The 2010s Defined: Six Schools Who Won Their First Titles

Photo by John Roemer

If there is a silver lining to the cancellation of the entire 2020 outdoor track season, it's that it gives us some more time to reflect on the past decade of cross country and track that will officially come to an end this summer. So we'll spend some time looking back at the athletes, the races and the moments that defined this decade in Maryland.

There's a First for Every Team

Athletes (or relay teams) from six schools accomplished program firsts this past decade, winning state titles on the track. For counting purposes, we included all three seasons - cross country, indoor and outdoor track - in tallying individual state titles (team titles were not included). For each school we give a brief overview of the school and its opening, then detail the state championship performance and profile who brought home the historic title for their program.

Carver A&T

Photo by John Roemer

County: Baltimore Opened: 1992

Championship: Karah Moore (2019 1A girls 400 meter dash - 57.38)

The George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology (Carver A&T) was established in 1992 and has competed mainly in the 1A and 2A classifications, switching between the two over the course of the decade. Prior to the 2019 season Carver A&T had a few athletes come close to state titles earlier in the decade:

- Essence Fredricks (class of 2012) finished in the top six at the state meet six meets, including three fourth-place finishes, in mid-distance events.

- Guinivere Roberts (class of 2020) has finished fourth or fifth at states in the 3200 three times.

- Diana Liepinya (class of 2018) was the 2018 1A indoor runner-up in the 3200.

- Khaide'a Brown (class of 2020) finished in the top five in two events at the 2018 outdoor state meet.

Moore debuted for the Wildcats in 2017 and qualified for the state championship in the 200 meter dash. The next year Carver A&T moved down to the 1A classification and scored at states for the first time, finishing sixth in the 300 meter dash. At the 2019 indoor state meet Moore came close to winning the school's first state title, finishing second in the 1A 500 meter dash just a few tenths of a second behind Douglass-PG's Autumn Winston (Moore had also finished second in the 300 earlier). In the spring, Moore had her revenge - and the school's first state title - in the 400 meter dash, beating out Winston by almost the same exact margin as their indoor head-to-head matchup. Since Moore won the school's first state title, Carver A&T has won two more relay titles (the 4x100 relay later that day, and the 4x200 at this winter's 2A state meet).

Mountain Ridge

County: Allegany Opened: 2007

Championship: Girls 4x800 team (2013 1A girls 4x800 meter relay - 9:25.82)

Mountain Ridge High School was opened in 2007 as a consolidation of Westmar and Beall high schools, the latest in a series of consolidations in western Maryland that has left Allegany County with three public high schools (along with Allegany and Fort Hill). Located in the town of Frostburg (along with Frostburg State University), the school has shifted between the 1A and 2A classifications over the decade. Prior to Redmond's 2013 title, the school's closest calls were:

- Janelle Walbert (class of 2010) was a four-time top-five finisher at the outdoor state meet, including a runner-up finish in the 1A 400 meter dash as a senior.

- Courtney Jacobs (class of 2010) finished fourth in the high jump at the 2008 1A state meet.

- Maura Jones (class of 2009) finished third and fourth in the 400 and 200 meter dashes, respectively, at the 2009 1A state championship.

- The girls 4x800 team finished second at the 2009 state meet and third at the 2010 state meet. Their closest finish was a runner-up effort in the event at the 2012 state meet, when they lost to Western Tech by 0.24 seconds.

- Dylan Harden (class of 2011) was the fourth-place finisher in the shot put at the 2011 1A state meet.

- Hlynur Andresson (class of 2012) finished third at the 2011 1A state XC meet and third in the 3200 at the outdoor state meet that spring.

- Madison Offstein (class of 2014) placed third in the 1600 at the 2013 1A indoor state championship.

- Brandon Redmond (class of 2013) finished fourth three separate times at the state meet prior to the girls' title and won the 800 meter run two days later to capture the boys program's first title.

As you can see above, only five years after the school's establishment, the girls' program had built up a strong mid-distance reputation. They had finished second at the 1A state meet in the 4x800 in 2012 losing a close race to Western Tech (who themselves had set the 1A state meet record in the event just a year prior). In 2013, however, it was the Miners' turn to set a record - and they demolished it. Led by junior Madison Offstein they ran 9:25.82, nearly nine full seconds faster than Western Tech's 2011 time, and beat them by 14 seconds. It's a 1A state meet record that still stands today. The next year, Mountain Ridge (led by a senior Madison and sophomore Molly Offstein) ran even faster, but finished second in the 2A race behind... Western Tech. They are still the only 2A teams to ever run under 9:20 in the 4x800 relay at the 2A state meet.

