Brit Lang finished how she started.
After opening her career at Oakland Mills with a cross country state championship as a freshman, the Scorpions' four-year standout runner fittingly ended her final season with the orange and black this spring with another state crown — an outdoor track state title in the 3,200. With it, she tied a bow on one of the most accomplished running careers in program history.
"It was definitely really special to get that second one the way that I did, just because I started my whole high school career with one and throughout the years, because of the competition and different injuries and stuff, I was never able to get it again," Lang said. "It's something I've been striving for since I got it early on, so it was definitely relieving and really, really exciting that I was able to accomplish that at my last track meet for Oakland Mills."
After pushing through an injury plagued sophomore season and then once again establishing herself as one of the county's best her junior campaign, this year, as a senior, Lang went out as the top runner in the county.
She concluded the fall with a county title in cross country and a second-place finish at states, earning her Howard County Runner of the Year honors. In the winter, she earned a 2A East regional championship in the 500-meter race, along with three second-place finishes in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, which she then built on with two more silver medals at states (500 and 1,600).
And finally this spring she ended her career in notorious fashion. Lang was the only Howard County athlete to qualify for an individual event at Penn Relays and while there, finished 18th overall with a time of 10 minutes, 2 seconds in the 3,000-meter race. She then set a new county record in the 3,200 a few weeks later at the county championship meet at Long Reach High School, cementing her name in the record books.
And then, after four years separating her last state championship title, Lang crossed first in the two-mile race during the 2A state championships — finishing six seconds faster than the second-place runner.
"My freshman year I got the state title but after that I kind of blew my leg out after that meet, so my indoor and outdoor seasons my freshman year they weren't anything super special. My junior year went pretty well too, but this year it was just consistent all the way through," said Lang, who is the Howard County Times/Columbia Flier girls outdoor track and field Athlete of the Year. "I was just running really great times. I was placing well in all my events. So yeah, this year I definitely finished off strong and that made it the most memorable for me."
"It's so hard to win … and in the sport of running it's hard, there's only one winner per day typically and then to do it actually at the highest level in your state … you just never know who is going to be in your race," said Scorpions coach Phil Lang. "I guess the last couple years some of the really best in the state of Maryland have been in 2A on the girls distance side, but Brit has been a part of that and she's excited to be mentioned in the same conversation with some of those other girls. It's been probably good for her to be challenging herself knowing that there's plenty of competition at the next level."
Ironically, heading into the season, Brit Lang was focused more on the shorter distance races, especially after excelling at the 500- and 800-meters during the indoor season. It wasn't until she thought about re-submitting her name for Penn Relays that she put more emphasis on the two-mile race.
"We are really big into Penn Relays. My dad's worked up there forever, so it's just something that's been really special to us," Brit Lang said. "So my junior year I submitted for an individual event in the mile, because that was my best individual event I had, (but) I didn't get accepted into it. So then when senior year came around and I wanted to submit again, I hadn't run a faster mile time, so I didn't see a reason in submitting the same time again. … So we kind of decided to go for the two-mile play just to see if I'd have a better shot there."
She was accepted and it turned out to be a turning point in her season. She ran remarkably at Penn Relays, getting what was a personal best mark at that point. When she saw her conversion time from the 3,000 to the 3,200-meters, Lang realized she might have a shot at the county-record time in the two-mile, which was set in 2007 by Mt. Hebron alumna Liz McCarter.
"Running at Penn — it's definitely something special. It's not something that everyone gets to do. The fact that I did get accepted it did give me a lot of confidence," Brit Lang explained. "I was in that pack with all those other girls that were just so talented and everything. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence and motivation in my training as well. I wanted to go there and obviously I wanted to run really well. I definitely noticed a difference in my training mentality and everything – once I got accepted there it kind of influenced me for the rest of the season just to really be confident and strong.
"I definitely ran a really, really strong race. The time I qualified with, I ran like four seconds faster, so it was a PR at the time – I couldn't see the race going any better than it did."
She quickly set a new personal mark nine days later at the county championships.
During the 3,200-meter race, she got out in front from the opening gun and established herself well ahead of the pack right away. Lang crossed with a new county time of 10:43.99, surpassing McCarter's old mark by more than five seconds.
"There's certainly been pressure on Brit the last few years because me and Vicki have been around the running community for some time, helping out and racing our selves. Brit's older sister was a four-time county champ her self and had a pretty decent in college and everything and I think a lot of people were expecting a lot from Brit," Phil Lang said. "In a lot of ways it's a neat feeling, but in a lot of ways it adds a lot of pressure too. I'm glad she was able to manage it however she did, but certainly now that it's over her name will be printed there in the program – at least next year. Records are meant to be broken they say, but I'm sure people will be wondering who will be the next Brit Lang? Who is going to get to chase down the record? It's always a super neat thing to have your name in the record books. It's only there until the next person gets it."
