Photo by Craig Amoss
January 17: IAAM/MIAA Championships
For the second consecutive winter, Calvert Hall's Sean Tucker was crowned as the fastest man in the conference, edging Mount St. Joseph's Teddy Wimberly in the 55 meter dash. He ran 6.46 (tied for MD #8) in the finals for the third consecutive meet.
Pallotti junior Carl Hicks nearly pulled off the 300/500 double on Friday evening. Hicks was dominant in his win in the 300 meter dash, as he was the only boy in the race to go under 36 seconds. He then finished as the runner-up to McDonogh's Owen Pett in a race that went down to the wire. Owen's brother, Spencer, completed the sibling dominance in the mid-distance events with a 1:56.24 performance in the 800. The Pett brothers also teamed up to lead McDonogh to a victory and a MD #7 time in the 4x400.
Owen Johnson was instrumental in Calvert Hall's team title as he won both the 1600 and 3200. He went 1-2 in the latter with teammate, junior Andrew Myers, who moved up to ninth in the state rankings in the event.
If the hurdle finals on Friday were any indication there will be plenty more great battles in the future between sophomores JB Brooks (Gilman), Thomas Smith (Calvert Hall) and Jason Holmes-Williamson (Calvert Hall). The trio finished 1-2-3, respectively, in the finals, the top two tying at 7.68 seconds (both personal bests). Brooks and Smith are two of just four boys in Maryland to have run under 7.70 seconds this year and the three are the only sophomores in the state to have run under eight seconds.
For at least 12 hours the Spalding boys held the top time in the state in the 4x800 after running 8:07 on Friday evening. Anchored by senior Henry Hardart, who ran a 1:55 leg, the Cavaliers became the first team in Maryland to go under 8:10.
Four boys made the long jump finals on Friday very interesting. In the end it was Gilman sophomore Donnie Young emerging with his first MIAA title; his 21'4.75 personal best is a MD #7 and best among sophomores. Calvert Hall's Jhaden Sydnor and Gilman's Josh Green both set season bests as well, establishing MIAA as the long jump capital of Maryland: five of the top ten marks of the indoor season belong to an MIAA competitor.
Archbishop Curley's Samuel Burke joined the 50-foot club earlier this season at the Frostbite Invitational and upped his personal best on Friday. His 50'6.75 throw elevated him to seventh on the state leaderboard and another stepping stone in his breakout season: he entered the year with a personal best of 45'8.50.
Bella Whittaker was all smiles after her 500 meter performance on Friday, which was just one of her three individual victories as the Whittaker sisters swept every running event (outside of the hurdles). Her 1:12.67 run in the 500 was a US #1 for a short while, and still sits at fourth on the US leaderboard after the Virginia Showcase. Whittaker also tied her personal best in the 55 dash (7.20), comfortably won the 300 and rounded out her day by bringing the Sailors back for a win in the 4x400.
Meanwhile, sister Juliette spent her evening racking up points in the distance events. Her first race was probably the most impressive, as she erased a deficit with ease on the final leg of the 4x800 (running an unofficial 2:15 split). She followed that up with wins in the 1600, 800 and 3200, respectively.
Photo by Craig Amoss
Outside of the Whittaker sisters, Roland Park's Alayna Gibson likely had the best performance of the meet. Gibson anchored the 4x800 team to a fourth-place finish to start the day, then proceeded to finish in the top three in the 1600, 800 and 3200.
Maryvale Prep senior Tara Coyne scored 18 points in the jumps to help the Lions' winning cause on Friday. She cleared 5'2 for the first time in her career to win the A conference high jump, edging Pallotti juniors Skylia Day and Delaina Callaway, each of whom cleared five feet. Coyne wasn't done setting personal bests, either; she finished second in the long jump at 16'4, tied with McDonogh sophomore Nyla Cherry.
Speaking of Cherry, she was a double winner at the conference championships; not only did she set a new personal best to win the long jump, she also ran 8.95 - her first time under nine seconds this winter - to handily win the 55 hurdles. Only two sophomores - Bullis teammates Mikaela Lyons and Noa Smith - have run faster.
The Hagerstowns dominated the 55 dash finals on Friday up at Hagerstown Community College. North's Devon Napier won, setting a new personal best (6.54, MD 3A #5) in the process. South Hagerstown grabbed the next three spots, led by senior Khalil Booker. Napier and fellow junior teammate Alex Tema Abanke also went 1-2 in the 300 meter dash.
