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2018-19 High School Male Athlete of the Year: Century four-season star Jalen Stanton

2018-19 High School Male Athlete of the Year: Century four-season star Jalen Stanton
Jalen Stanton is the 2018-19 male athlete of the year. He is a star lacrosse player from Century High school. (Xavier Plater / Baltimore Sun)

A pasta dinner, plenty of water and Gatorade, and a good night’s sleep set up one of the busiest days Jalen Stanton savored during his stellar athletic career at Century.

On May 15, his first stop was Oakdale, where he competed and qualified in four events at a region track meet.

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He then had an hour to make it to Damascus for the Class 2A West Region lacrosse championship game, scoring three goals in leading the Knights to a 9-2 win.

Stanton repeated the process two days later in the region championships for track and state semifinals for lacrosse. By the end of his final high school season a week later — closing his four-sport career — he helped the lacrosse team make school history with its first state championship game appearance and won three individual state titles as the Knights took second in the 2A outdoor track and field championships.

Century wide receiver Jalen Stanton makes a catch during an afternoon practice in Eldersburg Wednesday, August 29, 2018.
Century wide receiver Jalen Stanton makes a catch during an afternoon practice in Eldersburg Wednesday, August 29, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Also a standout wide receiver in football and a winner of four individual state titles in indoor track and field, Stanton has been chosen as The Baltimore Sun’s repeat High School Male Athlete of the Year.

The recent Century grad, who is set to play lacrosse at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., made the most of his full-plate senior year with his work ethic, team-first approach and blazing speed. He closed out his four-year career with 13 varsity letters, nine individual state track titles and fond memories and valuable life lessons.

“I never really had time to sit down and look back at my career until it was all over,” he said. “It started coming to me lately and I feel really satisfied with what I’ve done. So now, I’m finally feeling it and it’s nice, but I still have to work hard to get to the places I want to be.”

Century senior Jalen Stanton is the 2019 Carroll County Times Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Century senior Jalen Stanton is the 2019 Carroll County Times Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

All of his Century coaches said the same thing when asked to point out what makes Stanton such a special athlete. For starters, the same Jalen Stanton that walked through Century’s doors as a freshman in 2014 is the same Jalen Stanton that graduated last month in regards to his priorities in athletics. It was always about the teams he played on, enjoying relationships and doing the best he could to succeed.

“He has won a bunch of awards and has always been told he is amazing, but he’s really humble, a great teammate and friends with everyone on the team, which doesn’t always happen with someone of that kind of talent,” Century lacrosse coach Jeremy Benson said.

In his junior outdoor track season, Stanton came away with second-place finishes in the 200-meter dash, 110 hurdles and the high jump. While lacrosse is his top sport and the one he always planned to play at the next level, he still took time to refine his techniques in track to turn those second-place finishes into firsts. The win in hurdles this spring was the one that made him most proud.

Century's Jalen Stanton winds up for a shot on Parkside's goal during a 2A state semifinal boys lacrosse game at Northeast High School in Pasadena on Friday, May 17.
Century's Jalen Stanton winds up for a shot on Parkside's goal during a 2A state semifinal boys lacrosse game at Northeast High School in Pasadena on Friday, May 17. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

“With the little amount of time I had to practice, I worked a lot on the small technical things, which I think ended up being a big difference for me,” he said. “One example is the hurdles. I have always been a good hurdler, but this year I worked on leaning and getting my steps perfect.”

After two days of competing in both sports the week before, Stanton played the entire state championship lacrosse game May 21 (he scored a team-high three goals in a loss to Glenelg) and competed in track state qualifiers two days later before winning three state crowns.

Throughout, he was never rattled. Even when he had to change into his lacrosse uniform in the car on the way to one of the Knights’ playoff games, he arrived five minutes before the opening faceoff.

“I knew when I got there I was going to be able to perform. [I] was confident in myself, so it wasn’t a big deal,” he said. “I felt my head was already in the right place no matter what, so on the way over, I didn’t worry about the small stuff.”

Benson was regularly amazed watching Stanton blow by everybody with speed he had never seen before on the lacrosse field. Track and field coach Dyron Johnson was just as impressed with how Stanton performed in pressure situations in the countless events he would dominate in the short time after lacrosse games.

“It takes a toll on your body to play a full lacrosse game and then be able to come back a couple days later and compete in track at the level he did. It just speaks to the competitive athlete he is,” Johnson said. “He’s one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever coached, but he’s real humble about it. It’s not just competing for himself — he’s there to do whatever he can for the team.”

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Looking forward to college, Stanton is excited for the chance to solely focus on playing lacrosse. He had offers to play at some Division I schools, but Lynn, a D-II school that plays in the Sunshine State Conference, suited him just fine.

“I visited Lynn University and loved it,” he said. “The team stood out to me and I walked in and could immediately tell that this is the place I should be. Also, I’m done with the cold weather up here.”

With plans to study business and sports management, Stanton, an avid Dallas Cowboys fan, said his dream position would be working in the front office of a professional sports team.

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