Pallotti's Carl Hicks is enjoying perhaps a breakout indoor season as a junior; he has won both of his races at MIAA conference meets and ranks among the top five runners in the state in both the 300 and 500. (Photo by Craig Amoss)
December 17: Howard County Meet #2
The River Hill boys ran an 'A' team in the 4x8, and it resulted in what was then a MD #1 time of 8:23.87. It was surpassed on Saturday by North Point at the Howard County Winter Festival, setting up a potential race between two of the top teams in the state later this winter at the 3A state meet.
The Atholton girls also ran an 'A' squad in the 4x8 on Tuesday, running away with a 10:24.80 victory, tying Kent Island for the ninth-fastest time in the state this year. No other Howard County team has run within 15 seconds of Atholton's time so far which, at the time, was tied for third-fastest in Maryland.
Another Raider, senior Madison Garrigus, had a solid performance on Tuesday evening. She won her second straight league meet pole vault competition of the year, clearing 10 feet for the second week in a row. Garrigus also won the high jump, clearing five feet for just the second time in her career (she did it at last year's 3A East outdoor regional meet). She wouldn't be done in the pole vault for the week, either.
December 18: Pat Russo Invitational
Takai Davis could be breaking out for the James M. Bennett boys as a senior this winter. Davis has finished second in each of his three 55 meter dash competitions so far this year, including a 6.60-second personal best on Wednesday. It's tied for the 12th-fastest time in the state and second-fastest on the Eastern Shore behind Charles Townsend.
Kent Island's Reese Delp made her mark on the cross country course this fall and is already one of the top mid-distance freshmen in Maryland this winter. Her 2:32 victory in the 800 at the Pat Russo Invitational was the fastest time by a freshman girl until Hereford's Lily Moore ran 2:31 at the Howard County Winter Festival on Saturday.
North Caroline junior Samantha Cash continues to dominate on the Eastern Shore this year. She won three events on Wednesday: the 500 meter dash, 55 meter hurdles and high jump. She leads the Bayside conference in all three events and ranks in the top four among 2A competitors.
Huntingtown senior Anthony Smith took over the ongoing race for the title of "fastest runner in Maryland" on Wednesday, going under 6.50 in the 55 meter dash for the first time in the finals. It also ties Westlake's Will Moten for the fastest time by a SMAC runner this decade. He also won the 300 meter dash in a time (36.19) that still ranks 11th in the state.
The Wedding brothers, Zachary and Jeffrey, went 1-2 in the 1600; their times of 4:24.21 and 4:27.30, respectively, are both indoor personal bests and rank fourth and eighth in the state after the action this weekend.
Anthony Smith was the runaway winner in the high jump (6'6) once again, but Northern's Josh Bauman turned in an impressive performance of his own. The senior cleared 6'2 for the first time in his career (he would repeat the same effort on Saturday at the Howard County Winter Festival) and is one of eight boys currently in the state to have done so.
Thomas Stone freshman Takiya Henson keeps winning races, as she edged Lackey's Daynah Desir by one hundredth of a second in the 55 meter dash. Her 7.36 time leads all freshmen in Maryland so far this winter and the two girls rank 10th and 11th in the state, respectively. She also set a personal best in the 300 (41.89) that is the top freshman time by a public school runner this year.
Parker O'Brien showed some of her range on Wednesday, winning both the 500 and 800. Normally an 800/1600 runner, O'Brien ran 1:23.34 and 2:27.22 in her impressive double, the latter of which ranks seventh this season in the state.
Meanwhile, the Northern distance machine keeps churning as freshman Nicole Bissett has emerged as a potential key contributor on the state level for the Patriots. Her debut for Northern on Wednesday resulted in a narrow victory over Calvert's Kristen Prince in the 1600 and a MD #8 time in the event. So far she is the only freshman in the state to have run under 5:30 in the 1600 this winter.
Speaking of track and field rookies, Westlake's LeNisha Chance has cleared five feet in the high jump in each of the past two SMAC league meets. Her 5'2 winning jump on Wednesday made her just the seventh girl in the state to have cleared the mark this indoor season.
There weren't many fast relay performances run at the Baltimore Armory on Wednesday evening, but there was a matchup of three of the best throwers in the state. Howard's Collin Greene made the biggest statement of the day, winning the shot put with a massive 54-foot throw. He has cleared 50 feet in each of his first three competitions this year after entering the winter having only done so once (last year's outdoor state meet where he threw 50'4.50). Howard's Christopher Joseph (48'10) and Broadneck's Joe Simpson (47'9) finished second and third, respectively.
December 19: BCPS League Meet #4
Dulaney's Adam Madro, last spring's 4A state runner-up in the pole vault, won his second straight competition to begin his indoor senior season. At 13 feet, his performance ties him for seventh in the state with five other vaulters.