It was fitting that Lang, who grew up within the Howard County running community because of her parents Phil and Vicki Lang, solidified her name within the record books her last season. At only 10-years old she remembers watching McCarter compete against another top-county runner at the time, Atholton's Alison Smith.
"I just remember how talented and successful she was throughout the county and I just remember her and Alison Smith, they were always battling it out together. They were both really good. They were the two best in the county," she recalled. "It's cool to think about, because I have that personal connection and I was in the same shoes. It gave me a lot of satisfaction just being able to be successful as I was throughout my season, especially my senior year. It was something really special."
"I certainly remember Liz," Phil Lang added. "She certainly was a fierce competitor like Brit. Another blonde haired girl running around the track and similar kind of racing style I would say in a lot of ways. She liked to be out-front controlling everything and was super fast. She was good at the 800 too. She was good in all the distances. She was good from right in the beginning too. There were some pressure points she had to deal with as well. What a great career she had. There were certainly some similarities in their racing style."
Lang continued her dominating season at regionals, winning 2A West titles in the 800 and 3,200. She also added a second-place finish in the 1,600.
But her real statement performance came on the opening day of the 2A state championship meet at Morgan State, where she won that elusive state title in a time of 10:48.41. The 2A classification has showcased some of the state's best runners the last three years and Lang said it's been a challenge she has relished.
"It would be cool to have more state titles, obviously, but yeah — my freshman year 3A was really good and I guess a lot of them graduated. And then 2A is what got really good my sophomore, junior and senior years," Brit Lang said. "I really wouldn't have wanted to go to a different classification because the accomplishments, they might mean a little bit less because I'm not racing the best of the best. So being able to race at the 2A level with some of the girls I was able to race with and still be successful and get the accomplishments that I did, it did make it a little bit more special."
"It's interesting because if she would have been in one of the other classifications, she might have a few state titles. The 3A girls haven't been as competitive the last few years on the distance side as the 2A girls," Phil Lang said. "So Brit had a handful of competitors the last two years that were really super high quality. She had some terrific races, but couldn't quite get to the gold medal standard at the 2A meet. So to get one was, I don't know, it might sound a little weird, but might have been more of a relief than anything, because she had such a great career. She has worked so hard and has endured some issues and all that kind of stuff. She's had a lot of victories along the way but the state meet – she won that first ever season in cross country as a freshman, and then didn't get another one until her very last season as a senior. For me, it was some relief and for her as well. She was certainly thrilled about it. I watched the video and when she crossed the finish line she slapped her hands together and kind of did a little fist pump to her self. It was kind of quiet, but you could tell there was a ton of joy and excitement there, relief, those kind of emotions were there."
As Brit Lang moves on from Howard County — she will be running collegiately at the University of North Florida starting in the fall — it marks a new chapter for not only her, but for Oakland Mills running as well. Between Brit and her sister Tiffany, there's been a Lang girl dominating the running scene for nearly a decade.
"What I'll remember most is just stuff throughout the running too. My team, we just had so much fun together throughout the four years, all the different accomplishments we got to watch each other create, like when the boy's won the 4x8 at states. That was the first event at the indoor state meet and it was just one of the happiest moments of my life and I wasn't even technically apart of it. When they won I was just so excited, they all deserved it so much. And they were all there to watch me win the outdoor two-mile. We were all there to support each other at our highest moments it was just really special," Brit Lang said. "I definitely have a lot of hopes for my college running. I think down at North Florida, I think it's a really good match for me. The weather obviously will allow me to train all year and I think the coach down there, we just connected really well. I think my four-years down there will go really well, at least hope so."
"I don't know if it was a Father's Day gift or not, but she was at work and texted me and was like, 'I'm going for a run later do you want to go with me?' So of course I had to say yes to that, that was an easy one for me. But we were running and it is, it's one of those things where I can't stop thinking about, 'oh my goodness, there's not going to be a Lang girl around next year,'" Phil Lang said. "For eight-straight years I've had a Lang girl on the team and next year it's not going to be the case. It's going to be hard. I've certainly tried very hard not to over applaud my own kids in the middle of coaching the whole team and that kind of thing or over-focus on them, but it's been nice to just look around and know that they're there and get to drive home from practice with them and that stuff (and) be there for all their activities, that's a luxury. Most parents have to work really hard to be with their kids during their activities and I actually have to be. So it's been really terrific. It is going to be a little bit different next season. August 10th is going to be different for sure."
