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12 Howard County athletes win gold at state indoor track and field championships

Howard County indoor track and field teams weren’t competitive in state title races at the MPSSAA indoor championships on Monday and Tuesday, but several top athletes in the county performed well at the state meets.

In total, 12 Howard County athletes won gold medals in seven different events, while 29 athletes medaled in 20 events by finishing in the top three. Eleven of the 12 Howard County teams competed Tuesday at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in the Class 3A/4A meets — 10 in 3A and one in 4A — with Reservoir’s Adaobi Tabugbo and Mt. Hebron’s Sierrah Matthews leading the way for local athletes. The top boys team from Howard County was Howard (sixth), while the top girls team was Reservoir (tied for fourth).

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Tabugbo won the 55-meter hurdles and ran the fourth leg of the Gators’ first-place finishing 4x200-meter relay. She finished nearly two-tenths of a second ahead of the second-place finisher in the 55 hurdles, crossing the finish line in 8.36 seconds.

The Reservoir track team has the best group of hurdlers in the county. The girls team has Adaobi Tabugbo, Kat Parris and Kimayah Faye, who swept the 55-meter hurdles at the Howard County indoor track and field championships, while the boys team has Okechukwu Tabugbo and Bryant Langham.

“There’s pressure on her in the hurdles,” Reservoir coach Phil Rogers said. “She’s been challenged only at the Hispanic Games. She’s running that race to win, and she did that.”

Joining Tabugbo in the relay was Sophie Davidson, Adeola Opadina and Jamie Adams to win the race with a time of 1:45.39. Her more impressive performance, though, was her leg in the 4x200 relay. She grabbed the baton from Davidson in third place and came back to defeated Franklin’s relay by three-hundredths of a second.

“Knowing Adaobi, I knew she’d come back,” said Davidson, who also finished fourth in the 55-meter dash. “She’s done it for us a bunch of times this season. I knew it was coming.”

Rogers said at this point in the season, a 200-meter sprint is long for Tabugbo, who is focused on the 55 hurdles and 55 dash.

“Her grit in the 4x200 was great,” Rogers said. “We were behind, she had to fight her way through traffic and we haven’t done a lot of volume, so a 200 for her is a long way. For her to hold that kind of speed for a 200 was awesome.”

The only other double-medalist from Howard County at the state championships on Tuesday was Matthews, who won the 300-meter dash and finished second in the 500-meter run to lead Mt. Hebron.

Matthews, who is the reigning Howard County indoor track Athlete of the Year, defeated Franklin’s Jasmine Johnson by half a second in the 300. Johnson, however, later beat Matthews by one-thousandth of a second in the 500.

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“It feels great to win the 300,” Matthews said. “I’m glad to be out here, and I’m blessed to be able to have another opportunity to get better.”

Three other Howard County athletes won gold medals on Tuesday — River Hill’s Janasia Buckner (girls 55-meter dash) and Anish Nanjappa (boys 3,200-meter run) and Howard’s Collin Greene (shot put).

The Resevoir and Mt. Hebron girls teams and the Oakland Mills boys team represented Howard County at the 3A East region meet at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

Buckner had the second fastest seed time in the 55 dash, but the sophomore edged out Oxon Hill’s Savannah Wright by two-hundredths of a second to win gold. Buckner set her personal record by crossing the finish line in 7.21 seconds.

“(She) had a faster (seed) time than me, but I enter each race with a mindset of winning,” Buckner said. “The start and the drive phase are key for me in the 55. Then I just let the rest of the race happen.”

For the Hawks’ boys team, Nanjappa edged out Centennial’s Jacob Cole by nearly two seconds. Nanjappa, who is the two-time defending Howard County boys cross country Runner of the Year, said his time of 9:33 is a few seconds off his goal time and that he got away from his game plan in the middle of the race.

“I feel like (the other runners) all conceded behind me and didn’t push the pace or try to take over, so it was hard to keep the pace I wanted to,” Nanjappa said. “But then Jake Cole almost caught me on that last lap. But it’s a state title, so I’m still happy about it.”

