There were different stories for each of the four teams that won championships in the final day of the state track meet Saturday at Morgan State.
The No. 2 Western girls needed to rally late to repeat as the Class 3A champions. For the boys, Oakland Mills took Class 2A for its first title in six years and 13th overall. No. 3 Reservoir slowly pulled away to win its first state title (Class 3A), and No. 5 Carver quickly ran away from its Class 1A opponents to win an outdoor title for the first time. The Bears also won the state indoor championship.
Western won the state title indoors after taking last year's crown. The Doves have now won five outdoor championships in the past nine years.
The Doves finished with 66 points to beat Northwood (51) and Catonsville (44), using the balance that's become their trademark in recent years. Western took over first place when Brinae Robinson won the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 20 seconds, and Lahni Clifton got third. Those 16 points pushed the Doves into the top spot, and they were able to hang on.
"Once we took the 800, I knew … we could take the states," Robinson said. "It's showing that we are a strong team."
This turned into a breakthrough season for Reservoir as it won the Howard County, region and state titles. The Gators got help from several places to finish with 75.5 points and beat Potomac (48).
Reservoir got off to a quick start when Kyle Mitchell (110 hurdles), Tyler Wood (100) and Ryan Jackson (1,600) took third in the first three events for 18 points to break things open.
Yao Adantor added a second-place finish in the discus, and the Gators pulled away despite not winning an event.
Carver had an even easier time as the Bears got wins from Jawan Parker (100, 10.95), Aaron Dove (300 hurdles, 39.90) and Carlton Sheppard (800, 1:59.03) en route to 114 points. Williamsport was second with 66 points.
What was even more impressive is that Carver lost some key performers for various reasons in the region meet last week — but nothing slowed the Bears.
"We came from being not ranked at all to being one of the best in the state," Parker said.
Oakland Mills finished third in Howard County and won its region last week before coming on late to win the title with 68 points and beat Walkersville by 2.
The Scorpions got a big break when Walkersville botched the handoff in the 400 relay and didn't score any points in the next-to-last event. But the relays were good for Oakland Mills as it won the 800 relay Thursday and closed the meet with a crucial win in the 1,600 (3:21.29) to lock up the title.
Terrance Drew played a big role in the win, running on both first-place relay teams. He also won the 400 (48.22) and took second in the 200. Gage Ealey won the long jump Thursday and ran in both relays. Cecil Diggs, Terrence Childs and Eric Ezenwanne also helped in the relays.
No. 8 Harford Tech nearly won its first state title, but Smithsburg got 12 points in the high jump late in the meet to edge out the Cobra girls, 73-69, in Class 1A.
Harford Tech got a big performance from Desirae Diamond (first in the long and triple jumps) and stayed in first for much of the day.
Maura Linde of Century and Glenelg's Robby Creese both finished with three victories. On Thursday, she ran on the winning 3,200 relay team and took the 3,200 herself. On Saturday, the junior easily won the 1,600 (5:01.93) and then took third in the 800 as Carroll County rival Samantha McElroy from Liberty won.
Creese won the 3,200 Thursday and then took the 1,600 Saturday easily (4:18.48). He finished his three-win performance by running away from the field in the 800 (1:55.20).
Mount Hebron's Becky Yep won the 1,600 after taking the 3,200 on Friday. Yep won the Class 3A race in 5:08.73.