Twice this season, Aberdeen's boys team narrowly missed defeating C. Milton Wright. The Eagles didn't miss yesterday, however.
Led by first-year sprinter Dondre Gilliam, Aberdeen won the Harford County track and field championships in Bel Air, denying Wright a ninth straight title.
Gilliam, a junior, won the 400 in 49.8 seconds and the 200 in 22.1. He also anchored the 4x400 relay team to victory with a split of 50.0 to give the Eagles 135 points, 23 more than the Mustangs.
The girls team competition wasn't decided until the triple jump unfolded under the lights an hour later.
Defending champion Fallston held a seven-point lead over Bel Air going into the event.
But the Cougars' defending triple jump champ Becky Bystry leaped 32-6 to win and give the Cougars their seventh title in the last nine years.
Bystry also won the long jump at 15-7 and the 100 hurdles in 15.3, missing the county record by one-tenth of a second.
Fallston's other victories came from its 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams and from sophomore Cindy Wolf who won the 800.
Bel Air finished second in the girls scoring, boosted by the double victory of Tiffany Higgins in the shot and discus and a 100-meter dash win by Beth McFarland.
The surprise of the meet, however, came from the Aberdeen boys team, which hasn't been a contender in track and field for more than a decade. First-year coach Eric Kemp and his assistants recruited 38 boys, mostly underclassmen, who raced to an 11-2 record in dual meets, losing two close decisions to C. Milton Wright.
"We knew we could go all the way after our first two meets against C. Milton Wright," said Kemp. "The biggest kick to me is that I was a runner here [at Bel Air] when Wright started their streak eight years ago."
The Eagles got victories from Gilliam and Terrance Washington (long jump) but won on the strength of second- and third-place finishes by several athletes.
The Wright boys were strong in the distance events, taking 1-2-3 in the 3200 and 1-2 in the 1600. Eric Benjamin won both races, with times of 4:37.6 and 10:19.2.
North Harford's Susan Kirn was a double-winner. Kirn, who won the three dashes last year, took the 200 and 400 after placing fourth in the 100.