Oakland Mills runners Judson Lincoln IV, Isiah Rucker and Baidy Ba knew what happened Saturday at River Hill was possible.
The three runners — a sprinter, a hurdler and a harrier — were all favored to win events at the Howard County outdoor track and field championships, but doing it against a talented field of boys runners wouldn’t be easy.
Throughout the day, however, Lincoln, Rucker and Ba did make it look easy, combining for seven individual gold medals and an additional first-place finish in a relay event to create a virtually insurmountable lead for the Scorpions after Day 2 of the championships.
“Me and Baidy and Isiah, we all know we’re the top of the county in our events, and it was ours to lose for this county,” said Lincoln. “We knew coming in [the three of us] had to win and get a couple other places to win this.”
The Oakland Mills boys team has a 70-point lead over Howard after Day 2 with four field events remaining. While the Lions tend to dominate the field events, it’s unlikely they’re able to mount a 70-point comeback when those events are completed next week.
“It went as well on the track today as it could have gone for us,” said Oakland Mills coach Chris Brewington. “We’re hitting on all cylinders right now, and it’s a great feeling to see these guys come out and pull this off.”
“Coach instilled in us that we have the chance to do great things this school year,” Ba said. “We put in that work...but we aren’t going to take anything for granted. We know we have something special here, and we’re going to take this as far as we can.”
Normally a two-day meet, the championships this season were impacted by weather.
Day 1 on Wednesday was shortened due to thunder delays, which pushed multiple events, including the 3,200-meter run, to Saturday. Then, rain on Friday and Saturday led to the postponement of the 10 remaining field events to another date, possibly Saturday, June 5. Team county champions won’t be crowned until those events are completed.
“Oakland Mills was great today,” said Howard coach Zack Dickerson. “It’s going to be them [as champions], and congrats and hats off to them. They ran fantastic today, and they earned that.”
While Howard’s boys team is in second behind the Scorpions, the Lions’ girls squad performed well through the first two days and leads Reservoir by 41 points.
The top performer of the day was Lincoln.
The star junior was the meet’s lone quadruple-winner, finishing first in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as the 4x400-meter relay.
He narrowly won the 100 (11.16 seconds) and 200 (22.83 seconds) ahead of Glenelg’s Ian Higgins. In the 100, he beat Higgins by four-hundredths of a second, while topping the Gladiators sprinter by 15-hundredths of a second in the 200. Lincoln’s 400-meter performance, however, was his most impressive, finishing in a personal-best 49.4 seconds — nearly two seconds ahead of any other runner.
“He’s incredible. Very few people have done this triple [100, 200 and 400] and pulled it off, and he did it in a dominating fashion,” Brewington said. “... But he doesn’t settle. He’ll run a time and then say it’s not good enough. He always finds a way to motivate himself, and the guys feed off that.”
Rucker, meanwhile, dominated the hurdling events, winning the 110 hurdles by almost two seconds and the 300 hurdles by nearly four seconds. He also ran the first leg of the Scorpions’ 4x400-meter relay, alongside Lincoln, Ba and John Tatum IV.
“The key for me is just taking my time and focusing,” Rucker said on the hurdles. “I have the training for it, and I just need to focus on my technique and incorporate my speed.”
The boys events at River Hill started and ended the same way — with Ba winning a gold medal.
The cross country star, who also has track bonafides, won the 3,200 in the morning and then ended the meet by running the final leg of the Scorpions’ gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay. His 9:11 time in the 3,200 — as well as Long Reach senior Cameron Hindle’s time of 9:12 — broke the county meet record of 9:15.
Ba also won the 800-meter run in between the two-mile and the relay, giving him three gold medals. The senior didn’t compete in the 1,600, which he likely would have at least placed in, because of the delay on Day 1 that pushed the two distance races to the same day.
It’s rare for a runner to both have the endurance to be a cross country champion, as he was this past spring by winning the county title, and the sprint speed capable of winning the 800 and running a fast leg of a 4x400 relay.
“His range is incredible,” said Brewington. “You’ve got a guy who just split 51.5 [seconds in the 400-meter] but also runs 14:50 in the 5K. He’s rare. You don’t come across kids like him. He’s a once-in-a-generation talent.”
In total, the Scorps won nine of the 12 track events, with the other gold medal going to Trevin McHargh, Quincy Julien, Kanye Holland and Shane King in the 4x200 relay.
The gold medals were more spread out on the girls side, with four runners from four different schools finishing first in multiple events with at least one individual gold medal.
The top girls performer was Nimrit Ahuja, who had a similar day as Ba.
Ahuja, one of the top runners for the Lions’ dominant cross country team, showed her stamina and determination by winning both the mile and two-mile, which were run only two hours apart. Both races, littered with talented distance runners, had a pack of five girls at the front until the final lap, when Ahuja went into another gear to win the races. She finished the 3,200 in 11:28 and the 1,600 in 5:11.
