Colonel Richardson's Jaiden Downing (front) ran one of the fastest times in the 800 last spring by 1A underclassmen. In a wide-open 1A field that didn't have a clear favorite entering the ill-fated spring season, could the door have been open for him to win a state title? (Photo by Craig Amoss)
Meet Records in Jeopardy
300 Meter Hurdles
Kyle Noll nearly set the indoor state meet record in the 55 meter hurdles, and would have had a shot in both of the hurdle events at the outdoor state meet. As a junior, Noll won regional and state titles in the 300 meter hurdles, and his season-best time of 39.11 at the Kent Island Invitational was just shy of the 1A record of 39.00. His personal best of 14.72 in the 110 meter hurdles was also only 0.26 seconds off the 1A record, and this winter he lowered his time in the 55 meter hurdles to 7.68; by comparison, Justin Bowie, the outdoor state record holder, ran 7.61 in the 55 meter hurdles as a senior.
Only a junior, Brunswick's Jackson Tuomey has already etched his name into the Maryland state record book. He swept through conferences, regionals and states this winter, becoming the first boy in 1A indoor state meet history to reach 14 feet in the pole vault, and bested the old record by half a foot. He also cleared 14'6 or higher three separate times during the indoor season, better than the 14'4 outdoor state meet record.
Last year, Catoctin's Tyler Hauk won both Frederick County and 1A West regional titles in the discus before finishing fourth at the 1A state meet. At the Big A's Last Chance Throws meet he threw 160'7, the best mark in the entire state. That distance would have been just six feet shy of the 1A state meet record in the discus.
The Best Matchups
100 Meter Dash
Last year's state champion, Julian Meza-Shockley, didn't run this indoor season, and while his 11.04 personal best was the top 1A returning time, it wasn't by a wide margin. Meza-Shockley's teammate, Charles Townsend, has won both the last two 1A 55 meter dash titles but did not run outdoor track last year. Meanwhile, Dunbar sophomore Aaron Charles broke out at the indoor state meet, finishing just behind Townsend and clocking a personal best of 6.58.
800 Meter Run
Largo's Anthony Hill - who owned the fastest 1A indoor time in the 800 by over five seconds entering the state meet - did not run, opening up the field. Enter Smithsburg freshman Cameron Rejonis, who came away with his first career state title. Would Hill or Rejonis be the favorite at the outdoor state meet, with the events spread out over two days? Or maybe some of the top returning runners from last spring, such as Colonel Richardson's Jaiden Downing or Brunswick's Caleb Shullenbarger, would be the top seed entering states.
The two top finishers at last year's 1A outdoor state meet, Havre de Grace's Khalif Charlton and Surrattsville's Kyree Banks (who both tied at 6'2), were underclassmen, setting up a natural rematch possibility at this year's state meet. However, neither competed at this past winter's state meet, setting up another close battle between Lake Clifton's Eric Browner and and Joppatowne's Jaylin Johnson. Browner and the aforementioned Kyle Noll were the only 1A boys to clear 6'2 this indoor season, meaning four possible contenders this spring who have cleared 6'2 or 6'3. It's also not out of the question for any of the other 1A boys, such as Jackson Tuomey, who have cleared six feet as well to emerge as a possible favorite throughout the spring.
Who Missed Out?
Which boys missed opportunities to win state titles before graduation?
Kyree Banks, Surrattsville
In his first season competing at Surrattsville last year, Banks very nearly won a state title in the high jump. With six boys taking a crack at the six foot mark in the high jump, Banks was the only one to clear the bar before the final attempt. On their final attempt, both Ben Franklin's Leon Brooks and eventual state champion Khalif Charlton both cleared six feet. Both Charlton and Banks went on to clear 6'2, but Charlton did it in one less attempt, so when both failed to clear 6'4, Charlton won on the tiebreaker. Banks could have had another shot this spring to win a state title in the high jump.
Justus LePrevost, Mountain Ridge
LePreevost finished fourth at last year's outdoor state meet in the 3200 behind three seniors. The top four finishers in the 3200 at this year's indoor state meet were all underclassmen, but LePrevost finished fifth in the 1600 and had already run the 4x800 prior to it. As a junior in the winter of 2019 LePrevost ran season best times of 5:05 and 11:05, times he bested this indoor season. In a 1A field dominated by freshman and sophomore standouts, LePrevost could have had the best chance of winning the 3200 state title of any senior in the race.