The Reservoir girls scored a big comeback victory in the 4x200 at Tuesday's Howard County Championships. (Photo by Brandon Miles)
January 13: AACPS North v. South
Arundel's Hafis Upshaw set personal bests in both the 55 and 300 meter dashes. Both of his times (6.66 and 36.00, respectively), rank second behind Old Mill's Camron Winborne in Anne Arundel County.
Upshaw's teammate, Ali Ilupeju, won both the long and triple jumps, events he finished second in at the outdoor state meet last year. His 44'5 mark in the latter was a season best by two feet and elevates him to 11th on the state leaderboard.
The state lead in the pole vault exchanged hands once again on Monday as we get closer to a possible 15-foot performance. South River senior Corey Troxler cleared 14'9 for the first time in his career, indoors or outdoors, in a winning performance, passing Linganore's Carter Holsinger for the MD #1 mark. He won both the indoor and outdoor state titles in the event last year.
Seniors Anthony Knox (Milford Mill) and Nickolas Johnson (Western Tech) each set season bests in the shot put Monday evening at the Baltimore Armory. Their respective marks of 48'0.75 and 46'5.00 are the third- and fifth-best in Baltimore County this season. Johnson's throw is also third-best by a 1A athlete through Friday.
January 14: Howard County Championships
Reservoir's Jalen Jasmin has dominated the long jump this season in the state of Maryland, but even he found a way to take it to another level at Tuesday's county championships. Jasmin blew past the 23-foot mark, clearing 23'7 - which puts him at fifth on the US leaderboard after Friday's action. Jasmin also won the 55 meter dash on Tuesday, clocking a new personal best of 6.51 in the finals, the third-fastest by a 3A runner.
Centennial senior Thomas Altman continues to make his case as the top breakout athlete of the year. He ran 1:09.09 in his first attempt at the 500 meter dash back in December, and his 50.11 time in the 400 meter dash at the Hispanic Games hinted at his potential in the event. However it was still a surprise to see him dominant Tuesday's race as much as he did: a 1:06.70, two-and-a-half second victory, good enough to lead all 3A runners.
Anish Nanjappa scored 28 points in the distance events on Tuesday, but his only runner-up effort came at the hands of Long Reach junior Cameron Hindle in the 1600. Hindle won his third straight 1600 county title (indoor and outdoor) and moved up to seventh on the Maryland state leaderboard.
After sitting at 6'2 for much of the beginning of the season, Oakland Mills senior Rashaan Foster broke through on Tuesday and cleared 6'3 to easily win his first county title in the high jump. He also broke free of a group stuck at 6'2 on the state leaderboard and is one of just three athletes to have jumped 6'3 or better this winter.
Atholton's Morgan Nasir pulled out an upset victory in the 300 meter dash, pulling away from Mount Hebron's Sierrah Matthews and breaking 41 seconds for the first time. Matthews and Nasir are the only 3A girls this year to have gone under 41 seconds.
Photo by Brandon Miles
One of the most exciting races of the day was the final heat of the girls 800, featuring a battle of sophomores, Glenelg's Kaila Spence and Howard's Nimrit Ahuja. A late surge by Spence helped her secure her first Howard County title and an indoor personal best time of 2:25.58. Ahuja and Spence sit second and third, respectively, in the sophomore state rankings behind Juliette Whittaker in the 800 this year.
Perhaps the most surprising result of the day was Katerina Talanova's huge 5:18 personal best which led to an upset win over Amanda Eliker in the 1600. She had yet to break 5:30 in the 1600 heading into Tuesday's meet but was able to match the Howard duo of Eliker and Ahuja long enough to make the final pass of the race. The Centennial junior is now the third 3A girl this year to break 5:20 in the 1600.
The final section of the 4x200 pitted the top two 3A teams in the state against each other, and it was Reservoir which emerged with a come-from-behind victory over Mount Hebron. A 25.82 anchor from Adaobi Tabugbo, county champion in the hurdles and runner-up in the 55 dash, brought the Gators back and led them to a 1:46.03 season best performance. It was the top 3A time until Mount Hebron broke 1:46 at the Virginia Showcase over the weekend.