“With a lap to go, you just have to give it everything you’ve got,” Ahuja said. “... There is some anxiety there, because the distance group in Howard County is so amazing. But having faith in the times I ran earlier this season and knowing that nothing is ever out of reach keeps me in the game.”
In all three races, Ahuja either distanced herself or made up ground on the last 400 meters to win the race.
“She was very impressive. I’m so proud of her,” said Dickerson. “She has a lot of leg speed. Her range from the 200/400 all the way up to the 5K in cross country is impressive. She has the ability to sit a little bit in that last 400, knowing she has it in her.”
The other double-winners who won at least one individual event were River Hill’s Araoluwa Omitowoju, Mt. Hebron’s Sameena Mathew and Reservoir’s Kat Parris.
Omitowoju narrowly won the 100-meter dash (12.70 seconds) over Mt. Hebron’s Garcelle Pierre and teammate Janasia Buckner. Then, at the end of the meet, Omitowoju, Buckner, Teniola Adejana and Larasia Buckner teamed up to win the 4x100 relay in 50.97 seconds.
Mathew, who won the 200 and 400, represented the exciting youth of some of the county’s top sprinters. Mathew, Atholton’s Farah Nasir and Howard’s Dakota West — the top three finishers, respectively, in the 400 — are all freshmen. Mathew won the 400 by nearly two-tenths of a second over Nasir and the 200 by eight-hundredths of a second over the Atholton youngster.
“We’ve been on the same team and we’ve been friends since we were 5 years old,” Mathew said of Nasir and West. “It’s really amazing to run and compete against them and push each other to run our best.”
West would later go on to add two gold medals as a member of Howard’s 4x200- and 4x400-meter relay teams on top of her bronze in the 400-meter dash. Howard’s Michaela Greene also won two golds on those same relays, while Hayley Long was a member of the Lions’ first-place finishing 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Parris, meanwhile, represents experience among the girls runners. The senior, who has medaled before in the hurdling events, won both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles to continue the Gators’ dominance in the event.
“For the 100, the key is focusing on my start. My start is what sets me up, and I attack the hurdles,” said Parris, who is also a star soccer player for Reservoir. “For the 300, it’s a different mindset, but since the distance is longer, it takes a lot more strength in the legs, which I think soccer has helped me with.”
Glenelg’s Kaila Spence (800-meter run) and Centennial’s Antonio Camacho-Bucks (1,600) also won individual gold medals.
Camacho-Bucks’ victory was one of the most thrilling of the day. Mt. Hebron’s William Jones led for much of the race. Approaching the final 200-meter market, Centennial’s Fernando Duraes made a move on the inside, and the two runners collided. Both were disqualified.
After the collision, Camacho-Bucks and Howard’s Joseph Raudabaugh battled it out, with the Eagles sophomore winning by a little more than a tenth of a second. Raudabaugh also finished second behind Ba in the 800 by only five-hundredths of a second and ran the final leg of the Lions’ gold-medal winning 4x800-meter relay on Day 1.
1. Oakland Mills 130.5; 2. Howard 60.5; 3. Reservoir 52; T-4. Mt. Hebron 42; T-4. Atholton 42; 6. Centennial 39; 7. Long Reach 38; 8. Glenelg 35; 9. River Hill 28; 10. Marriotts Ridge 22; 11. Hammond 15; 12. Wilde Lake 3.
1. Howard 113; 2. Reservoir 72; 3. Mt. Hebron 69; 4. Glenelg 61; 5. Oakland Mills 54; 6. River Hill 52; 7. Atholton 34; 8. Centennial 21; 9. Marriotts Ridge 12; 10. Wilde Lake 9; 11. Long Reach 5; 12. Hammond 3.
100: 1. Judson Lincoln IV, Oakland Mills, :11.16; 2. Ian Higgins, Glenelg, :11.20; 3. Jaylen Myers, Long Reach, :11.35.
200: 1. Lincoln, :22.83; 2. Higgins, :22.98; 3. Justin Evans, Mt. Hebron, :23.12.
400: 1. Lincoln, :49.4; 2. Julian Vissering, Reservoir, :51.39; 3. Evans, :51.4.
110 hurdles: 1. Isiah Rucker, Oakland Mills, :15.09; 2. Okechukwu Tabugbo, Reservoir, :17.06; 3. Jaylen Griffin, Hammond, :17.10.
300 hurdles: 1. Rucker, :41.32; 2. Alexander Thompson, River Hill, :45.13; 3. Kendall Phillips, Howard, :46.02.
800: 1. Baidy Ba, Oakland Mills, 1:54.8; 2. Joseph Raudabaugh, Howard, 1:54.85; 3. Fernando Duraes, Centennial, 1:56.87.
1,600: 1. Antonio Camacho-Bucks, Centennial, 4:16.19; 2. Raudabaugh, 4:16.30; 3. Sebastian Martinez, Centennial, 4:22.66.
