There were several reasons the University of Maryland football team recruited -- and eventually signed -- Heyward-Bey. The senior showed off soft hands, ran precise routes and demonstrated an impressive leaping ability.
But perhaps Heyward-Bey's greatest asset was his burst of speed. That attribute was on full display this spring as Heyward-Bey anointed himself as the area's top sprinter in track and field.
He opened the season at the Morgan State Invitational, where he claimed the 100-meter dash in 10.78 seconds and defeated a field that included eventual Class 3A state titlist Orlando Brown of Mervo.
After helping the Eagles' 400-relay squad cross the finish line in 44.14 to place second in its heat at the Penn Relays, Heyward-Bey turned his attention to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships.
At that meet, he not only successfully defended the 100 and 200 crowns that he had won last year, but he also established new MIAA records in both events. His time of 10.3 in the 100 eclipsed the previous record of 10.60 set by Calvert Hall's Alan McDavid in 1999.
Heyward-Bey's time of 21.1 in the 200 shattered the previous mark of 21.65 established by Heyward-Bey himself last spring. Both times -- when converted from hand-held to automatic -- are ranked in the top 30 nationally, according to dyestat.com. His time of 21.34 in the 200 is tied for 23rd, while his time of 10.54 in the 100 is tied for 30th.
Heyward-Bey, who also ran a leg of the 800-relay squad that won in 1 minute, 31.8 seconds, was selected as the Baltimore County Performer of the Year and is making his second straight appearance on the All-Metro team.
Jeffrey Tolson and Lutalo Bakari
Digital Harbor was previously known as Southern, and the school had woven itself into the fabric of Baltimore City since 1910. During that span, the Bulldogs captured three state championships - all of them in boys basketball (1993, 1994 and 1996). The Rams of Digital Harbor still cherish that tradition, but they may have started one of their own in track and field this year.
After the school changed its name this past fall, the Rams commemorated the event by winning the Class 2A-1A Central region title in indoor track - Digital Harbor's or Southern's first in the sport.
This spring, the Rams continued to raise their expectations. After placing second to 12-time city titlist Mervo at the city championships, Digital Harbor claimed the Class 1A South regional crown and the coveted state title - another first in school history. Armed with just 20 boys, Tolson and Bakari shaped the group into a hard-working, single-minded corps eager to flex their muscles outside of the city.
At the state meet, the Rams scored at least one point in 10 of 18 events and four points or more in six events.
The senior swept the 200 at the Baltimore City, Class 3A North regional and state levels. Brown posted times of 22.42, 21.6 and 22.17 seconds in the 200 at the city, region and state championships, respectively. His time of 21.6 at the regional meet is the second-fastest recorded by an area athlete this spring.
Brown also collected crowns in the 100 at the regional (10.6) and state (11.17) meets. With Brown, the Mustangs' 400-relay squad was first at the city (42.78), regional (43.1) and state (42.76) championships.
Brown ran a leg of the 400-relay team that won its heat at the Penn Relays (43.38 seconds). He is being recruited by Maryland, Coppin State and South Carolina State.
The sophomore took the 3,200 at the Bob Golliday Invitational with a time of 9 minutes, 31.2 seconds. At the Anne Arundel County championships, Centrowitz claimed the 3,200 crown with a time of 9:36.8 and ran a leg of the 3,200-relay squad that won in 8:14.4.
He repeated that effort at the Class 4A East regional meet (9:40.5 in the 3,200 and 8:26.1 in the 3,200 relay). At the state meet, the Anne Arundel County Performer of the Year gamely challenged Walter Johnson's Andrew Jesien for the 3,200 title before placing second. His time of 9:23.30 is the fastest registered by an area athlete.
Havre de Grace
The senior opened the postseason with victories in the 110 high hurdles (14.88 seconds), 300 intermediate hurdles (39.58) and triple jump (43 feet, 8 1/2 inches) at the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championships.
Clayton found similar success at the Class 1A North regional meet, capturing the 110 hurdles in 14.15, the 300 hurdles in 40.01 and the triple jump with a mark of 44 feet.
The Harford County Performer of the Year won the 110 hurdles in 15.25 and the triple jump with a leap of 43-8 1/2 and ran a leg of the triumphant 400-relay team that crossed the line in 44.71. His time in the 110 hurdles at the regionals is the second-fastest posted by an area athlete.
Academic ineligibility sidelined him this past winter, but the senior bounced back by claiming the Class 3A state title in the 800 in 1:55.94 -- the fastest time recorded by an area athlete. The victory capped a sweep of the 800 for Coleman, whose time of 1:58.20 at the Baltimore City championships broke the previous record of 1:58.30 set in 1995 by Mustangs coach Garfield Thompson.
Coleman also took the 400 (49.96) and 1,600 (4:39.20) at the city championships. At the Class 3A North regional meet, he won the 400 again, finishing in 49.4. Coleman, the Baltimore City/County Performer of the Year in indoor track two winters ago, will run for Morehouse.
The senior owned the triple jump this spring, recording victories at the Baltimore City (43 feet, 2 inches), Class 3A North regional (43- 1/2 ) and state (44-6 1/4 ) levels. Eaton nearly doubled his pleasure with first-place showings in the long jump at the city (21-11) and regional (21-11) championships. Although he finished second at the state meet, his leap of 22-2 1/2 stands as the best mark registered by an area athlete.
Eaton, who also dabbled in the 100, was a fixture on the 400 relay. He was part of the squad that qualified for the small schools championship at the Penn Relays and swept titles at the city, region and state levels.