1A state XC champion Zane Chalker remained undefeated on the season in both the 1600 and 3200 by winning county titles in both events on Friday. Chalker shaved three and a half seconds off his 1600 time and now sits sixth on the 2A leaderboard in the event.
South Hagerstown's Charlie Hoston scored at both the indoor and outdoor state championships last year in the high jump. On Friday he raised his season best to 6'1, mark he had only topped twice last season. He currently sits fourth on the state's 3A leaderboard.
Smithsburg's Daylie Younker had previously only run the 500 meter dash, but after a breakthrough cross country season during which she won the 1A state title, she has transitioned to the distance events on the track as well. Younker won both the 1600 and 3200 at Friday's county championships, setting a personal best in the former. She currently leads 1A runners in the 3200 and ranks second in the 1600.
Both North Hagerstown's Brianna Smith and Boonsboro's Nia Brown set indoor personal bests in the high jump, clearing 5'1. Smith currently ranks second among 3A jumpers behind Northern's Allie Droneberger, while Brown is fourth on the 2A leaderboard.
Over 20 Maryland teams traveled down to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, for the third annual Virginia Showcase over the weekend. There were so many great performances, so we'll recap some of the best storylines from the weekend's mega-meet!
Nya ascends to national spotlight
Brandon Nya's breakout senior season has been well-documented, and he took it to yet another level over the weekend. He won both the 200 (21.48) and 300 (33.75) down in Lynchburg, setting MD #1 marks in both events, and ranks among the top four nationally as well. Nya also helped Bowie finish second in the 4x200 (1:28.81, MD #1 and US #5) and third in the 4x400 (3:27.07, MD #2).
The new best hurdler in Maryland history?
Photo by Mary Ann Magnant
A couple of years ago, Bullis' Masai Russell had made her case for the title as top hurdler in Maryland state history. Russell set a 7.81 55 hurdle personal best back at New Balance Indoor Nationals in 2018, but Phillips surpassed that mark - and then some - over the weekend. Phillips ran 7.72 in the finals, breaking 7.80 seconds for the first time and taking over the top mark in the country. She had already made a case as one of the best hurdlers in the country as a junior when she ran 7.93, but she is truly in historic territory after this past weekend.
Out of state, onto the national leaderboard
Harford Tech's Caitlyn Bobb made headlines two weeks ago when she set a new personal best and meet record at the Southern Maryland Track Classic. That was nothing compared to the performances she was able to throw down on the banked track at Liberty University this weekend. She won the championship sections of both the 300 and 500 meters, placing in the top eight nationally in both events in the process.
4A 4x8 fields come into clearer view
Photo by Mary Ann Magnant
The Richard Montgomery boys came away over the weekend with a big win in the 4x800; the team of Garrett Suhr, Seydi Sall, Aiden Goldenberg-Hart and Elias Applebaum clocked a US #1 time of 7:55.06 - it's the fastest indoor time by a Maryland team since DeMatha ran 7:53.23 in 2011. Severna Park and Northwood also finished in the top six, and now three of the four teams in the state to have gone under 8:10 are from the 4A classification. On the girls' side, Walter Johnson became the second team in Maryland to break 10 minutes, with Severna Park just behind at 10:00. The two teams rank second and third in Maryland behind fellow 4A team Urbana.
January 18: Eastern Shore HS Invitational
Bohemia Manor sophomore Day Leone made the most of his first race outside of CCBC-Essex this year, setting a personal best in the 3200. Leone was one of the top 1A runners in the state this fall and his 10:11.86 performance on Saturday places him second on the 1A state leaderboard behind only Pikesville's Kaleb Berhanu.
Brooke Walz is one of the state's top returning 800 meter runners and a three-time state champion. She's back on the track this winter as the defending 1A 1600 state champion, and on Saturday she won both the 1600 and 800 down at UMES. Walz currently ranks second among 1A runners in the 800 and third in the 1600.
Wright senior Peter Capozzoli set a new indoor personal best in the 800 (2:00.80) that fell just shy of his outdoor personal best. Only two 3A boys, Tamrat Snyder and Anish Nanjappa, have run faster this winter. Fellow senior Lindsey Perry set season bests in both the 800 and the mile; her 800 time (2:26.34) is also third-fastest in the 3A classification.