After successfully defending his title in the Class 1A 400-meter dash, Smithsburg junior Cameron Rejonis fought with everything he had to keep an even more impressive streak alive during the Maryland state championships at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.
Rejonis had been perfect in the 800 at states, winning three straight titles — two indoors and one outdoors — and he was looking to make it 4-for-4 as he moved from fifth place with 300 meters left to first with 190 remaining.
He held the lead through the final turn before getting passed with about 90 meters left by Northern Garrett’s Ashton Sober, who held on for the win in 1:59.41.
Rejonis finished second in a season-best time of 2:00.49.
“I’m doing my best with being slightly injured,” he said. “I strained my quad last week, and I’ve only made it worse this weekend.
“I tried to keep my streak of not losing state 800s, but you gotta lose sometime. You can’t win them all.”
In the 400, he had never been better, as he lowered his own school record to 50.18 seconds. Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Evan Payne finished second in 50.57.
“My start felt bad, but I knew I had to pick it up somewhere, so I did my best just to keep my pace going and keep the momentum,” Rejonis said. “I had to give whatever I had on the final (straightaway), because the 400 matters most to me.”
Smithsburg girls place third
After winning Washington County and 1A West region titles this month, the Smithsburg girls were aiming to add a state trophy to their collection.
The Leopards finished third with 59 points, trailing Western Tech (81) and Largo (66).
“We had a couple things not go our way, and we needed to be perfect,” Smithsburg coach Adam Rudy said. “Western Tech was perfect.
“When you’re coming down here with a really young team — only one senior and a lot of freshmen, and this is really the first, true, state-meet experience any of our kids have had — it’s hard to perform at your absolute best if you’re not used to the high expectations,” he added. “To have your absolute best on that one day you need to have it, it’s tough.
“But you can’t be upset. We had a great season. We’ve had a ton of success, winning a county championship and a regional championship. We have a ton to build off of. It’d be awesome to take home a trophy, but there’s next year. We’ve got a lot of things to look forward to.”
Freshman Kayla Hawbecker led the Leopards, scoring in four events with four PRs.
She placed second in the 1,600 (5:20.21) and fourth in the 800 (2:25.31) on Saturday, after getting a win in the 4x800 relay (9:59.91) and a third-place finish in the 3,200 (12:20.52) on Thursday.
“I tried my best to get us as far up in the rankings as we could be as a team,” Hawbecker said. “I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get third in that last event (the 800). It would have been fun to medal in four events, but I’m still proud. I got my PRs, and I have three more years to work and improve.”
Lexi Zimmerman, the Leopards’ lone senior, placed third in the 200 (25.77) and teamed with Grace Ellis, Taylor King and Amanda Hawbecker to place third in the 4x400 (4:11.17).
Ellis also placed fifth in the 800 (2:25.82) and eighth in the 400 (1:02.23), while teammate Ella Fisher finished sixth in the 1,600 (5:42.68), King finished eighth in the 300 hurdles (50.68) and the team of Amanda Hawbecker, Jenna Howe, King and Alaina Pate took fifth in the 4x100 (52.05), rounding out Smithsburg’s Saturday points.
Schlotterbeck wins a pair of 3A medals
While classes 1A and 2A got their meets started Thursday, classes 3A and 4A packed all their action into one day Saturday after their Friday events were postponed due to weather.
That didn’t seem to faze South Hagerstown senior Cole Schlotterbeck.
In the preliminaries of the 3A boys 100 and 200 in the morning, he posted personal-record times of 10.83 and 21.67 to advance to the finals, where he captured a pair of bronze medals.
He took third in the 100 in 10.77, lowering his PR again, and then third in the 200 in 21.76.
“The goal today was to PR, and I did that,” Schlotterbeck said. “I wanted to win both, but that didn’t happen. But I still got third place, so I still get to go home with something.”
In the 3A boys long jump, North Hagerstown junior Jake Scallion PR’d by nearly a foot, placing third at 21-8 1/2.
“I felt great today,” Scallion said. “I had the high jump before it (finishing 10th at 5-10), and that warmed up my legs. I didn’t do too good in that, but it gave me the proper warmup I needed, and the wind was also blowing, and it just felt like I was ready to jump.”
Other top-eight scorers for the Hubs included Lauren Stine, who placed sixth in the girls 1,600 (5:17.20), Alex Duncan, who was seventh in the boys 3,200 (9:46.11), and Mio Desclous, who tied for seventh in the boys pole vault (11-6).
More 1A medals and points
Three other Washington County athletes earned Class 1A medals Saturday.
Hancock’s Aidan Faith placed second in the girls long jump (16-6 1/2), and for the Boonsboro girls, Gabby Cook tied for second in the high jump (5-0) and Caroline Matthews finished third in the 1,600 (5:22.40).
Also for the Boonsboro girls, Kaitlyn Queen placed sixth in the shot put (33-1), and Macie Horton, Michaela Carney, Summer Auth and Carlee Smith finished sixth in the 4x400 (4:23.77).
