The Long Reach girls team didn't let rain or a couple of mishaps affect its dominance at yesterday's state track championships, easily outdistancing the competition at UMBC to repeat as Class 3A titlists.
The Howard County school scored 87 points. Montgomery County's Walter Johnson (59) and Calvert County's Westlake (49) were second and third, and it wouldn't have been even that close if not for the Lightning's disqualification in the 400 relay and a disappointing fourth in the 1,600 relay.
Another Howard County school, Atholton, is on verge of its first state championship, leading defending 2A champ Middletown of Frederick County. The Raiders have a 90-63 advantage with one event remaining; the pole vault was delayed until Tuesday.
The Raiders' Ashley Wall was one of the weekend's top performers, winning three individual titles that included the high jump (5 feet 2 inches) and long jump (17-6). Like all the performers yesterday, Wall had to contend with the wet weather that dampened the state championships' final day for a second straight year.
"It was really bad," said Wall, who won the triple jump on Friday. "I didn't jump really well in the high and long, and it affected everyone else. We all jumped below what we should have."
The Raiders received a second-place finish from sophomore Lindsay Grigoriev (37-4.25) in the shot put and a fourth place from junior Amilia Raheem in the 400 (60.92) and 300 hurdles (47.88) to move into championship position. Senior Rachel Smith placed third (16-3.75) behind Wall in the long jump and Atholton was second (4:11.1) in the 1,600 relay.
Long Reach's Rolanda Howard completed her high school career with a fourth straight long jump championship (18-8). She also finished second (15.43 seconds) in the100 hurdles. The Lightning was able to set the pace to a third title in four seasons on Thursday with two victories: 800 relay and triple jump (Shayla Moore).
"We looked really strong in the counties and the regionals, so I felt pretty optimistic," said Long Reach coach Leslie Thomas.
Said Howard: "We had a lot of pressure on us because Westlake looked like they were coming on strong. We just knew we had to get out here and do whatever it took to get as many points as possible."
Annapolis senior Erin Masterson (5:13.37) successfully defended her 1,600 title in the 3A competition, to go with her 3,200 title won Thursday. Masterson, headed to William & Mary, placed third in the 800 as defending champ Erin Gaeng from Frederick's Thomas Johnson fell about 10 yards from the finish line.
"It's been draining," said Masterson. "I just tried to go out and break the record, but my time wasn't good because of the puddles and the rain. It was all right."
Cara Wettlaufer of C. Milton Wright (5:10.21) won the 1,600 in 4A by overtaking defending champ Tenke Zoltani (5:11.52) of Dulaney in the final 400 meters.
"I was right behind Tenke and she's really good," said Wettlaufer, who placed third a year ago. "I just tried to stay behind her until the end."
Zoltani's second place helped the Lions place third in the 4A standings behind Largo and Roosevelt from Prince George's County, which has won the last 12 crowns. The last area team to win the 4A title was Old Mill in 1989.
Douglass' Tanisha Davis won the 4A shot put at 36-5.75. Wilde Lake's Leonie Prao won the 3A 100 championship (12.68), as Long Reach's Shantee and Dionne Lambert were third and fourth.
"My coaches have been telling me all year it was my time to step up," Prao said. "I wasn't going to let fear slip into my mind because as soon as I do, I won't do well."
Oakland Mills seniors Kierney Hiteshew and Rachel Clinton capped off their high school careers with a 1A state title. Clinton won the 100 hurdles (15.08) and Hiteshew, the pole vault.
The Scorpions (38) placed fourth in 1A, which was won by Smithsburg (83) of Washington County. Glenelg finished fifth (35).
Western junior Mariama Gondo finished second to Largo's India Ransom in the 4A 100. The Doves (38, sixth) were the area's next highest-placing team in the 4A behind Dulaney.