The Howard County indoor track and field championships had several double winners last night, notably Oakland Mills junior Tony Cole (boys' 55 meters and 300 meters) and Hammond junior Shade Smith (girls' 55 and 300, despite battling the flu). But Mount Hebron came away from the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover with the perfect pair of titles.
The Mount Hebron boys and girls claimed the first county track titles -- indoor or outdoor -- in school history. Mount Hebron's boys topped three-time defending champion Oakland Mills, 102-57; the Vikings' girls beat River Hill, 89-59, at the meet named in honor of longtime Oakland Mills coach Ivan Walker, who has retired but still attends the meet.
Considering where the teams came from -- four years ago, Mount Hebron's girls were ninth and its boys were eighth at this meet -- it was no surprise the team celebrated with cartwheels around part of the track.
"We have really been coming along in sprinting and everything else," senior Matt Sanders said. "For the past four years we have been strong in distance, but it's not just distance carrying the team like it was before. It's everything."
An ankle injury kept Sanders from competing for much of the regular season, but the senior won the 3,200, anchored the Vikings' victorious 4x800-meter relay, and finished second in the 800 and 1,600 -- both times to Wilde Lake junior Mehdi Bensarghin.
Mount Hebron senior Damon Gasque added a win in the high jump and a second-place finish in the 55 hurdles. The Vikings' girls were just as impressive, with junior Darya Fakory winning the 800 and senior Jeanette Curtis winning the 55 hurdles.
Atholton senior Lindsay Grigoriev put a season-long bout with an Achilles' tendon injury behind her and set a county and meet record in the shot put at 43 feet 7 inches. She also finished second in the 55 hurdles. But the day clearly belonged to the Vikings.
"When I got here four years ago we were ninth" in the girls' meet, Mount Hebron Coach Mark Reedy said. "To see the progress we've made, it's a little overwhelming."