Glenelg senior Elaina Christmas had already had a career performance before she anchored the 4x400-meter relay at the Maryland 2A South Region track and field championships. But as that race turned tight, Christmas decided that she should try her hardest to finish the day as well as it started.
Christmas held off Central in a tight race and helped the Gladiators clinch a decisive team victory at the region meet at Reservoir High in Fulton. Christmas had already captured the 300 hurdles championship and taken third in the 100 hurdles.
"I could hear the other girl [from Central] breathing," Christmas said. "I said to myself, 'I had a good day, I can't let her pass me.' "
Glenelg finished with 132 points, well ahead of Reservoir's second-place 79.
In the boys' race, Southern used some standout performances to edge Glenelg in a tight team race. Bulldogs senior A.J. Lee won the long jump and high jump and the 100 and 200 meters, and Ray Matula captured the discus and shot put.
The Bulldogs finished with 114 points; Glenelg was second with 110. Southern won the 2A state title two years ago and captured second place last year, and Coach Brian Brown said the Bulldogs will be taking aim at the state title again.
"We have a chance," Brown said. "We won two years ago, and we were runner-up last year, so the kids know what it takes to do it."
The Gladiators girls were state runners-up last year, and they could contend for a state title this year. Yesterday, Mary Rollyson won the 400 and Jessica Hibbert won the 3,200.
Glenelg showed its usual strength in the distance events, taking the top two spots in the 3,200 and second, third and fourth in the 1,600. But the hurdles win by Christmas, who will run for Monmouth (N.J.) next year, showed that the Gladiators have a versatile team this year.
"We're usually known for our distance events, so Elaina's win was a big one," Coach Mike Selmer said. "Everyone I expect to score points at states qualified today. So we feel pretty confident heading into states."
Southern junior Ashley Riggs was the only girls' double winner yesterday, capturing the shot put and discus. Lee, Matula and Glenelg All-Met senior Drew Graybeal (400 and 800) were the only double winners among the boys.