PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Keith Brown Jr.
For the third time in a calendar year, an Eagles athlete has earned Performer of the Year honors. And like Tristram Thomas in indoor track last winter and Darrius Heyward-Bey in outdoor track last spring, Brown made a name for himself nationally.
The senior's winning time of 7.51 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles at the Hall of Fame Classic placed Brown in a tie for the 17th-fastest time in the event in the country, according to dyestat.com, a Web site devoted to track and field and cross country.
He placed first in seven of nine hurdles events, including victories at the Bishop Loughlin Games (7.55), the Montgomery Invitational (7.56) and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships (7.74).
Brown, who set a school record in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.21 at the Virginia Tech Invitational, also claimed the 55 dash at the MIAA championships, crossing the finish line in 6.64 seconds. Brown's performance propelled No. 1 McDonogh to its second straight MIAA crown.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The Raiders were reeling. Less than six months removed from the dismissal of head coach Brian Funk, Atholton was left with a void at the top and confusion among the athletes.
In stepped Sydnor, formerly a return specialist for the Towson State football team and the owner of the school record in the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 5 inches in 1994.
Sydnor infused confidence and energy into the Raiders, who began the postseason with a solid, if unspectacular, second-place outing at the Howard County championships. Undeterred, Atholton earned another shot at county champion Long Reach and prevailed at the Class 3A-2A West regional meet.
The Raiders carried that momentum into the state championships, where they outpaced Mervo for the title. It was No. 5 Atholton's first victory at the state meet since 1998.
The junior posted the metro area's fastest time in the 1,600 when he captured the event at the Anne Arundel County championships in 4 minutes, 20.2 seconds - a county record. That victory led to first-place finishes in the 1,600 at the Class 4A-3A Central regional (4:36.4) and state (4:24.72) levels. Centrowitz, who set another county record in the 3,200 with a time of 9:40.8 at the county championships, is the county's Performer of the Year. He was 11th in the 2-mile run (9:20.38) at the Nike Indoor Nationals.
The only repeat All-Metro first-team selection from last winter, the senior shared the area's best pole-vault height of 14 feet with Gilman's Khalil Uqdah. But what separated Devaud was his consistency, which helped him clear 14 feet three times this season. The Baltimore City Performer of the Year dabbled in the 55 hurdles and high and triple jumps, but his forte was the pole vault. His victory in the event at the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships (13 feet, 6 inches) was his second straight.
Gross attracted national attention when he claimed the triple jump at the Bishop Loughlin Games with a mark of 47-7 1/4 . That leap placed the senior in 13th place nationally, according to dyestat.com. At the MIAA championships, Gross shattered his own conference record of 42-7 1/4 with a mark of 43-7 3/4 . He also grabbed the long jump crown with a leap of 20-9 1/4 and placed third in the triple jump (47-6 1/4 ) at the Nike Indoor Nationals.
The junior was the nation's best high jumper after he cleared 6-7 at the Frostburg Invite in December. Since then, the mark has slipped to a tie for 20th, according to dyestat.com, but it remains as the best in the metro area. The Carroll County Performer of the Year collected high jump titles at the county (6-4), Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Piedmont Division (6-4) and Class 2A-1A West regional (6-3) levels.
The senior was the area's most consistent performer in the shot put. In six competitions, Kusnick reached a distance of no less than 46 feet four times. Two of those performances included triumphs at the Carroll County championships (48-3 3/4 ) and Class 2A-1A West regional meet (48-1). Kusnick's worst finish was a third-place showing at the state championships, where he posted a throw of 46-1 1/2 .
Following in the footsteps of former Gladiator and two-time All-Metro indoor track pick Drew Graybeal, Kymingham thrived in the long sprints. Though the senior participated in the 300 and 400 at times, his best event was the 500. He captured the event at the Howard County championships in 1:09.29, and at the Class 3A-2A West regional meet in 1:07.4. Kymingham placed second in the 500 at the state meet, finishing in 1:07.67.
The junior shared the metro area's fastest time in the 55 with Meade's Jamie Gordon and Long Reach's Brandon Wright, but he separated himself from the pack at the Class 4A-3A state meet, where his winning time of 6.46 was the fastest in all three classifications. That victory capped a postseason sweep of the 55 at the Anne Arundel County (6.2) and Central regional (6.76) levels.
The junior recorded the metro area's fastest time in the 3,200 when he crossed the finish line in 9:32.16 at the Hispanic Games. That ranks 39th in the country, according to dyestat.com. Parker, who won the 800 and 1,600 at the Baltimore County championships, also scored triumphs in the 3,200 at the county (10:26.3) and Class 4A-3A Central regional (10:19.9) levels. He finished 22nd in the 2-mile run (9:36.62) at the Nike Indoor Nationals.
He collected gold medals in two individual events at the state championships - the only metro-area male athlete to do so. At the Class 3A-2A state meet, the junior opened with a victory in the 1,600 in 4:26.81 before capping his day with a win in the 800 in 2:01.22. The Howard County Performer of the Year pulled off the same feat at the county championships, taking the 800 (2:03.09) and 1,600 (4:30.00).
The junior was the only metro-area athlete to dip below the 2-minute mark in the 800. Although he was sixth in the event at the Hispanic Games, Richardson's time of 1:58.29 went unmatched this winter. At the Class 3A-2A Central regional championships, he captured the 800 in 2:01.63 and the 1,600 in 4:46.56. Although he finished third in the 800 at the state meet, Richardson won the 1,600 at the Baltimore City championships in 4:45.
The metro area's fastest time in the 300 belongs to Catonsville's Garnell Hall, but Wright defeated Hall at the Class 3A-2A state championships and took the crown in 35.41. The senior, who also beat Hall in the 200 at the Howard County Winter Trackfest, went undefeated in the 300 and picked up titles at the West regional (35.27) and Howard County (35.45) meets. Wright also claimed the 55 at the county championships, winning in 6.55.
Wilde Lake, senior
Long Reach, senior
Old Mill, senior
Loch Raven, senior
Mount St. Joe, senior
Note -- Teams selected by Edward Lee after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.
1. McDonogh 2. Gilman 3. Mount St. Joseph 4. Archbishop Curley 5. Atholton 6. Liberty 7. Mervo 8. Broadneck 9. Arundel 10. Woodlawn
Other teams considered: Glen Burnie, Howard, Long Reach, Meade, Wilde Lake.