Poly, Dig. Harbor capture 1st titles

LANDOVER -- The Class 2A-1A state championship meet was filled with drama in the final minutes.

After more than eight hours of events, the battle for the boys and girls state titles came down to the final event. The Poly boys and Digital Harbor girls won the 1,600-meter relay to clinch their respective state championships last night at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.


It was the first indoor state title for each team. Poly's boys trailed Liberty by two points heading into the last race and didn't need to win the race for the championship, but the victory sealed it.

Liberty didn't have a team while the Poly quartet of Artavius Williams, Lemuel Pridgen, Franklin Robinson and Jamin Gallman won the race in 3 minutes, 27.92 seconds (a class record). Gallman rallied from 10 yards behind on the final lap to pull out the win by .05 of a second.


"I think they perform well under pressure," Poly coach Steve Williams said. "They showed it there."

The Poly boys also won the 3,200 relay in 8:20.47, got a 1-2 finish from Gallman (1:06.12) and Pridgen (1:08.11) in the 500 and took second in the 800 relay.

Digital Harbor also set a class record with its time in the 1,600 relay, but Poly ended up with 52 points, beating Liberty (44). Digital Harbor had a small chance to win heading into the final race, but the Rams (43) took third place overall.

Liberty had the two-point lead thanks to third- and fourth-place finishes from Nick Hruch and Eric Liberatore in the 800, the next-to-last event. But the Lions could only sit and watch after that as Poly won the championship.

"Our kids had a great day," Liberty coach Bobby Ward said. "They've had some tough times this season, but they came out here today and performed well."

The Lions also took second in the state last year but couldn't match Poly's depth in the relays. Liberatore also won the 1,600 (4:34.98) and Hruch captured the high jump (6-6). Hruch also took third in the 500, and the Lions did the same in the 3,200 relay.

Pikesville was a mild surprise in fourth with 36 points. Darryl Bell (6.53) won the 55 dash, and the Panthers (1:33.44) edged Poly (1:33.59) for first in the 800 relay. Vance Gilmore (pole vault, 12 feet) and Jabari Hawkins (high jump, 6-4) also gave Pikesville second-place finishes.

Digital Harbor's girls had a number of good efforts but needed a Poly-type rally to pull out the title.


Poolesville held a three-point lead over the Rams heading into the last race, and Digital Harbor's team of Alyssa McClure, Ashly McClure, Demia Franklin and Jalisa Bush combined to easily win the 1,600 relay in 4:05.00, topping Loch Raven (4:07.41).

Digital Harbor earlier won the 800 relay (1:47.45), and Alyssa McClure helped with second-place finishes in the 55 and 300.

The Rams finished with 50 points, ahead of Poolesville (43).