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Cole has worked to close the gap between he and Nanjappa this season, and finishing only two seconds behind the Hawks’ star is the closest he’s gotten.

“I used to think he was a monster that no one could run with, and it means a lot that I can compete with him,” Cole said. “… His racing style is very aggressive. I just have to try to stick on his back. I got a little closer today, and I was happy with that.”

Leading the way for Howard in Class 4A was senior shot putter Collin Greene. The Naval Academy commit finished first with a throw of 55 feet, 11.5 inches, which was more than two feet better than any other thrower. The distance is Greene’s personal best and is the new Howard High School record.

Howard shot putters Collin Greene, Christopher Joseph and CJ Marthins are excelling for the Lions indoor track and field team.

“After his second throw he was in third place, so it was a little dicey,” said Howard coach Tyler Wade. “Then he took first on his third throw, and he never let it up. He knew he had won it going into his last throw, and he didn’t hold back. He cranked it, and that thing really soared.”

Joining Greene in the shot put circle for the Lions were Christopher Joseph and CJ Marthins, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Joseph set a new personal record with a distance of 49-02.75.

Howard’s girls team was led by distance runners Amanda Eliker and Nimrit Ahuja. The two runners placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run. The both finished in 5:11.

“For Amanda and Nimrit to both break the school record of 5:13 is awesome,” said Howard coach Zack Dickerson. “They ran a really smart race.”

The Howard boys and girls indoor track and field teams swept the Howard County championships on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.

The most impressive performance from a Howard County athlete, however, may have been from someone who didn’t win his event. Centennial’s Antonio Camacho-Bucks outran his seed time in the 1,600-meter run by nearly nine seconds to finish in second place. The freshman finished the race in 4:22.76 — barely behind Chopticon star Zachary Wedding (4:22.62).

“The last lap, I knew I just had to push it,” Camacho-Bucks said. “I was just trying to move my legs as fast as I could. I was so close.”

Centennial coach Kevin McCoy said Camacho-Bucks proved his talent at the end of cross country season by placing sixth at the 3A state meet. He was sick at regionals, but McCoy said he was clearly healthy on Tuesday. His time of 4:22.62 is the fastest 1,600-meter time of any freshman in the country, though not every state has indoor track and field.

“He was sick going into the region meet, so the goal was to just qualify for the big dance and see what happens,” McCoy said. “That was really impressive.”

The Cavaliers edged Harford Tech 46-45.5 to capture their program’s first state championship. The victory also marked the sixth time a Carroll County girls team has won a state crown.

Another impressive second-place finish on Tuesday was from River Hill’s Faith Meininger. The distance runner was injured for cross county season with a shin injury and recently returned. She took home a silver medal in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:11. She nearly caught up to Northern-Calvert’s Oakley Olson, who won the race by a little more than a second.

Teams like Atholton’s girls and Oakland Mills’ boys didn’t have any winners but still had athletes with solid showings. Aanchal Kasargod (3,200-meter run) and Madison Garrigus (pole vault) both won bronze medals for the Raiders, while the Scorpions’ 4x800-meter relay team of Andrew Bray, Andrew Mayhew, Marcus Gibson and Baidy Ba placed third.

The lone Howard County team not to compete Tuesday was Glenelg, which is in Class 2A and took part in the state meet on Monday. The Gladiators brought home one gold medal from the meet, with their girls 4x800 relay winning with a time of 10:03.

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The relay team of Meredith Arterburn, Hope Wilmeth, Kaila Spence and Katie Melesko edged out Oakdale’s relay by six-hundredths of a second. The only other Gladiator to win a medal was Spence, who finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:23.70.

With the indoor season over, the track teams will now focus on the outdoor season. McCoy said the indoor season prevents a series of challenges for athletes, and he’s “proud” of the kids who overcome them to make it to the state meet.

“I can’t give it to these kids enough, because indoor is so hard,” he said. “There are two huge breaks you have to deal with — Thanksgiving and winter break. You have to go through both of those. Then, it’s cold, it’s dark and it’s always raining or snowing. I’m super proud of these kids to get here and do well today.”

