.
The schedule Stanton used was a busy one. He would go to lacrosse practice daily and come to track workouts two or three times a week. Coach Dyron Johnson said there were times when Stanton doubled up and did things like participating in track and field meets and go to lacrosse practice afterward.
“I know my body and then when I need to take breaks from lacrosse or throttle down from track, I would do it,” Stanton said. “This season was very satisfying [in track]. Just knowing it would be my last track season at Century, I wanted to get everything out of it and just know I’d be able to learn as much as possible.”
Johnson said Stanton doubled up on these two sports for three years, and now the senior is headed to Lynn University, in Boca Raton, Florida, to play lacrosse while running unattached. He’s going to play midfield at Lynn and the decision, apparently, was not a tough one.
“It wasn’t very hard at all,” Stanton said. “Lacrosse is where my heart is, and that’s the game I love. I’ve been playing since fourth grade.”
Stanton said he turned down offers from schools such as Jacksonville, Lehigh, and UMBC to play at Lynn, a Division II school, after being impressed on his visit there. He ended his high school career with three goals in Century’s state title loss to Glenelg.
But the doubling up on sports — he also played football in the fall, so Stanton played four overall — also was a task, one that Stanton could keep up with.
“He’s used to doing it,” Johnson said. “For me, it’s impressive that he can manage the time in doing it and take care of his body while doing it, and he’s been able to do manage the time between both.”
The fact that Stanton needs to take time to use for practicing in two different sports could hurt most athletes, but it doesn’t seem to have bothered him much.
In fact, the success he’s had this year has caught the attention of coaches in other areas, like Brad Duvall of Hereford High School, the Class 2A girls state champs, out of Baltimore County.
“I think it’s obvious that he is fast and although you can certainly work on things there, a lot of that is natural talent,” Duvall said. “What blows me away is how good he is at technical events such as the hurdles and high jump considering the amount of time he is splitting between two varsity sports. To train for technical events requires time, and that’s something he has a limited quantity of. That’s what is special about him to me.”
Stanton was coming off a great indoor season where he captured four individual state titles. He’d heard stories about athletes who then faded after that in the following season.
The senior was determined not to be another part of that story, so he worked like crazy and got those two individual titles plus the relay crown and ended his Century career with a bang this spring.
“I wanted to find out just any way that I could not be like other people that have done great in indoor and not so great in outdoors,” Stanton said. “I started off slow [this spring] … but knew the times would get there by the end of the season.”
They certainly did.