Close calls have a way of driving people to the edge. Will Eden proved that lesson at the Class 4A-3A East region indoor track championships at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore last night.
After nearly relinquishing a sizable lead and a regional title in the 1,600-meter run, the Annapolis junior demonstrated what he learned by claiming the 3,200 by more than 20 seconds.
Eden won in 10 minutes, 30.2 seconds. His closest competitor was Patuxent senior Justin Smith, who finished in 10:50.4.
Eden, a state indoor track champion in the 3,200 at last year's Class 3A-2A meet, had a much tougher time in the 1,600, where he was almost passed by Smith.
Smith made up a 50-meter gap over the final 150 meters, but Eden edged out Smith with a final burst and lean at the finish line to win in 4 minutes, 55.6 seconds. Smith's time was 4:55.8.
"That definitely got my adrenaline going," said Eden, who has been bothered by a right hip injury for much of the season. "I didn't want to run into that situation one more time."
Eden's double-win performance helped lift the No. 5 Panthers to 28 points and fourth place in the boys standings.
Suitland, the Prince George's County and defending Class 4A-3A state champion, captured the regional crown with 100 points.
Ninth-ranked Arundel, which finished eighth with 13.3 points, boasted a titlist in senior Bryan Jones, who continued his undefeated streak in the 55 hurdles.
Jones, who struggled with a hamstring injury last season, won the 55 hurdles last night in 7.4 seconds.
"I'm just trying to win everything," he said. "I've missed out on the past two years. Nobody knew me before. I hope they do now."
South River also boasted a regional champion in freshman Sam Wilson, who took the pole vault by clearing 9 feet.
On the girls side, Eleanor Roosevelt, which has grabbed the last three Class 4A-3A state titles, blasted the field by collecting nine victories in 13 events, 138.5 points and the regional championship.
Severna Park was the area's highest finisher. The Falcons accumulated 39 points for fourth place.
South River, which placed eighth with 11.3 points, scored in the pole vault when senior Jen May won in a school-record 9 feet, 6 inches.