RESULTS

Howard County team results:

Class 4A

Girls: T-12. Howard 18.

Boys: 6. Howard 24.

Class 3A

Girls: T-4. Reservoir 35, 7. Mt. Hebron 27, 9. River Hill 23, T-10. Atholton 19, 24. Centennial 5, 26. Long Reach 4.

Boys: T-9. Centennial 20, 11. Oakland Mills 18, 13. River Hill 17, T-14. Reservoir 15, T-16. Long Reach 12, 18. Mt. Hebron 11, T-21. Hammond 8, T-28. Wilde Lake 3.

Class 2A

Girls: 10. Glenelg 21.

Boys: T-23. 5.

Individual Howard County results (top eight):

Class 4A

Girls:

800-meter run: 4. Nimrit Ahuja, Howard, 2:24.92.

1,600-meter run: 3. Amanda Eliker, Howard, 5:11; 4. Nimrit Ahuja, Howard, 5:11.

Pole vault: 7. Abigail Dua, Howard, 7-00.

Boys:

1,600-meter run: 7. Kendall Phillips, Howard, 4:35.

3,200-meter run: 7. Kendall Phillips, Howard, 9:49.

4x200-meter relay: 6. Howard (Reese Jamison, Ethan Mitchell, Ibrahim Khairat, Jayo Adegboyo), 1:34.46.

Shot put: 1. Collin Greene, Howard, 55-11.50; 5. Christopher Joseph, Howard, 49-02.75; 6. CJ Marthins, Howard, 45-08.50.

Class 3A

Girls:

55-meter dash: 1. Janasia Buckner, River Hill, :07.21; 4. Sophie Davidson, Reservoir, :07.38; 7. Adaobi Tabugbo, Reservoir, :07.53.

55-meter hurdles: 1. Adaobi Tabugbo, Reservoir, :08.36; 4. Kimayah Faye, Reservoir, :08.71; 5. Tajah Martin-Palmer, Long Reach, :08.72; 6. Kat Parris, Reservoir, :08.73.

300-meter dash: 1. Sierrah Matthews, Mt. Hebron, :40.69.

500-meter run: 2. Sierrah Matthews, Mt. Hebron, 1:17.64.

1,600-meter run: 2. Faith Meininger, River Hill, 5:11; 4. Katerina Talanova, Centennial, 5:12.

3,200-meter run: 3. Aanchal Kasargod, Atholton, 11:41.

4x200-meter relay: 1. Reservoir (Jamie Adams, Adeola Opadina, Sophie Davidson, Adaobi Tabugbo), 1:45.39; 4. Mt. Hebron (Sierrah Matthews, Garcelle Pierre, Jordan Foster, Meghan Porter), 1:46.37; 5. River Hill (Janasia Buckner, Chelsea Baker, Larasia Buckner, Araoluwa Omitowoju), 1:46.60.

4x400-meter relay: 5. Mt. Hebron (Garcelle Pierre, Sierrah Matthews, Natalie Lewis, Meghan Porter), 4:10.

4x800-meter relay: 6. Atholton (Isha Santhosh, Katherine Morris, Sara Carlisle, Aanchal Kasargod); 8. River Hill (Katherine Kitzinger, Chloe McGeehan, Mackenzie Cooper, Cynthia Xi), 10:11.

Pole vault: 3. Madison Garrigus, Atholton, 10-08.

Boys:

55-meter dash: 4. Ayomide Agbayewa, Reservoir, :06.59.

55-meter hurdles: 2. Loick Amouzou, Hammond, :07.57; 5. Isiah Rucker, Oakland Mills, :07.97.

300-meter dash: 3. Djavan White, Long Reach, :35.91; 8. Justin Evans, Mt. Hebron, :36.79.

500-meter run: 5. Justin Evans, Mt. Hebron, 1:08.56; 6. Thomas Altman, Centennial, 1:08.59; 7. Julian Vissering, Reservoir, 1:08.99.

