The top-ranked McDonogh girls have relied heavily on depth to grow into the area's dominant track and field team the past few years. But unranked Franklin surprised the Eagles with that same formula Saturday.
Franklin didn't take first in a single event at the Pikesville Track Classic, but the Indians earned top-three finishes in nine of the 18 events to win with 84 points. McDonogh won seven times, but that wasn't enough, as the Eagles (72 points) settled for second.
No. 8 Mount Hebron finished third with 70 points, as Michaela Wilkins won the 400 meters and 800 meters and the Vikings also took the 1,600 relay. But this was Franklin's day.
"I thought we could compete well," Indians coach Paul Hannsen said. "This will build confidence, and I'm proud of them."
Franklin scored heavily in the field events and took the lead for good late by scoring 18 points in the long jump. Najatee McNeil (second, eight points), Morgan Colbert (third, six) and Olivia Gruner (fourth, four) combined to give the Indians a 13-point lead with three events remaining.
Ashley Brannock earned two second-place finishes (400 and tie for second in high jump), ran on the third-place 400-meter relay and took fifth in the 200. Gruner also took third in the pole vault and triple jump and sixth in the high jump.
Imani Jackson ran on the second-place 800 relay and took sixth in the 100. Aliya Sharp ran on the third-place 400 relay and was fourth in the 400.
Franklin needed all of that because McDonogh earned two wins apiece from Lakin Hatcher (100, 200) and Autumne Franklin (100 and 300 hurdles). Jessica Caldwell won the triple jump, Brianna Jacobs took the shot put, and the Eagles captured the 800 relay.
Autumne Franklin battled Old Mill's Alexis Franklin — no relation — in one of the best matchups of the day in the 300 hurdles. The Harvard-bound Franklin got off to a good start and pulled away from Old Mill's runner, who is headed for Ohio State, to set a meet record in 42.33 seconds.
"Competing against other people in your realm is good, "Autumne Franklin said. "You can't improve [as much] running against people who are slower."
No. 5 Reservoir rallied late to edge Wilde Lake for the boys team title, 68-61.
Wilde Lake led for much of the meet, despite battling a number of problems with injury and illness, but the Gators came on at the end.
"We came here to the meet focusing strictly on individual events," Reservoir coach Phil Rogers said. "We didn't think we'd be able to pull this off — it wasn't even on our radar."
The Gators' Mike Motta won the 200. Timmy Usher took the 800 and finished second in the 400. D.J. Pickens was second in the shot put, and Devin Davis was third in the discus. The Gators clinched the title by winning the final event, the 1,600 relay.
Julian Woods of Century won three individual events — the 110 and 300 hurdles plus the triple jump. McDonogh's Roman Braglio, who has signed to play football at Maryland next year, took both the shot put and discus.
FOR RESULTS FROM THE MEET, CLICK HERE.