South River girls and Long Reach boys win state indoor track titles
By By Jeff Seidel and For The Baltimore Sun
Feb 18, 2014 at 11:25 PM
LANDOVER — The South River girls and Long Reach boys both won their first state indoor track titles on Tuesday, but it wasn't easy for either team.
The No. 5 Seahawks won the Class 4A state title thanks to some balance and one first-place finish. The No. 7 Lightning won three races and used a third-place finish in the 1,600 — the final event — to beat out Centennial for the Class 3A championship at the Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex.
Reilly Wagner was South River's only winner. She took the high jump, but the Seahawks used second-place finishes from Carly Bunting (3,200-meter dash), Lea Carter (pole vault) and Kali Dawson (55 hurdles).
That let the Seahawks finish with 43.5 points, enough to beat out Clarksburg (34.5).
"They just worked hard," South River coach Hugh Harris said. "We just dug deep [and] somehow, we won."
Long Reach used a small group to post 42 points and top Centennial (36). The teams were deadlocked heading into the last event when Robert Carter, Tosin Oyewole, Clarence Smalley and Eric Thomas combined for the third-place finish and six championship points.
Carter won the 55 hurdles while Oyewole captured the 300. The same quartet won the 800 relay.
Those points proved enough for a title.
"That was our goal [during] the last two weeks of practice," Carter said. "We wanted to get [to] the states and perform well."
Alec Font won the 3,200 for Centennial, but the Eagles came up just short.
The No. 7 Milford Mill girls also came up just short. Huntingtown (67.5) edged out the Millers by one-half point in Class 3A. Adaeze Amaefule won the 500, and the Millers also captured the 1,600 at the end, but it wasn't enough.
The best individual performance of the night belonged to Franklin pole vaulter Olivia Gruver. She set a new state record — for all four classes — winning the title with a vault of 13 feet. That wiped out her memories of not clearing any height in last year's state meet.
"That was my goal today, to get to 13," Gruver said. "I was kind of nervous at the beginning, after I cleared no height last year … but [relaxed] after clearing [once]."
Karli Smiraglia of Reservoir and River Hill's Chris Heydrick were the only local runners to win two races individually. Both runners took the 800 and 1,600 in Class 3A.
Severna Park's Ryan Forsyth won the Class 4A state title in cross country and, on this night, he ran away from the field to set a new state record — for all four classes — in 9:16.
Isabel Griffith of Dulaney won her first indoor state title with an impressive victory in the Class 4A 3,200. She took the lead from the start and ran away from the field to win in 11:03.04.
Griffith didn't even compete during indoors until January because her training was pushed back due to her training for the cross country nationals, held in early December. She won the Class 4A state title in cross country and was delighted to get another state crown.
"I was trying to be in control today," Griffith said. "I'm really happy with the [race]."
Robert Miller of City was hoping to win three individual events but finished with three very close second-place finishes, falling to Oyewole, Carter and Reservoir's Bryan Sosoo (55 dash).
Poly's Tabitha Pyatt won the Class 3A high jump. Danny Stringer of Severna Park won the Class 4A pole vault, while Glenelg's Calvin Pitney won the Class 3A vault.