For Clear Spring, Bri Clever placed fifth in the girls 200 (26.42) and sixth in the long jump (15-10), Jairik McCauley was seventh in the boys discus (120-1) and Lucy Enow was seventh in the girls high jump (4-6).
Hancock’s Joslyn Foltz placed fifth in the girls shot put (33-2), and Smithsburg’s Kyle Dwinnells took fifth in the boys discus (125-6).
Washington County girls win 2 events on Day 1
As the Smithsburg girls track and field team chases another top finish at a championship meet, the statement it’s making remains loud and clear.
“It’s going to be a long four years for everyone else,” said Ella Fisher, one of the Leopards’ many standout freshmen.
After rolling to team titles at both the Washington County and Class 1A West championships, the Smithsburg girls kicked off Day 1 of the Maryland state meet by winning the first event on the track — the 4x800 relay — at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex.
The team of Grace Ellis, Cora Gentzel, Fisher and Kayla Hawbecker — all ninth-graders — prevailed in a season-best time of 9:59.91. Northern Garrett finished second in 10:06.67.
Washington County’s other champion Thursday was Boonsboro sophomore Caroline Matthews, who won the Class 1A girls 3,200.
In the 4x800, the Leopards and Huskies finished 1-2 for the second straight week.
Ellis immediately put the Leopards in front during the leadoff leg.
“I felt pretty good going into it because we had the regions to base off of,” she said. “I just knew I had to run like I did at regionals.”
After Gentzel relinquished the lead to Northern Garrett during the second leg, she took it right back — and then some — with a big move over the final 250 meters, with Smithsburg coach Adam Rudy shouting at her on the backstretch.
“The coach said, ‘Make the move big,’” Gentzel said. “I was just happy he was there. I knew I was strong.”
By the time Fisher handed off to Hawbecker, the anchor, the victory seemed all but sealed as the Leopards had a commanding lead.
However, Hawbecker couldn’t just coast it in with Northern Garrett’s Lydia Nelson, the reigning state cross country champ, giving chase.
“I was definitely a little bit nervous,” Hawbecker said. “But I trusted in everything I’ve done this season, and I trusted in my teammates, that if they did their job and I did mine, that we’d be fine. And that’s what ended up happening.”
Through six events, Fort Hill leads the 1A girls team standings with 38 points. Smithsburg is in second place with 21, and Brunswick is in third with 20.
Matthews led from start to finish in the 3,200, winning in 11:24.10. Mountain Ridge’s Mary Delaney was the runner-up in 11:39.23.
Matthews ran the first 1,600 in 5:42, with Delaney only a half-stride behind.
“Our plan was for me to go through the mile in about 5:40 and see who’s with me,” Matthews said, “and then the last mile, just pretend like I didn’t run a mile before that and just push as hard as I could.”
She began to open a gap on the fifth lap and gradually increased her advantage the rest of the way.
“I know Mary is so strong at kicking, and she has such a great sprint,” Matthews said. “In my head, I just kept thinking, ‘I want this, I want this.’”
On Saturday, Matthews will run the 1,600 and 800 — with the longer event being her best chance for more success.
“In the mile, I’m just going to try to stick with the top girls,” she said. “We’ve been working on my kick, so hopefully it will pay off.”
In the Class 1A boys 4x800, Smithsburg’s Liam Fisher, Kyle West, Sean Milligan and Cameron Rejonis ran a season-best time of 8:23.68, edging Snow Hill (8:23.71) in a photo finish for second place. Mountain Ridge won the race in 8:15.27.
“It hurt, but I wanted it. I was ready to dive,” said Rejonis, who received the baton in third place for the final leg and then dug deep to outkick Snow Hill’s Justin Hurney on the final straightaway. “My goal was just to get as close as possible to Mountain Ridge because I know they’re a fantastic team.”
On Saturday, Rejonis will try to repeat as state champ in both the 400 and 800, before anchoring the Leopards’ 4x400 relay.
“I’m looking forward to it, but it’s going to be awful for pain,” he said.
Several other county athletes scored points with top-eight finishes in Class 1A on Thursday.
For the Smithsburg girls, Hawbecker (12:20.52) and Gentzel (12:48.57) placed third and eighth in the 3,200 with personal-record times, and Alaina Pate, Amanda Hawbecker, Jenna Howe and Lexi Zimmerman finished fifth in the 4x200 (1:49.77).
For the Clear Spring boys, Tyler Josenhans (5-10) and Jacob Faith (5-8) placed third and seventh in the high jump, and Jairik McCauley took sixth in the shot put (43-1 1/2).
For the Boonsboro girls, Michael Carney placed fourth in the pole vault (8-0) and Kaitlyn Queen was eighth in the discus (94-1).
Hancock’s Aidan Faith took fifth in the girls triple jump (33-5 1/2), and Smithsburg’s Milligan finished fifth in the boys 3,200 (10:01.92).
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Maryland state track and field Washington County roundup