With the temperature scorching near the high 90's at the start of the 1A/2A outdoor track and field state championships Thursday at Morgan State University, Oakland Mills senior Brit Lang wasn't sure what time she'd run in the 3,200-meters.
Luckily, by the time she stepped on to the track clouds started rolling above Hughes Stadium and she was ready for another solid outing and possibly a state championship.
"Honestly I wasn't sure. I ran that 10:43 at the county championship – I know I had it in me but with the heat I was going into the day and I wasn't expecting any certain time, because I knew everybody was going to have to deal with the same weather affects," Lang said shortly after winning a 2A state title with a time of 10 minutes and 48.41 seconds. "I wasn't really focusing too much on the time. I was just mostly focusing on the competition that I had. When I saw that I was still able to pull a time like that in a day with this kind of heat, I was just really, really excited I was able to do that."
Lang led for the entire race, but was closely trailed by Easton's Kathryn Gearhart and Catoctin's Julien Webster through the first four laps, but after rounding the last half-mile it was between Gearhart and Lang, who had distanced themselves from the rest of the pack.
"While I was running I was just being a little conservative just because of the heat I didn't know how it was going to affect me," Lang said. "I was just kind of running and pushing and I could tell she wasn't going anywhere for a while so I wasn't going to completely push and then die. I was just kind of running and working and then with 800 to go I normally surge a little bit, just picked up the pace with half a mile."
It wasn't close for long. Lang kicked in another gear and handily came away with the first-place finish, ultimately beating Gearhart – who took second – by more than six seconds.
"With 600 to go I kind of took off," Lang recalled. "I honestly didn't know where she was at that point. She could have been right behind me, she could have been 50-meters back – I had no idea. I was just running for my life with 600 to go. I had no idea where she was going to be, so I kind of finished the best I could."
The win was extra special for Lang, who hadn't won a state title since fall of her freshman year in cross country. And as illustrious as her varsity career has been, it came full-circle to some degree Thursday, as she claimed a state championship four years later in her last high school meet.
"It's just a really great feeling," Lang added. "It's just cool because I haven't won since cross country my freshman year, so I got to win my first state meet and my last. So it was just a cool little thing that I had there.
Lang still has two more events left on Saturday, running in both the 800- and 1,600-meter races.
"The mile is going to be a little challenging and the 800 has a few good girls as well," she said. "I'm just going into the same as today, just kind of focusing on the heat factor and just really focusing on my competition and staying with them."
Oakland Mills' Joey Navarro and Marriotts Ridge's Ibrahim Jirdeh both raced in the boy's 3,200 final Thursday, with Jirdeh edging Navarro for sixth place with a time of 9 minutes and 58.02, while Navorro finished in 9 minutes and 58.76 seconds.
The Mustangs raced in both 4x800-meter relay and finished seventh overall on both the boy's and girl's side. The Scorpions had been the favorites heading into the season in the boys 4x8, having won the indoor state championship this winter and placing first at the Howard County championships earlier this month as well, but was disqualified during the 2A West regions and did not make states.
Oakland Mills' Lauren Wood (triple jump) and Marriotts Ridge's Nicholas Rosen (shot put) were the only two other Howard County athletes who competed in a final Thursday, as Wood finished ninth overall and Rosen seventh.
Mustangs senior Micah Meekins qualified for both the 100 and 200-meter dashes, while the Scorpions' Cameron Vereen (100 meter dash) and Andre Turay (110-meter hurdles) will both run in Saturday's final in their respective events.