BALTIMORE — Washington County distance runners stole the show during Day 1 action at the Maryland State Track & Field Championships at Morgan State University on Thursday.
Boonsboro junior Sarah Zielinski (Class 1A girls), Smithsburg junior Luke Daigneault (1A boys) and Williamsport senior Evan Hardy (2A boys) all won titles in the 3,200-meter runs.
Boonsboro captured a pair of 1A titles in the throws as senior J.R. Lowery won the boys shot put and senior Amber Smith won the girls discus. The Warriors also won the girls 4x200 relay, while Smithsburg prevailed in the 1A boys 4x200.
The victories by Hardy and Daigneault were thrillers, as neither led until the eighth and final lap of each race.
Hardy took the lead from Rising Sun’s Austin McGinley with 300 meters left and turned on the jets, defeating McGinley by 9 seconds with a personal-best time of 9:22.15.
“Really, the goal was just to win,” said Hardy, who has now won seven individual state titles in his career — three outdoors and four indoors. “Austin’s a great runner, and he just pulled me through. The last three laps, I was just thinking, ‘If I can stick with him, I can get it.’ I knew if I could stick with him, I’d have enough strength to finish it out.”
In the 1A boys 3,200, Daigneault refused to let Mountain Ridge’s Hlynur Andresson get away from him, and then blew by him with 250 meters left, winning by 4 seconds in a personal-best 9:58.84.
“I just went with everything I had and left it up to God,” said Daigneault, who also used his ferocious kick to win a pair of indoor state titles this year. “I knew I had a stronger kick than any of the guys out there. The key was just being there.
“The 1,600 is Saturday. Now we’ll see if I can do it one more time.”
Zielinski’s victory in the 1A girls 3,200 wasn’t nearly as dramatic. She took the lead early and never relinquished it, winning by 6 seconds in 11:27.04 for her first outdoor state title.
“It’s always been the big goal,” said Zielinski, who’s won multiple indoor state titles. “Everyone looks at outdoor more than indoor because there are more people running.”
Her game plan Thursday was simple.
“The strategy was just run,” she said. “The big race (1,600) is Saturday. That’s the one I’ve really been focusing on.”
Lowery defended his title in the shot put with a personal-record throw of 56 feet, 11 1/2 inches as he won by more than 6 feet.
But champions like Lowery always seem to want more. He wanted both the Washington County record (57-10 1/2) and the 1A meet record (58-7 1/2).
“I threw a PR and won states, so of course I’m happy,” Lowery said. “But I’m still a little disappointed I didn’t meet my goals.”
For Smith in the discus, she achieved her goal: New shoes.
“I’m so happy. I get a new pair of shoes,” said Smith, who won by 16 feet with a personal-record throw of 104-3. “My boyfriend said if I won and got a new PR that he’d buy me a new pair of shoes. I was determined today. I need new shoes.”
She also ended up being a double winner Thursday as she teamed with Lashanta Tonsil, Emily Cronise and Abby Duncan to win the 4x200 (1:46.74).
The Warriors actually finished a distant second to Western Tech in the race, but they got the victory after Western Tech was disqualified for interference.
“I wasn’t expecting Western Tech to be that fast,” Smith said. “We got lucky with the DQ.”
Smithsburg’s Breon Hall, Brandon Athey, Ronald Hardy and Chad Greene won the 1A boys 4x200 in 1:31.66.
“I was like, ‘We’re ranked first, I’m not going to let us get second,’” said Greene, who moved from fourth to first on the anchor leg. “I passed everybody. I didn’t want to let the team down.”
The Smithsburg girls got second-place finishes from Taylor Cline in the triple jump (32-3) and Emma Gerhold in the pole vault (9-6) and a third-place finish from Gabby Slayman in the discus (86-5).
Through six of 18 events, the Boonsboro girls, the defending 1A state champs, lead with 46 points. Bohemia Manor is second with 36.
“We’re hoping to win again,” Zielinski said. “It will be really close so we need everything we can get.”
The state championships begin today for classes 3A and 4A and conclude for all four classes on Saturday.
Maryland State Championships
Day 1 at Morgan State University
Winners and Washington County top-8 placewinners
Girls Class 1A
3,200 — 1. Zielinski (Boonsboro) 11:27.04, 6. Johnson (Smithsburg) 12:18.10.
4x200 — 1. Boonsboro (Tonsil, Cronise, Smith, Duncan) 1:46.74.
4x800 — 1. Western Tech 9:44.03, 4. Boonsboro 10:03.14.
Triple jump — 1. Jackson (Bohemia Manor) 33-6 1/2, 2. Cline (Smithsburg) 32-3, 5. Rose (Boonsboro) 31-0 1/2.
Pole vault — 1. Wilson (Bohemia Manor) 10-3, 2. Gerhold (Smithsburg) 9-6, 4. tie, Rose (Boonsboro), Brown (Smithsburg) and Moats (Boonsboro) 8-0.
Discus — 1. Smith (Boonsboro) 104-3, 3. Slayman (Smithsburg) 86-5.
Girls Class 2A
3,200 — 1. Oneda (Winters Mill) 10:52.01.
4x200 — 1. Harford Tech 1:43.05.
4x800 — 1. Largo 9:39.65.
Triple jump — 1. Stone (Catoctin) 37-7 3/4.
Discus — 1. Williams (Largo) 115-6.
Boys Class 1A
3,200 — 1. Daigneault (Smithsburg) 9:58.84, 8. Snyder (Boonsboro) 10:47.80.
4x200 — 1. Smithsburg (Hall, Athey, Hardy, Greene) 1:31.66.
4x800 — 1. North Carroll 8:06.99, 5. Boonsboro 8:36.77.
High jump — 1. Campbell (Brunswick) 6-4.
Long jump — 1. Matthews (Perryville) 21-9, 7. Miller (Smithsburg) 20-3 1/4.
Shot put — 1. Lowery (Boonsboro) 56-11 1/2, 4. Beard (Boonsboro) 45-3 1/4, 5. Allen (Boonsboro) 44-11.
Boys Class 2A
3,200 — 1. Hardy (Williamsport) 9:22.15.
4x200 — 1. Queen Anne’s 1:30.21, 8. Williamsport 1:32.40.
4x800 — 1. Winters Mill 8:13.12, 8. Williamsport 8:32.08.
High jump — 1. Gamble (Walkersville) 6-2.
Long jump — 1. Welch (Middletown) 23-1 1/2, 8. Johnson (Williamsport) 20-2 3/4.
Pole vault — 1. Hatcher (North Caroline) 14-8, 4. Berchock (Williamsport) 12-6, 7. Kline (Williamsport) 12-0.
Shot put — 1. Sutton (Douglass-PG) 55-0.