Also named to the all-county team are:
Adeola Abdulkadir, Howard
Events: high, long and triple jump
Postseason highlights: Won the high and long jump and finished second in long jump at the Howard County championships. At the 4A North region championships, Abdulkadir won the triple jump and placed fourth in the high and long jumps. At the 4A state championships, the senior placed second in the triple jump, 13th in the high jump and 10th in the long jump.
Lola Alli, Reservoir
Events: shot put and discus
Postseason highlights: Placed second in shot put and discus at the Howard County championships. Won a 3A East region title in discus, while also placing third in shot put. At the 3A state championships, Alli finished 10th in shot put and fourth in discus.
Jamila Brown, Wilde Lake
Events: 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes
Postseason highlights: Won the 100-meter dash at the Howard County championships. She won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 3A East region championships and also finished second in the 400-meters. Won a 3A state championship in the 200, placed second in the 100, and helped the Wildecats place second in the 4x100-meter relay.
Sophie Caplan, River Hill
Events: pole vault and high jump
Postseason highlights: Won Howard County and 3A East region championships in pole vault, and then finished second at the 3A state championships.
Elicia Craig, Wilde Lake
Events: shot put, long jump, high jump and 4x100-meter relay
Postseason highlights: Won the long jump at the Howard County championship, and also placing third and fourth, respectively, in triple jump and shot put. At the 3A East region championships, Craig won both the long and triple jumps, while also helping the Wildecats win the 4x100-meter relay. Finished fourth in long jump at the 3A state championships, while also helping Wilde Lake finish second in the 4x100.
Alexandra Hargrett, Atholton
Events: 800-meters, 4x400-meter relay and 4x800-meter relay
Postseason highlights: Placed second in the 800-meters and helped the Raiders win the 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays at the Howard County championships. At the 3A East region championships, Hargrett won all three events she ran in: the 800, 4x400 and 4x800.
Teanna Jules, Howard
Events: 100- and 200-meter dashes and 4x200-meter relay
Postseason highlights: Placed second and third, respectively, in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and also helped the Lions win the 4x200-meter relay at the Howard County championships. At the 4A North region championships, Jules won the 200, helped the 4x200 relay team win gold and finished second in the 100. She earned fourth-place finishes in the 100 and 200 at the 4A state championships and helped the 4x200 relay team finish fifth.
Courtney Mann, Howard
Events: 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races and 4x800-meter relay
Postseason highlights: At the Howard County championships, Mann finished second in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races and third in the 800-meters, and she also helped the Lions to a third-place finish in the 4x800-meter relay. She placed second in the 1,600 and 3,200 and third in the 800 at the 4A North region championships. Helped Howard earn fourth place in the 4x800-meter relay at the 4A state championship, and also finished 11th in the 1,600 and 3,200, and 12th in the 800.
Micah Meekins, Marriotts Ridge
Events: 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes and 4x400-meter relay
Postseason highlights: Won the 200-meter dash at the Howard County championships, while placing second in the 400-meters. Took first-place in the 100-, 200- and 400-meters at the 2A West region championship, while also helping the Mustangs 4x400-meter relay team to a third-place standing. Won a 2A state title in the 400, while also placing fifth in the 200 and third in the 100.
Sydney Robinson, River Hill
Events: 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, long jump and 4x100-meter relay
Postseason highlights: Won the 400-meters, finished second in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200-meter dash at the Howard County championships. At the 3A East region championships, she won the 400 and placed second in the 200, long jump and 4x100-meter relay. Finished third in the 100, and 400 and fifth in the 200 at the 3A state championships, and also helped the Hawks finish fifth in the 4x100.
Bayli Smith, Howard
Events: shot put and discus
Postseason highlights: Won shot put and discus at the Howard County championships. She won the discus at the 4A North region championships and was runner-up in shot put. At the 4A state championships, Smith placed second in shot put and fourth in discus.
Jasmine Tiamfook, River Hill
Events: 800- and 1,600-meters, 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays
Postseason highlights: Placed fourth in the 800- and 1,600-meter races at the Howard County championships, and also helped the Hawks earn third- and second-place finishes, respectively, in the 4x400 and 4x800-meter relays. At the 3A East region championships, Tiamfook won the 1,600, finished fourth in the 800 and 4x400, and second in the 4x800. Placed fourth in the 1,600 at the 3A state championship, ninth in the 800 and fifth in the 4x800.
Deanna Yancey, Wilde Lake
Events: 300-meter hurdles, high jump, triple jump and 4x400-meter relay