800-meter run: 4. Anish Nanjappa, River Hill, 1:59.42; 7. William Jones, Mt. Hebron, 2:02.38; 8. Evan Kocsis, Mt. Hebron, 2:03.42.

1,600-meter run: 2. Antonio Camacho-Bucks, Centennial, 4:22; 3. Cameron Hindle, Long Reach, 4:23.

3,200-meter run: 1. Anish Nanjappa, River Hill, 9:33; 2. Jacob Cole, Centennial, 9:35; 6. Jacob Hauf, Mt. Hebron, 9:59.

4x200-meter relay: 4. Reservoir (Ayomide Agbayewa, Chi Aoe Awanto, Dakota Mayfield, Dylan Bradford), 1:33.79.

4x400-meter relay: 4. Oakland Mills (Isiah Rucker, Christopher Evans, Josh Whitaker, Rahsaan Foster), 3:30; 6. Reservoir (Dylan Bradford, Julian Vissering, Collin Carter, Vincent Stevens), 3:33.

4x800-meter relay: 3. Oakland Mills (Andrew Bray, Andrew Mayhew, Marcus Gibson, Baidy Ba), 8:24; 7. River Hill (Bryce Handa, Bradley Hoffman, Awais Khan, Darren McGowan), 8:27.

Shot put: 8. Jack Ragonese, Centennial, 45-08.25.

High jump: 6. Rahsaan Foster, 6-00.

Pole Vault: T-5. Thomas McCoy, Wilde Lake, 12-00.

Class 2A

Girls:

800-meter run: 2. Kaila Spence, Glenelg, 2:23.70.

1,600-meter run: 8. Alexis Shumate, Glenelg, 5:34.

4x200-meter relay: 7. Glenelg (Sarah Johnson, Jessica Bradford, Bailey Allmon, Sage Huber), 1:50.35.

4x800-meter relay: 1. Glenelg (Meredith Arterburn, Hope Wilmeth, Kaila Spence, Katie Melesko), 10:03.

Boys:

4x400-meter relay: 7. Glenelg (Arya Vahdatshaar, Matthew Finnan, Matt Leavitt, Everett Stimler), 3:37.

4x800-meter relay: 6. Glenelg (Timothy Cherry, Dylan Jock, Matt Leavitt, Matthew Finnan).

STATE QUALIFIERS

In total, 142 athletes from Howard County qualified for the state meet in 121 different events. On the girls side, 65 HoCo athletes qualified in 59 events, while 77 boys qualified in 62 events.

Here’s every Howard County athlete who qualified for states, broken down by school:

Atholton

Girls: Morgan Nasir (300), Katherine Morris (800), Aanchal Kasargod (3,200), 4x800 relay (Isha Santhosh, Morris, Sara Carlisle, Kasargod), Madison Garrigus (PV).

Boys: 4x800 relay (Justin Werner, Shane O’Brien, Sean Powell, Matt McDonald), Miguel Moran (SP).

Centennial

Girls: Katerina Talanova (800, 1,600), Sara Jurkovic (3,200), 4x400 relay (Charlotte Pilcher, Amaiya Brickhouse, Danielle Koerner, Cherakie Pierre), Avery Powers (PV).

Boys: Thomas Altman (500), Antonio Camacho-Bucks (800, 1,600), Jacob Cole (3,200), 4x200 relay (David Leadbetter, Murtaaz Malik, Zachary Garwacki, Altman), Atharv Ananth (PV), Jack Ragonese (SP).

Glenelg

Girls: Jessica Bradford (55), Sage Huber (55), Sarah Johnson (55), Kaila Spence (800), Alexis Shumate (1,600), 4x200 relay (Johnson, Bradford, Bailey Allmon, Huber), 4x400 relay (Huber, Katie Melesko, Meredith Arterburn, Spence), 4x800 relay (Arterburn, Hope Wilmeth, Spence, Melesko).

Boys: Grant Smith (55H), 4x200 relay (Arya Vahdatshaar, Everett Stimler, Ian Higgins, Matt Leavitt), 4x400 relay (Vahdatshaar, Matthew Finnan, Leavitt, Stimler), 4x800 relay (Timothy Cherry, Dylan Jock, Leavitt, Finnan).

