1A State Meet Recap: Lackey & Largo Close As Champs

The Lackey boys and Largo girls came out on top as the MPSSAA 1A state track & field team champions this past weekend at Morgan State University. The 1A classification saw several thrilling finishes as well as a few classification meet records also going down. 

The Lackey boys had no individual champions, but many athletes with All-State scoring finishes to help them tally a grand total of 78 points ahead of the runner-up squad Largo with 62 points. Lackey's 4x400 meter relay sealed their team title winning the last race of the meet edging out Boonsboro by two hundredths of a second with their winning time of 3:29.29.

Lackey had two individual state runner-up finishers though with Dominic Hawkins throwing for a mark of 50'7" in the shot put and 151'10" in the discus throw, while Montez Berry posted a time of 2:01.36 in the 800 meter run. Linn Jordan made the finals and scored 12 points with 3rd place finishes in both the 100 (11.16) and 200 (22.66).

The Largo girls scored a vast majority of their 90 1/2 points in the field events to claim the 1A team title. Their star individual was Kendal Drewery winning state titles in both the long jump and triple jump with leaps of 17'9.50" and 37'0". Their throwers also contributed a big chunk of points taking 3 of the top 4 places in the shot put with Sierra James (2nd, 38'0"), Shardae Williams (3rd, 35'11.25"), and Rea Gray (4th, 35'3.50"). Williams and James also added another 14 points combined finishing 2nd (124'1") and 3rd (120'4") in the discus competition. 

Their field event production helped give the Largo girls a head start against another state title hopeful squad from Prince George's County in Frederick Douglass (2nd, 74 pts) who racked up more of their points on the track , but Largo finished the meet with a win on the oval as well winning the 1A girls 4x400 meter relay title in 4:08.84.

Beyond the jumper Drewery, the 1A classification saw many double winner champions. None better than Sparrows Point hurdler Mya King. Racing against arguably the toughest challengers in any classification with the likes of state champion caliber athletes in McDonogh's Alliayah Ottley and Lackey's Taylor Williams, King was able to sweep both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles against both.

King set a new 1A classification record in the prelims with a 14.28 clocking and she probably would have improved upon that performance in the finals if not for racing into a stiff headwind, but still defeating Ottley (2nd, 14.69) and Williams (3rd, 14.86) soundly in a time of 14.31. 

Not to be outdone with her race in the 100 hurdles finals, the senior King came back later to win the 1A girls 300 meter hurdles with another 1A classification meet record with a personal best time of 43.13, which is also the third fastest time this year in the state of Maryland. 

Another double winner was found in the girls sprints with Frederick Douglass senior Malia Watkins adding to her career haul of state titles from past indoor and outdoor championships. Watkins was able to withstand challenge of likely future state champion in Surrattsville freshmen Diamond Richardson (12.32) in the girls 100 dash finals with a 12.30 clocking.

Watkins had a bit more decisive win in the 200 finals later with a 24.86 performance as the only competitor under 25 seconds in the race.

Her teammate Miles Gray also celebrated two golds in the boys sprints for Frederick Douglass. Gray took complete control over the fast section of the boys 400 as the top seed pulled away to win by over a full second with his time of 49.02.

The junior was not the favorite coming into the 200 finals though as he was the 7th fastest qualifier out of 8 after the prelims. Gray surprised the race of the field and kept his momentum from his 400 victory earlier on Saturday to take first in the finals with a time of 22.46.

In the girls distance races, it was Bohemia Manor's Brooke Walz who started winning both the 1600 and 800 meter races. In the 1600 meter run, Walz was able to stay ahead of Thursday's 3200 meter state champion Macy Gerbes of Sparrows Point en route to a 5:17.17 win by the junior.

In the 800, Walz sat back in the field for much of the first 600 meters of the race before passing several of the early last race leaders off the final turn for her second win of the meet in a time of 2:22.11.

The boys distance events saw two defending state champions remain as champs with Boonsboro's Donovan McClellan in the 800 and Bohemia Manor's Alex Longeway in the 3200. McClellan anchored the Boonsboro boys to a first place finish in the 4x800 meter relay on Thursday with a 1:57 anchor leg split and came back on Saturday to run a nearly identical time to win the open 800 title for the second year in a row with a time of 1:57.78.

Longeway's chances of repeating as the 3200 champ looked bleak on the final lap with McClellan's teammate at Boonsboro in Henry Schmidt with a commanding lead, but Schmidt hit the wall badly to allow Longeway to chase him down for a 9:52.48 season best win. Schmidt was able to get some redemption on Saturday though in defeating Longeway and the rest of the boys 1600 meter field in a personal best time of 4:26.34 for the win.

Boonsboro did benefit from the opposite in another team's runner struggling physically to finish in Thursday's 4x800 meter relay race for the 1A girls. Emma Strickland, the 1A indoor state champ in the 800, appeared to have the state title wrapped up for the Catoctin girls coming off the final turn, but she hit a wall physically which allowed Boonsboro's anchor to pass her with the finish in sight for a winning time of 9:59.

Carver A&T's Karah Moore was part of two upsets on Saturday. Individually, the 1A North Regional champion was able to defeat the 1A South Regional champion and pre-race favorite in Autumn Winston from Frederick Douglass with a personal best time of 57.38. 

She then spoiled another expected win for the Frederick Douglass girls when she anchored the Carver A&T girls to a 48.68 first place clocking over Douglass in the 4x100 meter relay.

One of the closest finishes of the meet regardless of classifications was found in the 1A boys 110 meter hurdles finals between familiar rivals Anthony Egurola of Bohemia Manor and Kyle Noll of Crisfield. The two finished near dead even that the usual quick turnaround of times displaying on the scoreboard by the timing crew never happened as they had to move along to the next race. Ultimately, the times could be found online to view giving Erugola the win who appeared to have the edge anyways at the view of a naked eye in a 14.80 clocking over Noll at 14.80.

Noll was able to split wins with Erugola as later came back to win the 300 meter hurdles in a 39.49 as he actually kept Miles Gray of Frederick Douglass from becoming a 3-time state champion on the weekend as the runner-up in 39.90.

The McDonogh girls rolled to a swift 1:44.67 victory in the 4x200 meter relay on Thursday. Western Tech was able to hold off Largo for the 1A boys 4x200 title in 1:31.16, but Largo was able to come back on Saturday to enjoy a sprint state title in the 4x100 at 43.89.

In the boys field events, there was three sophomore state champions with Brunswick's Jackson Tuomey clearing 13'6" in the pole vault, Pikesville's William Joseph leaping 44'4.25" in the triple jump, and Havre de Grace's Khalif Charlton over 6'2" in the high jump. Fort Hill sophomore Ryann Bennett also won the girls discus with an outstanding mark of 128'4.

Big throws by other state champion 1A throwers with Largo senior Henry Kanu at 52'3" in boys' shot, Overlea's Rodney Gross at 153'3" in the boys' discus, and Perryville's Emani Bell at 38'6.75" in the girls' shot.

Bell's teammate Ellie Kuhn cleared a height of 10 feet win the 1A girls' pole vault competition.

Friendly junior Endia Scales went over 5'4" to win the girls high jump with Autumn Winston of Frederick Douglass finishing as a runner-up for a second time in the meet (400 as well) at 5'2".