Here’s what you need to know for the 2022-23 girls indoor track and field season in the Baltimore area:
Storylines to watch
Changing of the guard in Class 2A.
The MPSSAA Class 2A state outdoor meet came down to the final event as Oakland Mills edged Hereford to break a string of state championships for the Bulls in track and field and cross country. We could see a rematch this indoor season, or Oakland Mills establishing itself as the new program to beat in the lower classifications. Hereford is the defending champion that returns quite a bit of talent in distance events but has big holes to fill in sprints and field events. Though Oakland Mills finished seventh last year, the Scorpions took a big step up by winning the outdoor title and return a good portion of their points. While Oakland Mills and Hereford are the top two contenders, Century is among a strong group of schools that can also make a run at the title.
Who will step up for Howard County Class 3A programs?
Howard County looks to get back into the swing of things this winter. The whole county paused due to a surge in COVID-19 cases last January, and there were no county indoor championships. Several programs had success at states, especially in Class 3A, but a lot of top point scorers have graduated. Howard finished second by two points at states but loses nearly all of its distance runners who racked up points. River Hill (fifth at states) must replace 55-meter state champ Janasia Buckner, while Reservoir must replace top sprinters Jamie Adams and Sophie Davidson.
Influx of new athletes who skipped last year.
Last year’s biggest question heading into the indoor track and field season was what would a season — if it was even completed — look like? The pandemic was a shadow hanging over the season, forcing meet cancellations and a lot of indoor meets being held outdoors. Quite frankly, it was a situation a lot of athletes didn’t want to be a part of. This year, however, many coaches are noting an uptick in participation. Some outdoor athletes who decided to play basketball or skip winter sports in general are coming out for indoor track and the influx could shuffle the standings from last year.
Harford County approves indoor track and field as a fully-funded sport.
After more than 45 years as an unfunded sport, indoor track and field has officially come a fully funded sport in in Harford County. This includes coaching salaries, transportation, meet entry fees and more, putting the county on level ground with the rest of the state that runs under the MPSSAA banner. The county has had success. North Harford’s Finley Lavin won the Class 2A 500-meter state championship as a junior last season, while Bel Air’s Elizabeth Pickett, who has since graduated, won the Class 3A 3,200. It will be interesting to watch how this change in status further develops Harford programs.
Cooper sisters unite at McDonogh.
Sisters Ella and Elise Cooper were not only two of the top sprinters in indoor and outdoor track last season in the Baltimore area, but among the best in all of Maryland. The only thing was, they ran at different schools. Elise ran her freshman year at McDonogh, while Ella was a sophomore at Bryn Mawr. This year, however, Ella joined her sister at McDonogh, making last year’s IAAM outdoor champs and indoor runner-up all the more formidable. Elise won the 55 and 300 at last year’s IAAM championships, while Ella won the 500, placed second in the 55 and finished third in the 300.
Athletes to watch
Elise Cooper, McDonogh, sophomore
Elise quickly established herself as one of the nation’s top sprinters as a freshman, winning the 55 and 300 at the IAAM championships and the Ocean Breeze Elite Invitational in New York. She also won the 55 freshman division at the Nike Indoor Nationals.
Ella Cooper, McDonogh, junior
Ella won the 500 at last year’s IAAM championships while also finishing second in the 55 and third in the 300. She set personal records and finished second in the 55 and 300 at the Ocean Breeze Elite Invitational in New York.
Ariyah Edwards, City, sophomore
Edwards was the top underclassmen as a freshman at last year’s Class 3A indoor championships in the 55 hurdles and 55 meters. She finished third overall in the hurdles and seventh in the 55.
Finley Lavin, North Harford, senior
Lavin won the Class 2A state indoor championship last year in the 500. In the outdoor season, she finished second in the UCBAC in the 400 but didn’t run any individual events at regionals.
Chloe McCarthy, St. Mary’s, senior
McCarthy won last year’s IAAM B Conference title in the 1,600 in a time that would’ve also won the A Conference crown. She also won a conference title in the 3,200 and ran the best time at this fall’s IAAM cross country championships.
Frankie Moore, Oakland Mills, junior
Moore was an important part of the Scorpions’ outdoor state title. Before the team’s breakout performance, she put forth a strong effort at last year’s indoor state meet, finishing second in the Class 2A 800 and sixth in the 1,600.