The junior began to show his potential at the Morgan State Invitational, where he finished second in the triple jump with a mark of 42 feet, 4 inches. A month and many intense practices later, Gross picked up the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association crown in the triple jump with a leap of 46-9 1/4 .
That effort not only represents the best mark posted by an area athlete, but also shattered the previous MIAA record of 46-5 3/4 established by Mount St. Joseph's Joe Brent in 1998. Gross, whose mark also broke the school record of 44-8 set by Charles Carlies in 1984, added another gold medal when he took the long jump with a leap of 21 feet.
The 1,600 belonged to Harvey. The senior captured the event at the Howard County (4:28.16), Class 3A East regional (4:30.28) and state (4:23.05) levels. His time at the state meet stands as the fastest recorded by an area athlete.
The Howard County Performer of the Year was first in the 800 (2:00.72) and 3,200 (9:58.49) and ran a leg of the winning 3,200-relay team (8:11.04) at the county championships.
Harvey duplicated that outing at the regional meet, claiming the 800 (2:01.07) and 3,200 (9:57.25) and lifting the 3,200-relay squad to victory (8:10.62). He notched top-five outings in the 800, 3,200 and 3,200 relay at the state championships.
The sophomore dominated the high jump. During a Monocacy Valley Athletic League tri-meet, Hruch cleared 6 feet, 6 inches -- the best height posted by an area athlete. A few days later, he cleared 6-4 at the Talley-Zimmerman Invitational, eclipsing the previous meet record by two inches.
He extended his dominance in the event to the postseason, taking championships at the Carroll County, Class 2A West regional and state levels with identical heights of 6-4.
Hruch, who also competed in the long jump and ran legs of the 1,600- and 3,200-relay squads, secured another county title when he leaped 42-5 1/2 in the triple jump.
The senior added to his reputation in the shot put, forging one record after another. His first stop was the Woodlawn Warrior Invitational, where he captured the event with a throw of 57 feet, 2 1/4 inches. The next records came at the Freddie Hendricks Track Festival (54- 1/4 ), Father Judge Relays (56-6 1/4 ) and Howard County Spring Track Classic (54-7).
The Baltimore City Performer of the Year set records in the shot put (54-5 1/2 ) and discus (145-11 1/2 ) before sweeping the shot put at the Class 1A South regional (53- 3/4 ) and state (58-7 1/2 ) levels. His throw at the state meet shattered the previous Class 1A record of 55-0 set by Smithsburg's Jim Rodgers in 1979.
The senior tied Liberty's Nick Hruch for the best mark in the high jump when he cleared 6 feet, 6 inches in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association dual meet against Loyola. Lott also broke the school record of 6-5 that Lott himself established last year. He then took the high jump at the Morgan State Invitational, logging a mark of 6-4 that broke the previous meet record of 6-2 set by Paint Branch's Matthew Morrison in 2003.
At the MIAA championships, Lott claimed the high jump with a height of 6-4, ran a leg of the winning 800-relay team that finished in 1:31.8 and placed second in the long jump.
The senior was the preeminent hurdler in the area. At major invitational and championships, Simpson won the 110 high hurdles and the 300 intermediate hurdles seven out of eight chances. He ran away with Class 3A state titles in both events (14.36 seconds in the 110 hurdles and 38.52 in the 300 hurdles).
At the North regional meet, Simpson recorded the area's top times with victories in the 110 hurdles (13.9) and the 300 hurdles (38.0). He swept both events at the Baltimore County 4A-3A Division championships (14.4 in the 110 hurdles and 38.7 in the 300 hurdles).
The senior barely slowed down after being named an All-Metro Performer of the Year in indoor track this past winter. At the Morgan State Invitational, Thomas captured the mile in 4 minutes, 26.20 seconds. That time smashed the previous meet record of 4:32.53 established by Mount St. Joseph's Ryan Audy last spring.
At the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships, Thomas regained his hold on the distance events. After missing last spring with a stress fracture of the right tibia, Thomas reasserted himself by winning the 800 in 2:00.1, 1,600 in 4:29.1 and the 3,200 in 9:52.94.
At the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association indoor track championships this past winter, the junior and Archbishop Curley's Dominic Devaud engaged in a spirited pole-vault competition that ended when Devaud cleared 13 feet and Uqdah did not. The results were reversed this spring when Devaud reached 13 feet, 6 inches and Uqdah went higher. By the time Uqdah had cleared 14-3, he secured his first MIAA crown and the area's top height in the pole vault.
Uqdah also scored first-place outings in the pole vault at the Annapolis Relays (13-0) and the Gilman Invite (12-9).
The senior earned his second straight appearance on the All-Metro team for his expertise with the discus. His victory at the Class 3A state meet (145 feet) capped a sweep of the event that began at the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Chesapeake Division championships when he launched the discus 162 feet, 11 inches -- the best throw registered by an area athlete.
Wunderlich, who qualified for the high and long jumps and the pole vault at the state meet, successfully retained the state title in the pole vault he took last spring with a height of 13-0.
A Carroll County champion in the long jump (21-8), shot put (49-5) and discus (133-4), Wunderlich will take up the decathlon at Dartmouth.
C. Milton Wright, senior
C. Milton Wright, senior
Old Mill, senior
Archbishop Curley, senior
Archbishop Curley, junior
Oakland Mills, senior
Digital Harbor, senior
Francis Scott Key, senior
Old Mill, senior
Eastern Tech, senior
Arch. Spalding, senior
1. Old Mill
3. C.M. Wright
6. Arch. Curley
7. Bowling Brook
9. Digital Harbor
10. North Carroll
Other teams considered: Atholton, Glenelg, Long Reach, Milford Mill, Parkville.
Note: Teams selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.