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Distance strength lifts Severna Park boys track and field to runner-up team finish at Class 4A state meet

Senior distance runners Carson Sloat, left, and Jake Gelfand, center, seen in this file photo, played prominent roles in helping Severna Park place second in the team standings at the Class 4A Outdoor State Track and Field meet on Friday.
Senior distance runners Carson Sloat, left, and Jake Gelfand, center, seen in this file photo, played prominent roles in helping Severna Park place second in the team standings at the Class 4A Outdoor State Track and Field meet on Friday. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The Severna Park boys used their distance running strength to tie for second place as a team at the Class 4A Outdoor Track and Field State Championships, held Friday at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.

Senior Jake Gelfand ran the anchor leg of the 3,200-meter relay team that captured the state championship and was also runner-up in the individual two-mile run, as Severna Park amassed 58 points to finish as runner-up alongside Howard. Walter Johnson captured the Class 4A team title in convincing fashion with 78 points.

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“I think we did a solid job overall. This is the first time that I can remember that Severna Park boys outdoor track and field came home from the state meet with a team trophy,” 16th-year head coach Josh Alcombright said. “It would not have mattered what we did on Friday because Walter Johnson was so strong. We weren’t going to score much more points than we did.”

Anne Arundel County athletes contested the regional, sectional and state meets in the span of eight days. “We had a tough go because we pretty much had to go back-to-back-to-back,” Alcombright said.

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Senior Jack Muldoon, junior Eddie Sullivan, junior James Glebocki and Gelfand made up the 3,200 relay team, which won with a time of 7 minutes, 53.51 seconds. Muldoon put the Falcons at the front with a strong leadoff leg and then handed the baton to Sullivan, who grabbed the lead. Glebocki extended the lead and Gelfand finished it off.

Their time was a school record, breaking the previous mark by almost two seconds.

Gelfand was one of three individuals to place second for Severna Park. The Cornell-bound senior ran the two-mile in 9:34.59 — just under two seconds behind Andrew Schell of Walter Johnson. South River senior Garrett Gallaher took third in 9:41.20.

“Jake’s enjoyed a great career here and I’m looking for him to continue to improve and do great things at the next level,” Alcombright said.

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Sloat was runner-up in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:16.67. The Naval Academy recruit and teammate Tyler Canaday set the pace for the entire race, trading the lead back-and-forth. They were both passed at the end by Tinaye Matsatsa of Northwest.

“It was a tough, tactical race and Matsatsa made a nice move just before the finish,” Alcombright said.

Meanwhile, Ryan Laughlin took second in the pole vault at a personal best height of 11-feet, 6-inches. This is Laughlin’s first full year as a vaulter and he improved immensely over the course of the shortened spring season.

Junior Jack DeBaugh of Severna Park also scored valuable points for the Falcons by placing third in the 400-meter dash in 49.86 seconds.

Senior Chase Franklin and junior Angelo Bowser led the way as Old Mill finished fourth on the boys’ side with 50 points. Franklin placed second in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, while Bowser was runner-up in both the long jump and triple jump. Franklin also ran a leg on Old Mill’s 800-meter relay that took third.

Vaughn DeVaughn III swept both state championships in the hurdles, winning the 110 in 14.70 seconds and the 300 in 39.14. Franklin posted times of 14.98 in the 110 and 39.25 in the 300.

“I can’t say enough good things about Chase. He’s one of those kids you live to coach,” Old Mill coach Carrie Klimes said. “Just an awesome kid with a tremendous work ethic and great attitude.”

Bowser landed a long jump of 21-2 ½ and a triple jump of 46-2. He will return next year looking to take the next step.

“I think Angelo was a bit disappointed because he felt he could win both of those events,” Klimes admitted.

Kamel Winfield also had a big day for the Patriots, running the opening leg of the 800 relay and helping the 1,600 relay to a sixth-place result. He also finished fourth in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the 200.

Jordan Penn and Joseph DeRosier were the other members of the 800 relay that took third. Old Mill only had 46 athletes this spring, about one-third the normal number. The Patriots only qualified for the state meet in eight of 18 events.

“We were second for most of the meet and were hoping we might hold that spot,” Klimes said of the team standings. “Ultimately, we were very pleased with fourth overall.”

Broadneck senior Grayson Miller took the title in the pole vault, clearing 12 feet even. He failed in a subsequent attempt to equal his personal record of 12-6 but did more than enough as the runner-up only cleared 11-6.

“Grayson was the clear-cut favorite coming into the meet. He went with a new pole last week to make sure he could clear 12-6 or higher,” Broadneck coach Josh Webster said. “Ultimately, I think he didn’t have quite enough time to get used to the new pole.”

Miller had been hoping to equal the Broadneck school record of 13-0, set by 2018 indoor and outdoor state champ Jaren Bluyot.

Broadneck also had the state champion pole vaulter on the girls’ side as junior Katie Donnelly won at a height of 11 feet. That was a school record and quite an improvement on Donnelly’s personal best of 10-1.

Donnelly, who is also a competitive gymnast, took up pole vaulting as a freshman while also competing in other field events. She decided to focus on pole vault while competing on the club circuit during the pandemic.

“Katie came into this season totally committed and just kept raising the bar. She’s gotten so much better in terms of technique and form,” Webster said. “Katie is a tremendous athlete and vaulting just comes second nature to her.”

Donnelly’s victory helped Broadneck finish eighth in the team standings, tops among Anne Arundel Schools. Mollie Fenn also scored valuable points for the Bruins by placing second in the 3,200 run with a time of 11:12.

South River senior Lacey Fowler was a double winner, taking home titles in both the discus and shot put. Fowler quickly took command in the shot put with an early toss of 41-feet, 3 ½-inches.

“Lacey pretty much put it away with her first throw,” South River coach Hugh Harris said.

This was Fowler’s first appearance at the state meet in the discus as she fouled on all her throws at the regional meet as a sophomore.

Redemption was sweet as the Towson-bound thrower launched the discus 115-4 on her final throw to overtake Urbana’s Samantha Heyison, the runner-up at 111-3.

“Winning two gold medals at the state meet as a senior is a great way to go out,” Harris said of Fowler, who is a competitive cheerleader during the winter season.

Arundel junior May Murchison captured the state championship in the high jump at a height of 5-4. That was two inches shy of her personal record that is also tied for the school record. She was runner-up in the event at the 2020 indoor state meet.

“Maya has come a long way. She concentrated more on the high jump this season because she wanted to be a state champion,” Arundel coach Ira Queen said of Murchison, who stands 6-foot-4.

North County junior Melissa Kane was runner-up in the pole vault with a top effort of 10-0. Arundel freshman Bryce Hatcher took third in the 100 dash (12.56), while Meade’s 400-meter relay also placed third.

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Northeast senior Christal Pommells paced the county’s efforts at the Class 3A meet. Pommells picked up a state championship in the 200-meter dash and placed second in the 100.

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Pommels ran the 200 in 24.91 seconds to edge Mount Hebron’s Sameena Mathew (25.15). She ran the 100 in 12.26 – just two tenths of a second behind Denisha McLaurin of Woodlawn.

Garrett Bivens finished third in the mile run to lead the Northeast boys.

Northeast senior Christal Pommells, left, pictured winning the girls 100-meter dash at the 2019 Anne Arundel County outdoor track and field championships, captured the Class 3A state championship in the 200-meter dash and was runner-up in the 100 dash.
Northeast senior Christal Pommells, left, pictured winning the girls 100-meter dash at the 2019 Anne Arundel County outdoor track and field championships, captured the Class 3A state championship in the 200-meter dash and was runner-up in the 100 dash. (Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

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