Ashleigh Porter, Francis Scott Key, junior
Porter was undefeated in the high jump at six indoor meets last season, including the Class 1A state championships. She also won the 1A state title in the event during the outdoor season.
Estelle Snider, Hereford, senior
Snider is part of a strong distance group that should keep the Bulls near the top of Baltimore County and Class 2A. She scored at states in the 800 and 1,600 and is coming off a 2A cross country state championship.
Jasmine Stanton, Century, senior
Stanton won the Class 2A state title in the 55 last year and ran on Century’s championship-winning 4x200 relay. She ran in some outdoor meets but didn’t run at regionals or states due to playing on the school’s state championship lacrosse team.
Athena Stith, Archbishop Spalding, junior
Stith is coming off a strong season for Spalding, winning the IAAM championship in the long jump and finishing second in the triple jump.
Preseason Top 15 teams
Coach: Phil Turner
Last season: Second at IAAM A Conference championships
Outlook: A strong team got even stronger with the transfer of Ella Cooper. McDonogh has strengths in every area and will be a tough team to beat.
2. Maryvale Prep
Coach: Jason Miller
Last season: IAAM A Conference champion
Outlook: Maryvale beat McDonogh at last year’s championships with strong depth in just about every event and returns a strong group to make another title run.
3. Oakland Mills
Coach: Christopher Brewington
Last season: Seventh at Class 2A state championships
Outlook: The Scorpions broke through with an outdoor championship last spring, but this has been the year the coaching staff has been pointing to for the program to succeed.
Coach: Stacy Severtson
Last season: Seventh at Class 3A state championships
Outlook: The Cardinals placed seventh at states without a senior on the roster. They were especially strong in the field events and should continue to improve across the board.
Coach: Alexis Daniel
Last season: Second at Class 2A state championships
Outlook: Though they finished a distant second behind Hereford last season, the Knights return a bulk of their point scorers, including all four runners from the state championship 4x200 relay team.
Coach: Brad Duvall
Last season: Class 2A state champion
Outlook: The Bulls have strong distance runners returning but have huge holes to fill in sprints and field events after losing Piper Lentz and Lizzie Lopez.
Coach: Eric Jenks
Last season: Second at Class 3A state championships
Outlook: The Lions were hit by graduation losses but look to Kiley Mann (distance) and Ruth Smith (state high jump champion) to lead a group looking to reload.
8. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: Jessica Beard
Last season: Tied for fourth at IAAM A Conference championships
Outlook: Jalaia Creary was the IAAM’s top sprinter not named Cooper last year as a sophomore and Athena Stith was among the conference’s top jumpers.
9. River Hill
Coach: Ammera Schmidt
Last season: Fifth at Class 3A state championships
Outlook: Larasia Buckner and Sierra Collis were underclassmen on last season’s state championship 4x200 relay team and will take over the role of team leaders this year.
10. Western Tech
Coach: Clarissa Higgins
Last season: Third at Class 1A state championships
Outlook: The Wolverines were 10 points behind Largo for the state title. One of county’s smallest schools was also second at the Baltimore County championships.
11. Notre Dame Prep
Coach: Jim Lancaster
Last season: Third at IAAM A Conference state championships
Outlook: Olivia Sobkowicz won a conference title in the 1,600 last season as a freshman and several other athletes return after placing in various events.
Coach: Michael Hamilton
Last season: 18th at Class 3A state championships
Outlook: Aliyah Edwards and Rocksann Smith were leaders as underclassmen on a team that finished as city runner-up last year and is poised to challenge for this year’s title.
Coach: Samantha Creese
Last season: Fourth at Class 2A state championships
Outlook: Sarah Johnson returns to lead the Gladiators after finishing as state runner-up in the 300 and sixth in the 55 last year. She and Alysia Zulu return from last year’s state runner-up 4x200 relay team.
Coach: Colleen Kernan
Last season: 10th at Class 3A state championships
Outlook: The Owls scored 14 points at states in the pole vault last year and return the second- and third-place finishers. Distance runner Hannah Toth is coming off a cross country state championship.
15. South Carroll
Coach: Stacie Wallace
Last season: Fifth at Class 1A state championships
Outlook: The Cavaliers bring back a strong group, including three of the four runners from last year’s state championship 4x400 relay team.
Other teams considered: Chesapeake-AA, Franklin, Mervo, Poly, Reservoir