National Academy Foundation

Photo by Craig Amoss

County: Baltimore City Opened: 2002

Championship: Aidan Alston (2016 1A girls 100 meter hurdles - 16.13)

The National Academy Foundation magnet school was opened in 2002 to provide students with instruction in one of five areas, or academies, of learning. After sharing a campus with Digital Harbor High School it now shares one with Paul Laurence Dunbar middle and high schools. The school first fielded a track team in 2012. Before Alston won in 2016, Malik Jackson (class of 2016) came closest to a state title (aside from Alston). Jackson finished second in the 800 meter dash at the state meet three times prior to the spring of 2016 (when he was the runner-up for the fourth time in his career).

After competing at Western High School through her sophomore indoor season, Alston began at N.A.F. in the spring of 2014 and qualified for states in three events (100 hurdles, long and triple jumps). She was the runner-up in the high jump that year. Alston was once again the runner-up in the winter of 2015, losing to Manchester Valley's Liz Leahy by one inch. The next indoor season, Alston finished as a state runner-up in a track event for the first time, placing second in the 55 meter hurdles, just 0.07 seconds behind Surrattsville's Khaalea Collins. In the spring, Alston was finally the top girl in the field in the 100 meter hurdles, winning both the prelims and the finals by comfortable margins to win N.A.F.'s first (and still only) state track and field title.


County: Frederick Opened: 2010

Championship: Emma King (2011 1A girls pole vault - 11'0.00)

The Oakdale High School building was built just a few years before its opening to house students from nearby Linganore High School, and its opening in 2010 coincides perfectly with our exercise today. Just three years into its existence, Oakdale crowned its first state champion right around the time its first class was graduating (the school started off with just underclassmen). Due to the additions of incoming classes throughout its first couple years Oakdale spent only one year in the 1A classification (and even briefly jumped into 3A in the middle of the decade before returning to its present spot in 2A).

Emma King had spent her freshman year competing at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in the 4A classification. After clearing only nine feet in the pole vault all spring she broke out at the 2010 outdoor state meet, raising her personal best to 10'6 and finishing as the runner-up. She brought that talent to Oakdale as a sophomore in the winter of 2011 and was a force immediately, clearing 11 feet in her first pole vault competition of the year. She went undefeated in the pole vault that season, including an 11'1 season best and the school's first track and field state title. King went on to win four more state titles in the pole vault throughout her career at Oakdale, which has become one of the state's premiere 2A cross country and track and field programs.

Patterson Mill

Photo by John Roemer

County: Harford Opened: 2007

Championship: Girls 4x200 team (2016 1A girls 4x200 meter relay - 1:49.64)

Patterson Mill High School (along with its conjoined middle school of the same name) was opened in the fall of 2007 in Bel Air. Patterson Mill briefly joined the 2A classification from 2011-15 before rejoining 1A in the fall of 2015, and the Huskies won their first state title later that spring. Some of the team's highest-placing athletes before the team's 4x200 team won in 2016:

- Emma Mattson (class of 2012) and Andrea Schwienteck (class of 2010) finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at the 2009 1A state XC championship.

- Kara Tolson (class of 2010) finished third in the long jump at the state meet as a senior, and fourth in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes.

- In the fall of 2015, freshman Ashley Betz was the 1A state XC runner-up. Senior Logan Hardy finished fifth in the boys race.

The Patterson Mill girls had not won the 4x200 at either the UCBAC championships nor the 1A North regionals heading into the state meet. Despite not being considered one of the contenders for the state title coming into the race, they worked their way into the picture by the time things started to take shape on the third leg. They handed off 1-2 along with their conference rivals from Perryville on the back turn and junior Chyna Latimer brought home the team's first track and field state title on the anchor leg. Since then, Patterson Mill has captured several more titles, led by the aforementioned Betz (both in cross country and track) and a strong mid-distance program on the girls side.

St. Charles

Photo by Lisa McArthur

County: Charles Opened: 2014

Championship: Jason Tyler (2016 3A boys 500 meter dash - 1:05.29)

One of Maryland's newest high schools, St. Charles opened in the fall of 2014 to help serve the growing area of Waldorf. It was immediately put into the 2A classification, and was a 3A school just one year later. Before Tyler, the school's highest finish at the state level in track came courtesy of sophomore DaShnae Wilkins at the 2A indoor state meet in 2015, when she placed fifth in the 500. Immediately prior to Tyler's title, senior Jessica Hightower had also finished fifth in the 500 as well.

Tyler himself had competed in 2015 at the Grace Christian Academy in Waldorf, running 50.91 and 1:59.30 as a junior. He opened his St. Charles track season in 2016 with a 1:09.29/2:02.37 500/800 double at the Howard County Winter Festival and immediately began chiseling away at the two marks. After the SMAC Classic on January 2, he would not lose in either race again through the rest of the season. Tyler saved his best performance for last in the 500, clocking a personal-best 1:05.29 mark at the state meet and winning the 3A title by over a second and a half. Just a short while later Tyler won the 800 to complete his mid-distance double once again. They would be the school's only two state titles in cross country or track until Christina Marion won the 3A girls triple jump in the spring of 2018.