The indoor track season is the least predictable of the three high school running seasons. Weather can often wreak havoc on the schedule and athletes come and go, with some only using the indoor season as training for a team sport.
Entering the 2018-19 indoor season, there is a rare feeling of familiarity among the Baltimore-area teams, as many of last year’s top athletes return in an effort to build upon their success.
Century cruised to the boys’ 2A state title last year on the strength of their sprinter/jumper extraordinaire Jalen Stanton. Stanton returns for his senior year hoping to lead the Knights to back-to-back titles while he defends his high jump state title.
The Franklin girls team powered their way to a 3A state title last year on the strength of their sprinting squad. Despite losing several key members from last year’s team, their depth should still allow them to compete as Jasmine Johnson will look to carry some of the load left by the departure of Cameron Hinton and Nyjari McNeil.
Since taking over the girls program as well as the boys team, Severna Park’s Josh Alcombright and his staff have built the girls team into a perennial contender. The Falcons finished second in the state last year and the return of middle distance star Emily Knight, as well as a core of the state champion girls cross country team, should make the Falcons instant contenders.
River Hill’s girls won the 2A state title by 15 points over two talented teams in South Carroll and Hereford and is poised to defend its championship as two of its most important pieces, and state champions in their own right, Sydney Robinson and Faith Meininger return.
The Baltimore Sun’s reigning outdoor track Athlete of the Year Jada Seaman, an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland champion in four events last winter, returns for her senior season as she hopes to help McDonogh challenge Mount de Sales for the IAAM title. That task will be difficult as the Sailors return their core of runners who helped them win the outdoor track title last spring and the A Conference cross country title this fall. The addition of Juliette and Isabella Whitaker, star swimmers for the Sailors, after an impressive performance outdoors last spring makes Mount de Sales even tougher to beat.
Gilman won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A conference championship by a healthy margin last winter and return middle distance stud Keith Roberts, who won the 800-meter run and anchored the winning 3,200 relay team.
Calvert Hall poses a serious threat to Gilman with a deep core of runners lead by Sean Tucker, who won the 100 and 200 in the outdoor season, as well as anchoring the winning 400 relay team.
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Despite the return of some of the area’s best runners, nothing is guaranteed, and there will be plenty of new athletes who burst onto the scene and catch observers off guard. For now, however, there are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on as the season develops.