The Elizabeth Seton girls took over the top spot on the state leaderboard in the 4x400 meter relay with their runner-up performance at Saturday's PR Holiday Invitational. (Photo by Ed Lull)
December 27: Westside Challenge
At CCBC-Catonsville on Friday Harford Tech senior Daron Taylor ran a 2:01.79 indoor personal best in the 800 meters. It's currently the 18th-fastest time in the state and even more impressive considering times from CCBC are typically slower than normal.
It wasn't the fastest performance on the day (relative to the state leaderboard) however. Caitlyn Bobb ran 41.49 in the 300 meter dash to move up to 12th in the state this season. The defending 2A state champion in the event will likely shave plenty of time off that mark heading later into the season if her 23.69 and 52.79 personal bests in the 200 and 400, respectively, are any indication.
Both Old Mill's Camron Winborne and Bowie's Brandon Nya continued stellar seasons in the sprints by breaking 6.60 seconds in the 55 meter dash for the first time all year (Nya had done so once last year, as well). The two both rank among the top 12 in the state in the event so far. Nya wasn't done for the day, either; he came back to win the 300 meter dash by over a second, setting another personal best (35.34, the top flat-track time in the state so far this winter).
Richard Montgomery senior Seydi Sall has been on and off the track for the past couple of years, but he flashed his incredible mid-distance talent on Friday in his 2020 indoor season debut. His 1:05.21 performance in the 500 meter dash is more than a second and a half faster than any other boy in Maryland so far this year and the second-fastest time in the country as of this weekend.
Broadneck's Spencer Tate missed most of his junior indoor season but so far this winter is looking like his old self once again. He followed up a 9:51 3200 performance last weekend with a 4:33 victory in the 1600 at Friday's Anne Arundel County Invitational, good for 15th on the Maryland state leaderboard.
Tanner Piotrowski won last year's 800 meter run at the indoor state meet, but after a cross country season during which he finished second at states, he is showing improvement in the longer distance races on the track. He ran 9:34.76 on Friday, an easy victory that places him currently at MD #4 (although behind county rivals Sam Keeny and Jake Gelfand).
Two of the top boys relay times in the state were run at Friday's meet. Bowie held off Howard in the boys race, where their 3:31.01 time was a MD #1 until Milford Mill ran faster over the weekend in New York; Howard's time of 3:32.55 currently ranks fourth in the state. Meanwhile the Severna Park boys narrowly missed the top time in the state in the 4x8, but did become the third team to break 8:25.
Howard's Ibrahim Khairat, still only a junior, continues to improve his triple jump performances this winter, jumping over 45 feet for the second consecutive meet. Only the Gilman duo of Josh Green and Donnie Young have recorded further jumps in the event this winter. Meanwhile, Arundel's Ali Ilupeju improved to #4 in the state in the long jump with his winning 21'4.50 performance; so far, only five boys have jumped further than 21 feet.
South River's Corey Troxler improved upon his pole vault debut from the Howard County Winter Festival, clearing 14'3.25, bumping him up to third in the state. Only one other 4A competitor, Dulaney' Adam Madro, has cleared a height better than 11'6 so far. Broadneck's Joe Simpson won a battle of some of the top throwers in Maryland, clearing 50 feet for just the second time in his career (along with last year's outdoor state meet).
The girls sprints were dominated by two talented juniors. Bowie's Dianna Koger won the 55 meter dash, lowering her personal best to 7.32 (her personal best coming into the season was 7.60). Richard Montgomery's Caia Gelli has already established herself as one of the top sprinters in the state, and last year's state champion in the 300 won the event on Friday, clocking a MD #8 time in the process.
In a clash of two of the top returning half-milers in the state, Sophia Zell beat Nimrit Ahuja in the 800 meters at Friday's meet. Zell remains undefeated through two races early on in the indoor season, while the two now rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in the state in the 800. Ahuja had also finished second to Northern's Hannah Mack in the 1600 in a race that also featured the return of former XC state champion Bronwyn Patterson.
For the second time in a week, Northern's Oakley Olson beat South Carroll's Grace Siehler in a matchup of two of the state's top cross country runners from the fall. This time it was in the 3200, as both girls (along with Annapolis' Katie Ericson and Broadneck's Madison Palmer) ran top ten times in what's been the deepest field of 3200 runners so far this year.
