When Wilde Lake senior David Eisenhauer moved to Maryland from Washington state before his junior season, the county and state had no expectations of him.
Now, less than two years later and after easily winning the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at the MPSSAA 3A Track & Field Championships at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex on Monday, everybody knows his name.
He finished the 1,600 meters in 4:20.93, more than five seconds ahead of Matt Bennett of Calvert, and ran the 3,200 meters in 9:30.31, more than 14 seconds ahead of Milford Mill’s Jordan Leon.
“I’m very happy with my performances today. I couldn’t ask for anything better. My time could have been a little better if (River Hill’s) Chris Heydrick was running in the mile, or Jordan Leon kept up with me in the two-miler or pushed longer,” Eisenhauer said. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.”
Howard County had nine total state champions, and the Mt. Hebron boys’ team battled from start to finish before falling nine points shy of taking the 3A title.
Eisenhauer made both races look easy, leading the 1,600 meters from start to finish and lapping the majority of the field in the 3,200 meters.
“The 1,600 meter went about as I planned it to. I went out strong ... I ended up at 4:20.9 which is a new 1,600 meter record for my school, so I was very happy with that race,” Eisenhauer said. “Second place was about six seconds behind me, so I ran most of the time by myself. I knew that was going to happen going in to it.”
After the regional meet, Eisenhauer said he was going to try and break the all-state record in the 3,200 meters, which is around 9:25. He fell short of the goal, but wasn’t disappointed in his performance, especially going against one of the state’s best runners in Leon.
“That race went exactly how I wanted it to for the first mile. I knew Jordan Leon had a massive kick that I couldn’t take, so I had to get rid of him early, and I was praying he wasn’t going to go with me. Ultimately he didn’t,” Eisenhauer said. “I just didn’t have anything left in me to keep pushing (at the end).”
The River Hill boys’ 3A 4x800 meter relay team of Liam Pedersen, Tanzer Balimtas, Mark Moody and Heydrick dominated and finished in 8:10.71, almost 13 seconds ahead of second-place La Plata. The time was good enough to set a new county record.
“Our team qualified out of regions and cut it a little close there. ... We knew we had the pieces, it was just a matter of putting it all together. Any relay that has Chris as the anchor is pretty set,” said River Hill coach Paul Hugus. “We had some high quality one-through-four and they were really excited about putting a good quality out on the track today.”
Atholton’s Jen Bleakney cruised to county and region championships in the 800 and 1,600 meter races, but faced some stiff competition at the state meet.
Although she ultimately fell short in the girls’ 3A 1,600 meters and came in second, she made up for the loss by winning the 800 meters in record-breaking fashion. Her time of 2:18.90 broke a county indoor record that had stood for 34 years.
“I kind of went out fast hoping I could lose (Franklin’s Nyjari Mcneil), and I guess I did,” Bleakney said. “Honestly, I just ran as fast as I could. I really didn’t think about the record. I didn’t think about anything but winning. ... But I was really happy with (my time). I hadn’t run that since outdoor last year, and that was around my time at states. That shows a lot of things to me, and I’m really excited for the upcoming season.”
Mt. Hebron crowned two individual state champions as sophomore Darnell Pratt took the boys’ 3A 300 meter dash title, finishing in 35.04 seconds, and senior Nick Wardell earned the 500 meter dash championship in 1:07.04.
Pratt and Andrew Humm came in fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 500 meter dash.
Pratt, who transferred from DeMatha and is competing in his first indoor season, trailed going into the final 100 meters of the 300 meter dash.
“I knew I was in good position to pass (City’s Robert Miller) once we got to the curve, but then by the middle of curve it was close, so I just turned it on,” Pratt said.
Wardell said he came into the 500 meter dash hoping to get a top-three finish and be alongside his two teammates atop the podium, but in the end it was between him and Travis Walker of Milford Mill.
“I was like, it’s my senior year, and I just want to win, and I managed to win,” Wardell said. “I usually finish well, that’s what I pride myself in. I felt like I was able to get the kick I needed at the end to win.”
After capturing county and region titles in the boys’ 55 meter dash, Atholton senior Glen Taylor completed his perfect postseason by finishing the race in 6.48 seconds to take taking the 3A state title. The win is extra sweet for Taylor, who missed the indoor season with a hamstring injury when he was at Reservoir last year.
“It’s unbelievable. God is so good. I didn’t have a track season last year, so it’s huge,” Taylor said. “I had the good start I wanted, and when I saw (C.M. Wright’s Matt Riggins and City’s Robert Miller) start to catch up to me, I just knew I had to push a little bit harder. And man, that’s about as tight as they get. ... It’s a great way to end senior year to win counties, regions and states.”
Howard’s Trey Clark, who won the outdoor pole vault state championship in the spring, captured his first indoor title by clearing 13 feet in the boys’ 4A competition.
“Overall, my performance was good. It’s not a personal best, but I was vaulting on a new pole so some things were a little different,” Clark said. “It feels amazing. I am ecstatic right now.”
The Lions’ Taylor Scaife threw 41 feet, 7.5 inches to win the girls’ 4A shot put. She win means Scaife swept all three postseason meets.
“It feels pretty good. I feel like it took me a long time to get this gold around me neck for states,” she said. “I’ve won a lot of first-place medals, but it feels great to have won all three of them.”
Glenelg’s Calvin Pitney cleared 14 feet to take the boys’ 3A pole vault title.
Vikings coach Teyarnte Carter knew the boys’ 3A title race would be between her team and Milford Mill as the two have battled in the polls all season long. Ultimately, the county and 3A East region champions fell short of winning the title and settled for second-place with 47 points.
“To be honest with you, with the weather, I’m happy. I can’t ask for anything more. Counties got pushed back, we ran well at regionals. Then our states got pushed back. So to peak the kids, moving to three different facilities ... it was hard,” Carter said. “I know my kids are mentally tough, and therefore I think they did a really good job today.”
For the 3A boys, Wilde Lake boys finished fifth with 25 points, Glenelg and Reservoir tied for eighth with 22 points, River Hill and Atholton tied for 12th with 16 points, while Centennial (19th, 11 points) and Long Reach (26th, five points) rounded out the county teams. Howard finished in 16th in 4A with 10 points.
Long Reach paced the county teams in the 3A girls' team race with 20 points for a 10th place finish, while Atholton (12th, 18 points), River Hill (12th, 15 points), Reservoir (16th, 13.5 points), WIlde Lake (17th, 13 points), Mt. Hebron (22nd, seven points) and Glenelg (24th, six points) came in the top-25. The Lions came in 11th with 21 points in the 4A race.