Caitlyn Bobb (left) and Baidy Ba took home two classification state meet records this past weekend at the PG Sportsplex. (Photos by Craig Amoss)
Read about the four state meet records that were broken this past weekend and the athletes that broke them!
Baidy Ba, Oakland Mills - 3A Boys 3200
New Record: 9:11.32
Previous Record: 9:13.27 (Graham Bazell, Atholton, 2009)
Ba's performance at the 3A state championships last weekend all but solidified his status as Maryland's top distance runner this year. His finishes in the 3200 - he closed the final lap of the race in 55 and was just over two minutes for the final 800 - have highlighted just how comfortably he could take down the 3A state meet record. Bennett junior Timothy Synowiec helped keep the pace honest through six laps, then Ba and Centennial sophomore Antonio Camacho-Bucks began another half-mile sprint to the finish that resulted in a rewriting of the record books.
The only boy in the past 49 years to run faster than Ba at the outdoor state championships was Sherwood graduate Solomon Haile, who still owns the overall state meet record (9:06.13). Ba's time is officially the fifth-fastest in state meet history, behind Haile and three runners from the early 1970s: George Malley (DuVal), Otto Mazzoni (DuVal) and Kent Staver (B-CC) - who finished second behind Mazzoni in 1972.
Ba's last state championship race came in November 2019, when he was one of the finalists in one of the most competitive 2A state meet races in recent history (Ba finished fourth). Since the COVID-19 shutdown, Ba has transformed into one of the most dominant distance runners in the DC area; finishing fourth at AAU Cross Country Nationals last December and going undefeated throughout the entire 2021 spring cross country and track seasons.
Caitlyn Bobb, Harford Tech - 2A Girls 400
New Record: 53.72
Previous Record: 54.02 (Caitlyn Bobb, Harford Tech, 2019)
While some of Maryland's top sprinters continued to compete throughout the COVID-19 shutdown at Bullseye club races throughout the summer, indoor track meets at Virginia Beach and even out-of-state outdoor meets, Caitlyn Bobb bided her time, spending the time focusing on strengthening her weaknesses and preparing for a long 2021 outdoor season.
In fact, Bobb's summer running season is just getting started as many of Maryland's best wrapped theirs up at the state championships. For Bobb, the 2021 outdoor season here in Maryland was merely a stepping stone to bigger, out-of-country meets later this summer, but that doesn't mean she took them lightly. Two years ago, a sophomore Bobb demolished the 2A state meet record in the 400 meter dash, and at her last state meet (February 2020) Bobb swept the three individual sprint events.
A 12.00 personal-best victory in the 100 meter dash set the stage for the 400 on Saturday. It didn't take long for Bobb to distance herself from the field, and the only question was: could she become the sixth girl in state meet history to break the 54-second mark (a feat that would also set a new 2A state meet record)?
Not only did Bobb break her own state meet record, she did it by nearly three tenths of a second, leapfrogging yet another Maryland legend on the all-time state meet leaderboard. The only three girls to have run faster than Bobb's 53.72? Northwest's Olivia Ekpone (twice), and Tiandra Ponteen and Suziann Reid, both from Eleanor Roosevelt. Bobb finished her day at the 2A state meet with a final victory in the 200 meter dash.
Jauan Jeffreys, Carver Vo-Tech - 2A Boys 200
New Record: 21.30
Previous Record: 21.34* (John Parker, Calvert, 1982)
*2A wind record (still standing): 21.15 (Carrington Akosa, Western Tech, 2014)
In May 2014, Western Tech senior Carrington Akosa won all three of the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes, breaking 2A state meet records in the 100 and 200. The only problem? The wind, read at 2.9 and 2.3, respectively, was too strong to be considered wind legal, meaning that a separate column would have to be designated for the two events.
Flash forward to 2021. The official, wind-legal 2A state meet record of 21.34 has still yet to be broken by anyone with a wind-legal reading. Calvert's John Parker set the record in 1982 with a hand-timed mark of 21.10. Entering the state meet, only one 2A boys runner - Westlake's Kristopher Caine - had even broken the 22 second mark (at 21.97). Next up on the rankings? Carver Vo-Tech's Jauan Jeffreys, a senior who entered the spring season having not run since the 2020 indoor season, when he clocked a 38.21 300.
There were signs pointing toward a breakout, however. The only races Jeffreys lost throughout the spring season came at the hands of Dunbar's Aaron Charles at the Baltimore City Championships. He clocked his previous personal best of 22.00 at the 2A North regional meet. And Jeffreys kicked off the 2A state meet with a 10.79 personal best in the 100, having never broken the 11-second barrier beforehand.
Still, few could have predicted the 21.30 he was about to throw down in the 200 meter dash later in the evening. Jeffreys' performance leapfrogged him to the top of the Maryland state rankings in the 200. In the past ten years, only ten Maryland boys have run as fast outdoors in the 200 meter dash as Jeffreys. And his performance broke the oldest standing 2A individual state meet record (the next oldest is Jeff Coates' 1600 record, set the following year in 1983).
Jackson Tuomey, Brunswick - 1A Boys Pole Vault
New Record: 14'6
Previous Record: 14'4 (Carter Nave, Allegany, 2017)
Of all of the state meet records adorning the pages of the MPSSAA spring record book heading into this past week's state meet, the 1A boys pole vault was the likeliest to fall. In 2017, Allegany's Carter Nave became the first Maryland boy in the 1A classification to clear 14 feet in the pole vault at the outdoor state meet. Three more boys cleared 14 feet the following year, but none were able to take down Nave's record.
In 2019, a sophomore Jackson Tuomey stepped up for Brunswick and took home the 1A state title, clearing 13 feet, six inches. For Tuomey, it was just the beginning. The following winter, he broke the 1A indoor state meet record, clearing 14'3 after having cleared 14'9 at regionals. The COVID-19 shutdown did little to slow his momentum, either: in August 2020, Tuomey cleared the 15'9 mark, joining some of the state's greatest pole vaulters in rare company.
Everything came together for Tuomey over the winter. After multiple 15'2 efforts, Tuomey made Maryland state history at adidas Indoor Nationals, becoming the first boy in state history to clear the 16-foot mark on his way to an eighth-place finish. The spring saw Tuomey record several more 15-foot-plus performances, including a 15'6 season best at the Frederick County Championships. It seemed all but certain that Nave's record was to fall, but what about the overall state meet record of 15'3? Could Tuomey possibly replicate his indoor nationals performance and clear 16 feet, right here on Maryland soil?
That Tuomey "only" cleared 14'6 at the state meet - breaking the 1A outdoor state meet record - should not take away from his dominant performance across the entire track. Tuomey - far from a one-trick pony - racked up 30 points for the Railroaders by himself, winning 1A state titles in the high and long jumps, as well. In fact, he is one of just eight Maryland boys this spring to have cleared 6'4 in the high jump. And regardless of any of his performances this spring, his 16-foot-plus mark will always be etched into Maryland state history.