The State Meet We Missed: 2A Boys

Unfortunately this spring we did not get a rematch of the indoor state meet when Oakdale's Samuel Starrs (above) won his first state title, beating out South Carroll's Patrick Tunkel and Peyton Thomas. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

It's impossible to make a completely accurate prediction of what the outdoor state championships would have looked like. Some competitors improve greatly since the winter (or the last time they competed). Sometimes new influxes of talent elevate a program to state title contender status. Injuries happen, unfortunately. In any case, we can still look at the indoor season and last outdoor season to try and figure out what could have been at this year's 2A boys state meet.

Meet Records in Jeopardy

800 and 1600 Meter Runs

Kyle Lund's record-setting performance at the indoor state championship (1:52.57) was already faster than the 2A outdoor state meet record. That time (1:53.80) was set by Middletown's Riley McDermott just three years ago and likely would have not stood another year, as not only had Lund already run faster indoors, but Kent Island's Isaiah Schulties ran 1:55.01 last spring, 1:56.99 this winter and still has another year to try and break it. What would have been even more captivating would be watching Lund go for the all-classification record that was set just two years ago by Bel Air's Kieran McDermott. McDermott never ran indoors, so it's impossible to stack up Lund's indoor senior times, but a 1:52 indoor performance would have at least put him within range of becoming the first boy to break 1:50 at the outdoor state meet.

Lund would have also been the favorite in the 1600 after coming just short of breaking the 2A indoor state meet record in the event this winter. Unlike the 800 meter record, the current 2A state meet record of 4:14.83 is faster than Lund has run before, but nowhere near out of bounds for someone who ran one of the country's fastest 800 meter runners and also won a cross country state title.

4x400 and 4x800 Meter Relays

With the aforementioned Lund on the anchor the Oakdale boys rounded out their team title with another 2A state meet record performance this winter. Their 3:26.72 time was more than a second faster than the old 2A state meet record, which was set by the same 2007 Baltimore Poly team that went on to set the 2A outdoor state meet record. Not only would Oakdale be in position to challenge Poly's 3:19.02 record, but so would Milford Mill, who ran the state's second-fastest 4x400 meter relay of the indoor season (3:24.09 at the Armory in NYC) and finished as the 2A state meet runner-up.

Although Oakdale also won the 4x800 indoor title, they didn't come close to the 2A indoor state meet record. However, they returned three quarters of the team that won the 2019 outdoor title and came within a second of the 2A record. With Lund, Lee Goodson (1:57.79 indoor 800) and Collin Dempsey (4:25.35 indoor 1600), they would be set up well to break Hereford's state meet record that has stood since 1978.

The Best Matchups

400 Meter Dash

Many of the top finishers in the sprint events from last year's 2A outdoor state meet were seniors, and the top six finishers from the 400 meter dash would not have returned to this year's 2A state meet (five seniors and one, River Hill's Austin Weltz, who moved up to the 3A classification). Who would have been the top candidates coming off of this year's indoor state meet? Milford Mill's Marquis Miller and Douglass' Miles Gray went 1-2 in the 300, tying each other at 36.09 seconds. In the 500, Walkersville's Owen Welty ran a surprising 1:06.60 to win his first state title. Meanwhile, Westlake's Kristopher Caine would have had the fastest returning time (50.69) from the 2A outdoor state meet.

4x200 Meter Relay

During the winter it was two cross-city rivals from Salisbury, Parkside and Wicomico, who went back and forth as the top two 4x200 teams in 2A. Wicomico won at the 2A East regional meet when both teams were the only two 2A teams to run under 1:33, and then Parkside came back at states to win the 2A title. Would the two Bayside teams have remained the top two 2A teams in the 4x200 come the outdoor season?

Pole Vault

The trio of Oakdale's Samuel Starrs and South Carroll's Patrick Tunkel and Peyton Thomas made for an intense battle at the 2A state meet. Starrs didn't clear 13'9 until his final attempt at states, but went on to beat Tunkel on attempts at the 14'3 height. Throughout the season, Tunkel led all 2A competitors with his 14'6 winning performance from the Carroll County championships. Thomas also cleared 14'1 when he won at the 2A West regional meet. Only sophomores, Starrs and Thomas will have more chances to go head-to-head again in the pole vault.

Who Missed Out?

Which boys missed opportunities to win state titles before graduation?

Patrick Tunkel, South Carroll

Tunkel's 14'6 performance in the pole vault at the Carroll County championships led all 2A boys this year, and he finished second behind Samuel Starrs at the state meet after they both cleared 14'3. It was the second time in his career that Tunkel finished second at states (after finishing second at the 2018 outdoor state meet as a sophomore). Another matchup between Tunkel, Starrs and Peyton Thomas was in line for this year's outdoor state meet where Tunkel could have captured his first state title.