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All-Metro girls track and field Performer of the Year: Nyjari McNeil, Franklin

For The Baltimore Sun

How did Nyjari McNeil top leading Franklin to the Class 3A state indoors title this winter? By winning nearly every race she ran this spring.

McNeil ran the 400, 800, 1,600 and won nearly every time she set foot on the track. She capped her season by sweeping the 400 and 800 in the Baltimore County, Class 3A North Region and state meets.

Her time of 2 minutes, 11.27 seconds in the 800 at the state meet tied for the second fastest ever in that event in any class in state meet history. She also won the 1,600 at the Baltimore County meet.

The biggest question for McNeil next year is how much can she improve? She got even better this year, a big reason the Indians took the state indoors title and remained competitive outdoors. McNeil also can help on relays — she ran them at the Penn Relays this spring — and gives Franklin so many ways to score points, which is what makes her so dangerous.

"Nyjari is incredibly impressive due to her range," Hereford coach Brad Duvall said. "She has the speed to dominate in the 200 meters but the strength to beat the best distance runners around in the 1,600 meters. I truly believe that if she needed to break 5 minutes to win the 1,600, she could."

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