One Year Later: Breakout Boys Athletes

Wise junior Joshua Edmonds sliced a big chunk off his personal best in the 500 meter dash at the Virginia Showcase; only Richard Montgomery's Seydi Sall has run faster this season. (Photo by Mary Ann Magnant)

Track and field is a sport of progress and growth. Improvements in any event can be tracked and monitored easier than any almost any other sport. As we head into the home stretch of the 2020 indoor season, let's take a moment to spotlight some of the girls who have improved the most in every event dating back to last indoor season.

Last year's outdoor and/or this year's cross country performances are not taken into account - we are simply looking at last indoor season to this indoor season, one full year of elapsed time. Also, freshmen are not included, but we will continue to highlight the top freshmen in the state as the year goes on.

55 dash: Shavar Staats (Junior, Milford Mill High School)

In his sophomore indoor season Staats was not one of the Millers' varsity sprinters and only broke seven seconds in the 55 meter dash once. Improvement during the spring (11.24 in the 100 meter dash) followed, but even compared to the spring his current indoor season has been a massive breakout. He ran a MD #9 6.46 at the Hispanic Games and most recently won the Baltimore County title.

300 dash: Joseph Bruno (Senior, Northwest High School)

The latest sprinter to emerge from the track and field juggernaut at Northwest, Bruno has come out of nowhere this indoor season to jump into the top 12 in the state in the 300 meter dash. He set a personal best of 35.63 at the Montgomery County Championships last week in a race in which he came very close to winning.

500 dash: Joshua Edmonds (Junior, Henry A. Wise High School)

Edmonds finished fourth at the 4A indoor state meet as a sophomore in the 500 and then set a new personal best in his first race of the season (Ed Bowie Invitational). However, it was Edmonds' MD #2 1:05.37 performance at the Virginia Showcase that earns him a spot on this list, as well as potential state title contender status.

800 run: Tamrat Snyder (Senior, Damascus High School)

Going back one calendar year, Snyder hadn't competed at 100% since the previous spring season. Even during a comeback 2019 spring season, Snyder focused more on the 1600 and 3200. So far this winter, however, Snyder has completed a transformation into one of the top mid-distance runners in the state, most recently winning Montgomery County titles in the 500 and 800. He currently ranks second in the state in the 800 and third in the 500.

1600 run: Carson Sloat (Junior, Severna Park High School)

Sloat's emergence during the fall (fourth at the XC state championships) helped the Falcons secure yet another dominant team title. Last spring Sloat ran 1:56.89 in the 800, but that was the true beginning of his breakout, as he only raced a handful of times in the 500 during the winter. He has already cut off nearly six seconds from his 1600 personal best this winter, most recently winning the Anne Arundel County title.

3200 run: Andrew Myers (Junior, Calvert Hall High School)

Last spring, Myers ran a 9:43 3200, good for fourth at the MIAA Championships; before last spring, however, Myers was mostly a 1600 runner. After running cross country for the first time this fall, helping the Cardinals secure a league title, he has lowered his personal best this winter to 9:36.18 - ninth-fastest in the state, and third among juniors. He finished second alongside teammate Owen Johnson at the MIAA Championships.

55 hurdles: Isaac Ojo (Senior, Laurel High School)

After entering the indoor season with a personal best of 8.35 in the 55 meter hurdles, Ojo has run under eight seconds at every single meet this season. His 7.75 time ranks seventh in Maryland, and he recently captured his first Prince George's County title in the event.

Shot Put: Ethan Hart (Senior, Linganore High School)

We mentioned Hart's milestone throw at the Frederick County Championships last week, and it was that throw, which elevated him into elite status in the shot put, that also makes his case for this pick. His 51'0.50 throw that won him his first county title was a staggering ten feet and one inch further than his personal best throw from last winter. He is currently one of ten Maryland boys to have thrown over 50 feet this year.

High Jump: Leroy Neal (Junior, Richard Montgomery High School)

This position could really go to a trio of Montgomery County boys (along with Northwest's Bryce Middleton and Darius Lorfils), all whom have cleared 6'4 this winter after not reaching even six feet last indoor season. The difference for Neal is that he is a newcomer for the Rockets, coming over from South Hagerstown (where he jumped 5'10 last spring) and becoming one of just five boys in Maryland to have cleared 6'4.

Long Jump: Mekhi Landon (Senior, Reservoir High School)

The Gators are scoring big points in the long jump this season, as Landon - the state's fourth-best long jumper at the moment - is merely the Robin to fellow senior Jalen Jasmin's (MD #1 23'7) Batman. Landon's 21'8.75, second-place performance at the Howard County Championships was a personal best by nearly two feet, indoors or outdoors.

Triple Jump: Chase Drewery (Junior, North Point High School)

Drewery remains undefeated in the triple jump this season after winning his second Southern Maryland conference title last weekend. Going back to last winter, Drewery focused more on the long jump as a sophomore, but huge improvements in the triple jump have made him one of the best in the state in the event (MD #2 45'10.25 at the Liberty Premier Invitational).

Pole Vault: Peter Kamanu (Junior, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School)

Of the six boys who have cleared 14 feet in the pole vault this season, Kamanu is the only one who didn't reach at least 12'6 in the event last winter. He came into the season and immediately set a personal best, indoor or outdoor, at 13'0, then raised that mark by a full foot at the Howard County Winter Festival. Kamanu currently ranks second among both juniors and 3A vaulters in the state.