3,200: 1. Ba, 9:11; 2. Cameron Hindle, Long Reach, 9:12; 3. Jacob Cole, Centennial, 9:30.
4x100: 1. Atholton (Joshua Ruley, Jamel Mins, Darian Tarver, Andre’ Richmond), :43.83; 2. Oakland Mills (Trevin McHargh, Quincy Julien, Malachi Rogers, Shane King) :43.87; 3. Reservoir (Myles Harrington, Jalen Booth-Mitchell, Dylan Bradford, Noah Connor), :44.37.
4x200: 1. Oakland Mills (McHargh, Julien, Kanye Holland, Shane King), 1:32; 2. Reservoir (Harrington, Booth-Mitchell, Bradford, Samuel Akinrebiyo), 1:34; 3. Atholton (Mins, Ruley, Harlem Morton, Jemeel Mbure), 1:35.
4x400: 1. Oakland Mills (Rucker, Lincoln, John Tatum IV, Ba), 3:27; 2. Mt. Hebron (Jason Taylor, Evans, Aaron Abedin, William Jones), 3:29; 3. Glenelg (Everett Stimler, Timothy Cherry, Ifabisi Owens, Higgins), 3:32.
4x800: 1. Howard (Phillips, Eian Butler, Robbie Ryerson, Raudabaugh), 7:56; 2. Centennial (Martinez, Connor Brennan, Duraes, Camacho-Bucks), 7:57; 3. Marriotts Ridge (Max Crockett, Brian Lau, Joseph Larson, Michael Wade), 8:17.
High jump: 1. Adrian Nwakalor, Atholton, 6 feet-0 inches; 2. Abdur Hassan, Oakland Mills, 5-10; 3. Aki Harvey, Oakland Mills, 5-8.
*Shot put, discus, long jump, triple jump and pole vault events are expected to occur on June 5.
100: 1. Araoluwa Omitowoju, River Hill, :12.7; 2. Garcelle, Pierre, Mt. Hebron, :12.75; 3. Janasia Buckner, River Hill, :12.78.
200: 1. Sameena Mathew, Mt. Hebron, :26.25; 2. Farah Nasir, Atholton, :26.33; 3. Pierre, :26.51.
400: 1. Mathew, :57.51, 2. Nasir, :57.69; 3. Dakota West, Howard, 1:02.23.
100 hurdles: 1. Kat Parris, Reservoir, :16.33; 2. Jannah Hall, Reservoir, :16.5; 3. Arayana Ladson, Mt. Hebron, :16.62.
300 hurdles: 1. Parris, :48.11; 2. Ladson, :49.89; 3. Susan Shollenberger, Glenelg, :50.79.
800: 1. Kaila Spence, Glenelg, 2:20; 2. Kailey Kasbeer-Betty, Glenelg, 2:22; 3. Katerina Talanova, Centennial, 2:24.
1,600: 1. Nimrit Ahuja, Howard, 5:11; 2. Spence, 5:12; 3. Talanova, 5:12.
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3,200: 1. Ahuja, 11:28; 2. Ella Harris, Oakland Mills, 11:36; 3. Sara Kindbom, Howard, 11:38.
4x100: 1. River Hill (Larasia Buckner, J. Buckner, Teniola Adejana, Omitowoju), :50.97; 2. Reservoir (Sophie Davidson, Mecca Jackson, Breyonna Young, Jamie Adams), :51.13; 3. Howard (Faith Kandie, Olivia Hammond, Tahlea Murray, Kiara Murray).
4x200: 1. Howard (Michaela Greene, Hammond, West, K. Murray), 1:46; 2. Reservoir (Adams, Davidson, Katelyn Herberholz, Margot Laughner), 1:50; 3. Oakland Mills (Arianna Marshall, Aliya Murray, Desiree Chisholm, Alana Oppermann), 1:50.
4x400: 1. Howard (Hayley Long, Ahuja, Greene, West), 4:11; 2. Mt. Hebron (Mathew, Pierre, Ava Pierre, Alexandra Carrico), 4:13; 3. Oakland Mills (Oba Aofolaju, Olivia Porter, Marshall, Oppermann), 4:24.
4x800: 1. Howard (Long, Kiley Mann, Elizabeth Holcombe, Hannah Schwab), 9:40; 2. Glenelg (Kasbeer-Betty, Sierra Rohmann, Kara Rivenbark, Spence), 9:48; 3. Oakland Mills (Harris, Marina Blackman, Lily Decker, Frankie Moore), 10:25.
Pole vault: 1. Rosalie Rosenberg, Oakland Mills, 8-6; 2. Oliva Struble, Atholton, 8-0; 3. Kristin Eckart, Howard, 8-00.
*Shot put, discus, long jump, triple jump and and high jump events are expected to occur on June 5.