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Hammond

Girls: Morgan Lane (300), 4x200 relay (Lane, Jasmine King, Zoe Miranda, Kirstin Williams).

Boys: Loick Amouzou (55H), 4x200 relay (Talib Pierre, Chase Johnson, Tayshawn Yates, Amouzou).

Howard

Girls: Nimrit Ahuja (800, 1,600), Amanda Eliker (1,600, 3,200), Emily Gorny (1,600), Jasmine Wilson (3,200), Sara Kindbom (3,200), 4x800 relay (Gorny, Wilson, Ella Werdell, Eliker), Ruth Smith (HJ), Emma Marthins (HJ), Anna Mmari (HJ), Abigail Dua (PV).

Boys: Jayo Adegboyo (55), Kendall Phillips (1,600, 3,200), Jakob Werdell (3,200), Ibrahim Khairat (HJ), 4x200 relay (Reese Jamison, Ethan Mitchell, Khairat, Adegboyo), Nathanael Menk (HJ), Zach Pamukcoglu (PV), Collin Greene (SP), Christopher Joseph (SP), CJ Marthins (SP).

Long Reach

Girls: Tajah Martin-Palmer (55H).

Boys: Djavan White (300), Cameron Hindle (800, 1,600), Christopher Bowens (PV).

Marriotts Ridge

Girls: N/A

Boys: Grayson Max Crockett (3,200)

Mt. Hebron

Girls: Sierrah Matthews (300, 500), Lara Abedin (500, 800), 4x200 relay (Matthews, Garcelle Pierre, Jordan Foster, Meghan Porter), 4x400 relay (Pierre, Matthews, Natalie Lewis, Abedin), Maison Holcomb (PV), Kaylee Kim (PV).

Boys: Justin Evans (300, 500), Evan Kocsis (500, 800), William Jones (800), Jacob Hauf (3,200), 4x400 relay (Evans, Zion Holmes, John Pitt, Kocsis), 4x800 relay (Ryan Ververs, Connor Croft, Nicholas Snyder, Hauf).

Oakland Mills

Girls: Ella Harris (3,200), Rosalie Rosenberg (PV).

Boys: Christopher Evans (55, 300), Baidy Ba (800, 3,200), Isiah Rucker (55H), 4x200 relay (Malachi Rogers, Evans, Rucker, Quincy Julien), 4x400 relay (Rucker, Evans, John Tatum IV, Rahsaan Foster), 4x800 relay (Andrew Bray, Andrew Mayhew, Marcus Gibson, Ba), Alex Kohn (HJ), Rahsaan Foster (HJ).

Reservoir

Girls: Sophie Davidson (55), Adaobi Tabugbo (55, 55H), Jamie Adams (300), Kat Parris (55H), Kimayah Faye (55H), 4x200 relay (Adams, Adeola Opadina, Davidson, Tabugbo), Laiya Saunders (HJ), Prisila Alfaro (PV).

Boys: Jalen Jasmin (55), Ayomide Agbayewa (55), Julian Vissering (500, 800), Okechukwu Tabugbo (55H), 4x200 relay (Agbayewa, Chi Aoe Awanto, Dakota Mayfield, Dylan Bradford), 4x400 relay (Bradford, Vissering, Collin Carter, Vincent Stevens), 4x800 relay (Carter, Elliott Pochettino, Vissering, Stevens).

River Hill

Girls: Janasia Buckner (55), Araoluwa Omitowoju (55), Faith Meininger (800, 1,600), 4x200 relay (Buckner, Chelsea Baker, Larasia Buckner, Omitwoju), 4x800 relay (Katherine Kitzinger, Chloe McGeehan, Mackenzie Cooper, Cynthia Xi).

Boys: Anish Nanjappa (800, 3,200), 4x800 relay (Joshua Galindo, Bryce Handa, Bradley Hoffman, Nanjappa).

Wilde Lake

Girls: Brooke Weinig (PV).

Boys: William Tripp (3,200), Thomas McCoy (PV).

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