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Harford County runners team up, nearly pull upset in 4x800 relay at AAU Jr. Olympics

Two recent graduates of Aberdeen High School teamed with runners from Bel Air and C. Milton Wright in the 4x800-meter relay in the National AAU Junior Olympics in Greensboro, N.C., last Friday.

Competing against 19 teams in the 17-18 age group, the Harford Track Club foursome almost pulled an upset.

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The team moved up steadily in the pack, with 2018 Bel Air grad Brenton Duvall completing the first leg in sixth place in 2:01.09. Sean Starkloff (Aberdeen) advanced to fifth with a 1:59.96 on the second leg, and Jaydon Morley (CMW), moved into second place with a 1:59.50 on the third.

Anchorman Dan Foster (Aberdeen) charged down the final straightaway, closing quickly on the leader, but he came up 1 second short of victory behind a team from Michigan. His 1:58.22 secured second place in 7:58.79.

Theirs was the top Harford County finish in the week-long meet, in which 13,600 athletes competed in nine age groups. The meet was the largest youth meet in the world, according to the AAU. Two dozen athletes from Harford County competed, representing the Harford Track Club and the Joppatowne Roadrunners.

Competing for Joppatowne, 8-year-old Benicio Johnson of Abingdon finished fourth in his age group in the 200-meter dash, clocking 29.54 seconds. Leading up to his fourth-place finish, he won his quarterfinal heat in 29.46 and finished fourth in the semifinal in 29.01. He also placed ninth in the 100 in 14.42 and 11th in the 400 in 1:09.36.

Makiyah Robinson, 8, of Edgewood, competed in the girls’ dashes for Joppatowne. She was 11th fastest in the 100 dash quarterfinals in 15.17. She finished in the top 25 in the 100 and 200 (32.03) and was 31st in the 400 in 1:15.54.

Oluwatomisin Aderemi of Joppatowne placed 11th in the age-13 girls 3,000-meter race-walk in 22:54. She also threw the javelin 56-9, the discus 53-8, and the shot put 26-7.

Nick Singelakis of Forest Hill produced the top individual finish for the Harford Track Club. He placed ninth in the 1,500 for 14-year-olds in 4:24.75, and he was ninth in the 3,000 in 9:35.91.

In 15-16, Bryce Knoll of Bel Air placed 19th in the 2,000-meter steeplechase in 7:13.29. He also placed 24th in the 3,000 in 9:59.99.

Though she did not make the finals in her events, Lillian Alexander, 14, of Havre de Grace, produced an outstanding triple for the Harford Track Club -- 1:01.50 in the 400, 2:33.03 in the 800, and 14-6 1/2 in the long jump.

Other performances of the Joppatowne roadrunners included Neah Shaw’s 5:40.1 in the age-14 1,500 and 2:39.94 in the 800. Willow Borowski ran 5:56.47 in the age-10 1500; Catalina Herrera, 14:11.87 in the 3,000 in 15-16; Oluwapelumi Aderemi, 9, boys’ shot put, 14-1 3/4; and Kevin Whittington III, 10, turbo javelin, 59 feet, 1 inch.

For the Harford Track Club, Stephen Cullinan, a recent Bel Air grad, competed in the decathlon, placing 29th with marks of 114-7 in the javelin, 75-10 in the discus, 29-8 shotput, 18-6 long jump, 8-11 3/4 pole vault, 5-8 high jump, 18.59 high hurdles, 53.49 400-meter dash, 12.02 100-meter dash, and 4:52.46 1500-meter run.

Among other Harford Track Club performances: Victoria Novak, 18th place in the 15-16 girls’ 3,000 in 12:05.13 and 5:17.83 in the 1,500; Mason Smedley, 12, 11:36.24 in the 3,000 and 5:03.10 in the 1,500; Shane Ivy, 11:11.28 in the 15-16 3,000; Garrett Saboy, 11:18:11 in the age-14 3,000; Jack Hynes, 2:16.55 in the age-14 800; and Matthew Reynolds, 78-7 in the 15-16 javelin.

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