HAGERSTOWN - The Mount Hebron indoor track and field program took the longer view after the Class 3A-2A West region championships at Hagerstown Community College last night.
The No. 1 Mount Hebron girls team fell 11 points short in its bid to grab its second consecutive regional crown, finishing in a tie for third to Blake of Montgomery County, which captured its first regional title with 57 points.
Montgomery County's Paint Branch took back-to-back boys championships by finishing with 88 points. The fifth-ranked Vikings boys led all county teams with a third-place showing and 43 points.
The Vikings viewed last night as an opportunity to scout the teams that will help determine the state champion at the state meet next Monday.
"We kind of knew coming into it that there were going to be some good competitors and that we would be pressed," senior Jeanette Curtis said. "We know firsthand what to expect. ... It's a good experience."
Curtis was Mount Hebron's lone gold-medal winner on the girls side as she grabbed the 55 hurdles with a season-best 8.2 seconds.
Long Reach senior DaMara Parrish contributed to two wins, which helped the Lightning tie Mount Hebron for third place. She teamed with Erica Tatum and Dionne Lambert and Sarah Carter to win the 800 relay in 1 minute, 49.6 seconds.
For Parrish, the 300-meter dash was almost like a replay of the same event at the Ivan Walker County championships 12 days ago.
There, Parrish slipped and fell to the track about 50 meters shy of the finish line and in first place.
Last night, she felt herself slipping again with about 50 meters left, but managed to stay upright and captured the race in 42 seconds.
"I slowed down a little bit so that I wouldn't slip," said Parrish, who beat out two Hammond sprinters, Howard County champion Shade Smith and Phylicia Buie. "Today, I did what I had to do. I was nervous at first, but once the gun went off, it went away."
Smith picked up a first place in the 55, nipping Parrish and Wilde Lake freshman Lindsey Oken at the finish line in 7.3 seconds.
Howard senior Cristal Kim added a regional pole vault title to her county one, clearing a season-best 8 feet, 2 inches.
On the boys side, Mount Hebron senior Seth Kampf produced a mild upset by beating teammate and defending state champion Matt Sanders by nearly five seconds in the 3,200 with a time of 10:10.9.
"I felt perfect out there," said Kampf, who had never defeated his teammate in a head-to-head matchup. "With a mile left, it was just the two of us. With a half-mile left, I took off."
Vikings high jumper Damon Gasque, whose only loss of the season came at the Montgomery Invitational last month, cleared 6-2 to add a regional crown to the county one he won 12 days ago.