Once school started in September, it quickly became apparent that the two best distance runners in the state were sophomore Tenke Zoltani of Dulaney and freshman Emily Buzzell of Middletown. They romped in the state class 4A and 2A cross country championships, turning in record times along the way.
Success continued during indoor track, the girls handling the competition, until earlier this week at the state championships.
On Tuesday, Zoltani appeared to be home free in the mile when Cara Wettlaufer of C. M. Wright caught her at the tape, winning by an eyelash in 5: 22.1. Zoltani, the reigning mile and two-mile champion outdoors, did win the 3,200 meters.
If Zoltani was disappointed, imagine what Buzzell was feeling on the bus ride back to Frederick County the next night. She had comfortable leads in both the 1,600 and 3,200 when out of nowhere swept Kent's Katie Stevenson to victory in 5: 14.7 and 11: 31.1, respectively. Later, Emily was caught by Danielle Stoddart of Oakland Mills in the last 10 meters of the 800.
In other events:
The best head-to-head competition at the states was turned in by Greg McCormick of Middletown and David Hinton of Queen Anne's. Not once but twice. Neither missed a pole vault try until 14 feet 6 inches when Hinton stopped and McCormick went on to a 1A-2A mark of 15-0. Barely did they catch a breath when it was off to the high jump. Both cleared 6-4, with McCormick winning on fewer misses. A few weeks ago, McCormick high-jumped 7-0 at Hagerstown, making him the only high school athlete to achieve that height this season. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the event nationally.
It's not often the shot put grabs much attention during an indoor meet, which was unfortunate on Monday. In the 2A-3A shot, Chris Parsons of Northern High in Calvert County, a senior with a 4.0 grade-point average and a 1,480 SAT score, put the shot 57-9 for his third straight state title. Last month, at the National Guard meet here, he set a state mark by throwing 59-11. Meanwhile, Vikas Gowda of Frederick, whose father represented India as a decathlete at the 1988 Olympics, threw 58-7 in 3A-4A.
Catonsville's boys took a solid run at the 2A-3A title, finishing second to River Hill with 28.5 points -- with two guys: Marques Sneed, who was first in the 300 and second in the 500, and Jerrell Ward, who won the 55. Only three of 13 Class 2A-3A records have been broken since 1990. When Long Reach and Central finished even for the 2A-3A girls title, it marked the first tie since Catonsville and Bladensburg went 61-61 in 1992.