LANDOVER -- Since the age of 4, Kate Nicholson has loved playing soccer.
But considering the success she has had in track and field in a little more than a year, Nicholson is beginning to add a second sport to her repertoire.
"Track has been growing on me," said the Atholton sophomore, who picked up the sport for the first time last winter. "When you can excel at something with other people, it becomes something you like doing."
Nicholson continued to excel last night at the Howard County Winter Track Festival at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.
Nicholson, whose previous experience in track was winning the one-mile Pumpkin Run at Clemens Crossing Elementary School as a fifth-grader, won the 800-meter race in 2 minutes, 24.63 seconds.
She also teamed with senior Valerie Sloboda and sophomores Alison Smith and Samantha Young to claim the 3,200 relay in 9:46.25. That time smashed the old school record of 10:08 set in 2001, according to Raiders coach Brian Funk.
"This team is so fast," said Nicholson, who ran a leg of the fifth-place 1,600-relay. "I expected that we would place well."
A first-place showing from Smith in the mile (5:15.29) helped pace No. 9 Atholton to 39 points and third place, the best finish by a girls area team at the invitational.
Largo from Prince George's County captured the team crown with 72 points.
Several metro area athletes posted victories. Reservoir junior Amanda Rogers edged Atholton junior Nicole Robinson by .06 of second to take the 55 hurdles in 8.75 seconds.
Long Reach junior Tiffani Long won the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 11 inches, which was nearly six inches longer than the next closest competitor. And Chesapeake of Anne Arundel senior Heather Millford tied a personal record when she collected the pole vault with a mark of 10 feet.
On the boys side, the results weren't finalized for another 30 minutes after the meet's end, and Centennial placed first with 38 points.
The Eagles, who did not stick around to collect their plaques, earned a second-place effort in the mile and a third-place showing in the 3,200 from senior Brian Harvey, a runner-up outing from senior James Olenik in the shot put and a second-place contribution from senior Stephen Hendrix in the pole vault.
Loch Raven junior Kevin Summers and Mount Hebron junior Jason Allen each posted a victory and a runner-up finish. Summers won the 200 (23.26 seconds) and placed second in the 55 (6.69 seconds).
Allen won the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 3 inches, breaking his previous personal record of 6 feet, and finished second in the long jump (19 feet, 1 1/2 inches). The Vikings placed second with 36 points.
Woodlawn boasted two individual titlists in sophomore Dwight Parker, who took the 3,200 in 10:13.53, and junior Justin Payne, who won the triple jump in 43 feet, 10 inches.
Other winners included Glenelg junior Tremaine Crayton in the 55 (6.59 seconds); River Hill senior Nicholas Keane in the mile (4:39.49); and Chesapeake-AA senior John McNair in the pole vault (a personal-record tying 11 feet, 6 inches).