Teams continue to inch ever so closely to the 10:00 mark in the girls 4x800 this year. On Friday it was Severna Park's turn, as the Falcons ran 10:02.59 - a new MD #1 by a couple tenths of a second - to win going away. Six teams now have run between 10:02 and 10:09, but which will be the first to break into the single digits this winter?
Northern's Allie Droneberger beat Largo's Sanaya Ross in the high jump as they both cleared 5'2, but don't feel bad for Ross, who had quite the day in the field. The Largo senior also won both the long and triple jumps, and her performance in the latter ranks ninth in the state (and best by 1A and Prince George's County performers).
December 28: PR Holiday Invitational
At the Sportsplex on Saturday, DuVal's Jada Black became just the eighth girl in the state this season to clear 5'3 in the high jump. She is also the only sophomore among that current group of eight; only one other sophomore, Urbana's Macy Hines, has cleared better than five feet.
Quince Orchard's Kyra Lyles won her third race of the season on Saturday, running 40.37 in the 300 meter dash to outrun a strong field (mostly from Virginia). Lyles' time currently ranks fifth in the state, and unlike all but one of the girls (Bella Whittaker) in front of her, Lyles did it on a flat track at the Sportsplex. She's also the only public school athlete to have run under 40.50 this winter.
One of the best races of the day at the Sportsplex on Saturday came at the tail end of the meet in the girl's 4x400 relay. While the Elizabeth Seton girls couldn't quite close the gap on Westfield over the course of the final two legs, they did run fast enough (4:05.61) to overtake the top spot on the state leaderboard. So far, Wise is the only other school to have run sub-4:10.
Finally, Quince Orchard sophomore Manie Mevo broke into the state's top ten rankings in the triple jump on Saturday. Her 35'10.50 performance bumps her up into eighth in the state rankings, directly behind two other sophomores (Bullis' Naiyae Evans and Frederick's Ariella Kolani).
Milford Mill's Marquis Miller used the banked Armory track to clock a MD #3 performance in the 300 meter dash over the weekend. (Photo by Steven Pisano)
Bullis' David Okoli - a transfer from Watkins Mill High School - joined three other boys in the state in the sub-6.50 club so far this season in the 55 meter dash. Fellow senior Ryan Willie won both the 200 and 300 meter dashes, setting a new US #1 mark in the latter. Willie and Jay Pendarvis (second in the 200) are two of only three boys in the country this winter to have run under 22 seconds.
Both Milford Mill's Marquis Miller and River Hill's Austin Weltz took full advantage of the quick banked track up at the Armory and ran the third- and seventh-fastest times in Maryland, respectively. Miller's teammate Korede Otusajo finished fifth in the invitational 800 meters, running a MD #4 time of 1:59.30. Milford Mill flexed their mid-distance muscle in the 4x400 as well, becoming the first Maryland team to break 3:30 in the relay this year.
Finishing directly behind Otusajo in the 800 was Bullis' Nick Karayianis who finished second in the mile; his time converts down to 4:21.31 in the 1600, which would edge Oakdale's Kyle Lund for the best time in the state.
Digital Harbor's Shawn Getzen continued his breakout indoor season and became the first boy in Maryland to dip under 7.70 in the 55 meter hurdles up at the Armory over the weekend.
The Bullis sprint squad also showed out on the girls' side in New York over the weekend. Leah Phillips' 7.11 performance in the 55 meter dash, good for a comfortable victory in the finals, is the second-fastest time in the state behind only her teammate Victoria Perrow. Phillips also led her teammates in taking six of the top eight spots in the 200 meter dash finals.
In the 300, freshmen Mirai Bernard and Sage Hinton clocked the two fastest freshman times in the state, both of which rank among the top seven times in Maryland. Meanwhile Leah Phillips completed the 55-200-400 sweep; her 200 time of 24.12 leads the nation while her 55.22 mark in the 400 ranks third.
In non-Bullis news on the girls side, Flowers senior Javon Watts broke 2:20 in the 800 for the first time in her indoor career. It was the first time all year Watts competed in the 800 after sandwiching the events (400 and 1600) around it, but Watts took over the top spot on the state leaderboard in the event on her first crack at it.