Josh Gerber came to the Class 3A state track meet at Morgan State University already feeling pretty good about his Friday.
As a senior at Manchester Valley, Gerber celebrated his final day of high school. Friday also stood as his last shot at competing in high jump for the Mavericks. The good vibes continued on the infield at Hughes Stadium, where Gerber capped his varsity career with a second-place finish and a personal record.
Gerber cleared 6 feet, 4 inches and tied Stephen Decatur’s London Drummond on height, but Drummond won the state championship based on fewer misses during the event. Drummond didn’t miss until both he and Gerber tried to clear 6-6.
Gerber couldn’t contain his smile after he gathered his things from the high jump area and retreated into the bleachers at Morgan.
“I was really nervous,” Gerber said. “I just thought about winning.”
Gerber’s previous PR was 6-2, which he reached at the county meet before placing second. He qualified for states by jumping 5-11 at the 3A West meet, but Gerber only reached 5-11 there. Four other jumpers came in at 6-0 or higher for states.
Surpassing 6-4 on his second attempt at that height helped settle the nerves, Gerber said.
“I just kind of thought, I had second right now, I just got a PR,” he said. “I felt more confident. I am very proud. I would like to have [reached] 6-6 … I’m good with 6-4. I’ve been working for it all season.”
A handful of athletes from Manchester Valley and Westminster high schools competed in the 3A meet Friday.
Mavericks freshman Rubie Goffena made her outdoor state meet debut with a third-place finish in the 3,200-meter run. Goffena, who won three gold medals at the county meet and two at regionals, took a bronze in 11 minutes, 29.34 seconds.
Westminster senior Charlie Ferguson took fourth in the 3,200 run, and ran a leg on the Owls’ eighth-place 4x800 relay.
Manchester Valley senior Katelynd Manno came in fifth in the girls pole vault.
Like Gerber, Man Valley’s Evan Bare closed out his senior year of school Friday. He’s entered in the discus Saturday, but Bare took part in his final varsity shot put event just before Gerber did high jump.
Bare wasn’t pleased with his 10th-place finish — two of his three attempts ended in fouls — and said he didn’t achieve the goals get set for himself this year.
“If I’m being completely honest, I’ve actually declined since last year,” said Bare, who dealt with an injury to his throwing arm during the indoor season before the county meet. “I’ve done my best and my coaches have helped me to try and fix my form to where we can do good.”
Bare said the goal was to reach 50 feet, which he accomplished many times during practice. He reached 42-11.5 on Friday.
Bare won an outdoor county title in the shot (46-6) and earned third at regionals (47-2).
“Senior year has not been the dream it was supposed to be,” he said. “I tried to make the most of it. … There’s not a sense of relief. There was definitely something in there that could have been great, but it never showed.”
3A Boys Results (top 3 plus Carroll)
3,200 run: 1. Michael Belmaggio (Linganore) 9:28.82, 2. Caleb Zylka (Bel Air) 9:37.72, 3. Jacob Cole (Centennial) 9:41.38, 4. Charlie Ferguson (Westminster) 9:48.07.