LANDOVER - If Glenelg's indoor track and field program had felt overlooked, the Gladiators did something about it last night.
Emboldened by years of drought and motivational T-shirts, Glenelg shed its underdog label and swept the Ivan Walker Howard County championships at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex last night.
The boys team compiled 81 points to upset No. 5 Oakland Mills and capture its first county title since 1992.
Not to be outdone, the Gladiators girls totaled 110 points and upended No. 8 River Hill for its fourth crown in the past nine years.
The last time Glenelg swept the county indoor track and field championships was 1992.
Both victories were somewhat unexpected. On the boys side, Oakland Mills had dominated the county meets and was the favorite to bring home its fourth title in five seasons.
But while the Scorpions dominated the sprint and sprint-relay events, the Gladiators rode their depth to record at least three points in 10 of 13 events.
"I guess Glenelg has always been the underdog of Howard County," said senior Drew Graybeal. "We've always had some guys do well and one good relay. ... This year, we have the depth. Everyone fit together and we had an amazing race."
Indeed. Graybeal, the reigning Class 2A-1A state champion in the 500, successfully defended his county crown in the event by tying a meet-record - 1 minute, 5.9 seconds - set by River Hill's Shane Stroup in 2002.
Graybeal also won the 800 (2:00.0) and was second in the 300 (35.6).
The Gladiators also collected victories from junior Garret Maxson in the 3,200 (10:22.4) and junior Sean Vance in the pole vault (10 feet, 6 inches).
Oakland Mills recorded 60 points and boasted the meet's Iron Man winner in senior Tony Cole, who repeated his showing of four first places from last season.
The defending Class 2A-1A state champion in the 55 took that event last night in 6.5 seconds and the 300 in 35.1. He then joined juniors Karlton McCullough, Drew Wicker and Michael Sweatt to win the 800 relay (1:33.6) and teamed with McCullough, Sweatt and junior Nathan Michel to claim the 1,600 relay title (meet-record 3:35.7).
Centennial, which finished third among the boys with 55 points, had two first-lace winners. Junior James Olenik took the shot put (42-1 1/2 ), and the team of senior David Simon, juniors Jeremy Burke and Joe McCord and sophomore Dustin Yourstone won the 3,200 relay (8:40.8).
Other titlists included River Hill senior Michael Wade in the high jump (meet record-tying 6-4), River Hill junior Nicholas Keane in the 1,600 (4:40.8) and Mount Hebron junior Blake Garcia in the 55 hurdles (8.1 seconds).
On the girls side, Glenelg had fallen to River Hill several times. To buoy his team's spirits, Gladiators coach Mike Selmer delivered a pre-meet pep talk and handed out T-shirts printed with the words "Heart," "Mind" and "Body" in a triangular pattern.
The move may have helped as Glenelg registered at least two points in 10 of 13 events.
"The entire season, we were the underdogs," said junior Jessica Hibbert, who was named the meet's Iron Woman for winning the 3,200 (12:04.1) and placing second and seventh in the 1,600 and 800, respectively. "The reason we won was we believed that we could. That's what it came down to."
The Gladiators had county champions in senior Marry Rollyson in the 500 (1:21.5), senior Chelsea Kapp in the 1,600 (5:31.2) and senior Brandy McReynolds in the pole vault (6-6).
River Hill finished second with 84 points. The Hawks received an inspiring performance from senior Kandace Ramseur, who, despite nagging cramps in her left hamstring, won the 55 (7.2) and 300 (42.4) and teamed with juniors Rachel Kunkler and Colleen McArdle and sophomore Tish Carter to take the 800 relay (1:53.4).
Carter successfully defended her county high-jump title by clearing 5 feet, and also took the 55 hurdles (9.0). Senior Cynthea Tossie won the shot put with an effort of 30-2 1/2 .
Mount Hebron, which placed third with 62 points, claimed the 3,200 relay in 10:06.9, getting the win from senior Darya Fakory and freshmen Sarah Gormley, Brea Eulitt and Sarah Denapoli.
Other winners included Atholton freshman Kate Nicholson in the 800 (2:30.0) and Reservoir's 1,600-relay squad of juniors Jocelyn Sprague, Melissa Gardner and Meredith Ely and sophomore Amanda Rogers (4:17.9).