January 15: Baltimore County League Meet #7
After clearing the 50-foot mark last weekend at the Montgomery Invitational, Towson's Cory Gray upped his season best in the shot put to 51'1.25 on Wednesday. Gray passed teammate Jamiel Carlton for the team lead in the shot put and moved up to fifth on the state leaderboard, second among 3A throwers.
If the Towson boys are the premiere throwing squad in the state, then the Hereford girls represent the best group of pole vaulters, and Wednesday was yet another reminder. Junior Elizabeth Schriver hasn't lost a pole vault competition since the first meet of the indoor season, and she broke a tie with Severna Park's Sarah Adams at the top of the state rankings. Her 11'6 personal best beats out Adams by three inches, and the Bulls still have three of the top vaulters in the state.
January 16: Prince George's County Championships
It would be far from his fastest performance of the week in the 300 meter dash, but at the time 34.56 was a new personal best for Bowie's Brandon Nya to win the county title. He came back to clock a 1:06.24 personal best in the 500 meter dash (also a win), the fourth-fastest time in the state when the dust settled after the weekend.
Parkdale owned the distance events on the boys side at Thursday's meet. Senior Jafar Hussen won both the 1600 and 3200, setting indoor personal bests in each race (his 9:40.75 time is now eighth-best in 4A). Meanwhile teammate David Onwonga finished second in the 1600 and then came back to win his first county title in the 800.
More and more relay teams have been breaking the 3:30 barrier in January and Wise joined the party on Thursday, following up a 4x800 win with a 3:28.71 effort in the 4x400. It's currently the fifth-fastest time in the state and third among 4A teams (behind Bowie and South River).
Wise senior Rodney Gainous is one of the Puma's best point-scorers and he reached a new milestone at Thursday's county meet. Not only did Gainous win his first-ever PG county individual title, he broke the 50-foot barrier in the shot put as well. His 50'2 throw makes him one of nine boys this winter to have cleared the mark.
The Wise boys also have another excellent weapon in newcomer Hassun Jones. He racked up plenty of points on his own for the Wise cause on Thursday, placing third in the hurdles and high jump and winning the triple jump. His 45'9 personal best in the triple jump bumped him up to third on the state leaderboard.
Two of the state's fastest girls faced off in the finals of the 55 meter dash and each broke 7.20 seconds for the first time. Roosevelt's Safarya Cheadle edged Surrattsville's Diamond Richardson as both girls ran 7.18, making it the fastest matchup in the event on Maryland soil this year. They are the only two non-Bullis runners to have gone under 7.20 so far this season.
Three of the top eight times in the state were clocked in the 55 hurdle finals of Thursday's meet. Juniors Arie McIlwain (Flowers), Nhyona Hall (DuVal) and Tatianna Elliott (Wise) all finished between 8.41 and 8.53, all setting season bests. The three will also match up at regionals and (likely) states going forward.
One of the closest finishes of Thursday's county meet came in the 300 meter dash as Frederick Douglass' Victoya Smith edged Bowie's Dianna Koger by a few hundredths of a second. Both runners set new personal bests in the process; Smith's 40.71 time is second among 2A runners and Koger's 40.74 time is third among 4A runners.
Wise junior Jordan Mozie was once again a point machine at the county meet, as she started off the day by winning the 1600. She didn't win either the 500 or 800 (both titles went to Flowers senior Javon Watts) but she scored 14 points in the two events combined. Meanwhile, Watts and the Flowers girls closed out the day with a season-best performance in the 4x400, beating out Roosevelt and Bowie. The Jaguars were leapfrogged by a few teams this weekend on the state leaderboard but still rank seventh overall in Maryland.
The 5'4-and-up club grew by a couple athletes this week, thanks to a big performance by DuVal sophomore Jada Black. Black cleared 5'4 for the first time, although it wasn't enough to beat out Frederick Douglass senior Autumn Winston, who also cleared 5'4 and won on attempts. Of the seven girls who have cleared 5'4 or better this year, Black is the only sophomore.