The Bowie boys became the first 4x2 relay squad in the state to break 1:32 this year at Thursday's PG County Relays. They edged out-of-state Huntington (NY) and Roosevelt to win one of the most exciting 4x2 battles of the year to date. Their 1:31.98 time stood as the fastest performance in the state for two days until DeMatha ran 1:31.96 at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday; Roosevelt (#3) and Wise (#5) still rank as two of the top five teams in the state after Thursday's race.
Two of those teams, Wise and Bowie, came back to clock fast times in the 4x4. Wise finished second to Huntington in the fast section, while Bowie finished just a couple hundredths of a second behind Wise while winning the previous section. Their respective times of 3:32.38 and 3:32.42 still lead Maryland after the weekend.
The Wise boys also made it a three-peat on the state leaderboard, finishing second in the boys 4x8 with a MD #3 time of 8:28.29. It's also the fastest time by a 4A team this season.
Frederick Douglass-PG senior Geo-di Tolbert was the 1A state runner-up in the triple jump last spring and has carried that momentum back into this winter. Tolbert easily won the triple jump at Thursday's county relays, clearing 44 feet in the event for the first time. He is one of eight boys in the state to have jumped at 44 feet in Maryland.
The girls 4x2 also provided one of the closest finishes of the week, as Huntington and Roosevelt went 1:45.73 and 1:45.88, respectively, in the fast section. The Raiders are still the only girls team in the state to have run under 1:46 so far this year (and only two others, Elizabeth Seton and Mount Hebron, have run sub-1:47).
Just like in the boys 4x4, the girls race totally reshaped the early state rankings in the event. The Wise girls ran 4:07.98 for the win and are still the only team in the state to have broken 4:10. Oxon Hill (fourth, 4:12.22), Bowie (fifth, 4:12.44) and Roosevelt (sixth, 4:15.90) rank third, fourth and sixth in Maryland after the weekend.
The Wise girls also won the 4x8 on Thursday, just missing what was then a MD #1 time. Their 10:07.83 performance now ranks third after Walter Johnson ran 10:03 to take the state lead on Saturday, while Oxon Hill and Flowers also broke 10:20 for the first time this season and rank sixth and seventh in the state.
Old Mill junior Hafsat Bakare briefly took over the top spot in the state in the shot put after her 37'10 winning throw beat out Dunbar's DeMya Campbell. Bakare ranks second in the state after Largo's Sierra James became the first Maryland girl to throw 38 feet at Saturday's Howard County Winter Festival.
December 20: MIAA/IAAM Meet #2
Three-time varsity MIAA champion Sean Tucker is back as a senior for Calvert Hall and kicked off his indoor season with a bang on Friday night. His 6.50 time in the final section of the 55 meter dash is tied for the third-fastest time in the state so far this season; Tucker ran 6.49 last year to win the conference title in the event.
St. Vincent Pallotti junior Carl Hicks has wasted no time in setting personal bests so far this season. After winning the 300 meter dash at last week's conference meet, Hicks held off McDonogh's Owen Pett to win the 500 meter dash on Friday to set a new personal best of 1:07.57. Before Saturday's action it was the third-fastest time in the state (and current MD #5).
In a battle of two returning sub-4:20 milers, Gilman's Beck Wittstadt went wire-to-wire to win the 1600 at Friday's meet. Wittstadt (4:22.01) and Spalding senior Henry Hardart (4:23.00) ran MD #2 and #3 times, trailing only Oakdale's Kyle Lund, in a matchup that will surely be seen again throughout the rest of the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Both Gilman and Calvert Hall will be competing for the MIAA team title this year and in no race may the two teams be stronger than the 55 meter hurdles. Gilman's JB Brooks and Gus Cortezi went 1-2 in Friday's race followed by three Cardinals (Jason Holmes-Williamson, Ty Trinh and Thomas Smith). All five hurdlers currently rank among the top 12 in the state.
The two teams also clashed in the horizontal jumps, resulting in some of the best marks in the state. Trinh came back and jumped 21'10 to win the boys long jump, the second-best mark in the state so far. Trinh also finished second (45'0.50) in the triple jump, sandwiched by Gilman's Josh Green (45'8.75) and Donnie Young (44'10.50). The three had the three best marks in the state before Howard's Ibrahim Khairat slid ahead of Trin with his performance on Saturday.
In the pole vault, two rivals from Archbishop schools (Curley and Spalding) tied at 13'6. Spalding's Brandon Shin and Curley's Ian Hoffman are two members of an exclusive six-member group that have cleared the mark so far this winter. Finally, McDonogh's Alex Clevenger won his second straight MIAA regular season shot put competition, throwing a personal best of 48'4.50. He has thrown at least 47 feet in each of his three tries so far this year after having thrown over 45 feet just once through last spring.
Bella Whittaker used Friday's meet as a brief (emphasis on the word brief) tune-up for her eventual record-setting performance on Saturday. She ran 7.35 to win the girls 55 meter dash, which puts her ninth on the state leaderboard.