Dulaney boys dominate county track meet, Hereford girls hold off Franklin for 12th straight title

The Dulaney boys amassed 149 total points and easily captured its third straight Baltimore County indoor track and field championship Tuesday night at the Fifth Regiment Armory.

Dulaney finished 105 points ahead of second-place New Town.

Moiz Butt (shot put, 45-feet, 02.50 inches), Josiah Nilsen (high jump, 6-5), Mark Bonner (pole vault, 12-6), Sam Merng (3,200, 10:20.19), James Green (500, 1:09.66) and Drew Dailey (1600, 4:32.88) captured individual titles for the Lions.

“I’ve coached a long time and this has got to be one of the most fulfilling nights at a championship meet that I have ever had, just to see these young men and women work so hard,”Dulaney coach Chad Boyle said.

The Hereford girls had a tougher time winning its 12th straight indoor title, but the Bulls held off Franklin, 123-115.

In addition to the six individual county championships, the Dulaney boys also won a pair of relays.

Green, Nick Owens, Alex Ozbolt and Bonner won the 4x400 (4:42.11) and Owens, Ozbolt, Donovan Johnson and Connor Martin captured the 4x800 (8:40.94).

Before the final event of the night, Boyle speculated on something special.

“I don’t know how many champs we had, but probably the most champs since I’ve been a coach at Dulaney,” said Boyle, who is in his 21st season as head coach of the indoor team. “It’s a credit to the kids, and our coaching staff just does such a great job.”

Nilsen won the high jump convincingly, but he didn’t quit.

He continued on and set a personal indoor record with a jump of 6-feet, 5 inches.

The junior, who transferred in from St. Paul’s, set his personal record outdoors as a freshman, when he cleared 6-8.75 in a meet in Massachusetts.

While he was trying to eclipse the meet record of 6-7, he had to wait for the finals of the 55 hurdles to clear through his path to the high bar, but he’s used to dealing with distractions.

“It’s really just years of practice,” Nilsen said. “I’ve been doing it for three years now, so it just comes down to tuning it out and just focusing on the bar. I don’t really move until I’m ready.”

He was certainly ready to clear 6-5.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been up that high, so it feels really good to be back up there,” said Nilsen, who enjoyed watching his teammates waltz to victory. “Dulaney is a really excellent team. They are really great kids,” Nilsen said. “I’m so happy to transfer to Dulaney. It’s been nothing but great for me.”

While Nilsen was winning the high jump, Bonner set a personal record, winning the pole vault by clearing 12-6. He said his mental preparation was key to his victory that came over sophomore teammate Adam Madro (second, 10-9) and Hereford’s Daniel Weiss and Dulaney’s Samuel Hodgetts (tie, third, 10-3)

“The key in sports like pole vault and high jump is that it is a mental game more than physical over anything,” Bonner said. “You just need your head in the right position, the right state and knowing that your body can do it.”

Boyle praised the senior, who also contributes in sprints, after running distance races his first two seasons.

“The greatest asset that Mark has and one of the reasons we are winning a lot individually today is he’s an unbelievable leader,” Boyle said. “He just has something that most humans don’t have. He’s just got that charisma that’s going to carry forward for him in so many ways in life and it’s really helping our team.”

In addition to the champions, the Lions also had several other major point contributors.

Green was third in the 300 and Johnson was second in the 500 and Ozbolt was fifth.

Brian McCullough was second in the 800 and 1,600 and Dailey was third in the 800 and Johnson fourth.

Martin was second in the 3,200 meters and he was followed by teammate Alex Whatley.

Dulaney didn’t score in the 4x200 relay because they were disqualified, but the only individual events they failed to score in were the 55-meter dash and 55 hurdles.

Towson’s Andrew Shuck was second in the 55 hurdles (8.11) for the second year in a row.

Dulaney’s impressive performance has Boyle excited about the team’s prospects for the Class 4A state championship meet, which will be held at the Prince Georges Sports and Learning Complex on Feb. 20.

“I really think we are a state championship contender, but those distance guys are going to have to really run well, because our state is really competitive in the distances and they are going to have to bring their A plus game,” Boyle said. “I know we are going to do well in the field events. We’ve got the team to do it.”

Meanwhile, the Dulaney girls are sneaking up on the elite squads in the county and proved to be the best of the rest at the county meet.

Dulaney finished third, behind Hereford (123) and Franklin (115), with 52 points.

They were 32 points ahead of fourth-place Woodlawn.

Senior Dorrie Gaeng won the 3,200 (12:02.78) and her junior teammate Brooke Ruffin (12:04.46) was second.

Sophomore Kayla Brennan was fifth in the 1,600, just ahead of Dulaney freshman Marissa Dailey.

Sophomore Bridget Naughton was second (4-11) in the high jump.

In pole vault, Grace Jung was second (8-9) and Paige Johnson was fourth (8-3), trailing Towson’s Hannah Taylor (8-9).

Hereford girls ride depth to county title

The Franklin girls won eight county championships and Hereford won three, but the Bulls earned their 12th consecutive Baltimore County indoor title, winning by eight points.

“We have a lot of depth,” Hereford coach Brad Duvall said. “Their [Franklin’s] top five is better than our top five, but our top 20 is significantly better than their top 20.”

Hannah O’Brien (high jump, 4-11) and Bess Tiller (pole vault, 9-3) won individual titles for the Bulls and the 4x800 relay team of Kylie Nause, Olivia Holbrook, Hannah Weeren and Jen Barranco prevailed in 10:27.86.

O’Brien cleared her personal record of 4-8 by three inches to win the high jump and that may have been the most surprising for Duvall, who also watched Hereford’s Claire Sperber take fourth (4-9).

Those 14 points gave the Bulls a 10-point lead going into the final event — the 4x400 relay.

In that event, Franklin finished first and Hereford’s quartet of Kara Schmidt, Laura Schmidt, Katie Blair and Julia Watt finished second to clinch the team crown.

O’Brien found out after her win in the high jump that the Bulls led by 10 points, but ,while she was jumping, the pressure was on for her to place high and that’s just the way she liked it.

“I was just thinking, I need to do this for the team and I know I can do it, so I just thought of myself and the team, but more for the team,” O’Brien said. “I was very determined to do better and I do better under pressure.”

The Bulls also got strong support in the distance events.

Emily Konkus, Payton Patrick and Emily Francis finished 2-3-4 in the 1,600 and Konkus was third in the 3,200 and Kelly Shearer was sixth.

Schmidt, Weeren and Barranco were 2-3-4 in the 800 meters.

Watt added a point in the 55-meter hurdles with a sixth-place finish and Elaina Zittle (fourth) and Erin Williams (fifth) scored in shot put.

The Bulls were also third in the 4x200 meters with Watt, Williams, Katie Blair and Laura Schmidt leading the way.

“I had us down nine before the meet started, so for us to win is a huge accomplishment,” Duvall said. “They aren’t going to back down, so that’s the difference. These kids are super, super talented.”

Franklin’s second-place finish was highlighted by triple wins from Tylar Colbert (55, 300 and 55 hurdles). She set a new meet record in the 55-meter dash (7.27).

Nyjari McNeil won the 800 (2:27.19) and 1,600 (5:28.37) for the Indians.

Notes

In other highlights, New Town’s Jordan Cofield set a new meet record in the 55-meter dash (6.47) and his teammate, Brandon James, set a meet record in the 300 (36.52).

Other male individual winners included Milford Mill’s Aariq Nixon (800) and Parkville’s Fauz Adeyinka (55 hurdles).

For the girls, Chesapeake’s MaKayla Davis won the shot put.

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