Robbie Creese dominated the distance events at the Maryland 2A/1A state indoor championships, sweeping all three races for the second straight year and sparking Glenelg to a third-place team finish Monday in Landover.
The Gladiators, thanks largely to Creese, finished just three points behind 2A champion Century and one behind runner-up Oakland Mills in front of a near-capacity crowd at Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.
Century also won the girls' 2A championship, beating out Liberty and Digital Harbor.
In 1A, the boys from Carver Vo-Tech finished ahead of Catoctin and Boonsboro. Western Tech won the girls' title over Boonsboro and Smithsburg.
Creese, a state cross-country champion last fall, got off to a sensational start. The senior won the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 18.89 seconds, a 2A record. Winters Mill's Ryan Spangler was runner-up in 4:28.34.
Creese won the 3,200 a couple of hours later in 9:37.46, an 18-second victory over Century's Nick Pezza. He took control of the 16-lap race right away and padded his lead with every circuit.
There was very little time to recover between the 3,200 and the 800, which started about an hour later, and Creese looked spent at the beginning of his last race. He toiled at the back of the 12-runner field during the first lap. But somehow he mustered enough strength to pass 10 runners on the second lap and pull even with North Carroll's Matt Smith at the bell.
Smith did a good job of protecting the inside lane - he forced Creese to run out in lane two every time he tried to pass-but Creese pulled even with Smith on the final turn and, despite running extra distance, sped past Smith for the victory in 1:58.93.
Smith was second in 1:59.51.
"I got a horrible start. It happens way too often," Creese panted.
Superb starts are what earned Aneesha Scott two gold medals. The Long Reach senior captured her second straight 2A 300 meters title in a personal-best 40.53 before winning her first 55 in 7.22, another personal best.
Catoctin came within 1.5 points of the 1A boys' title thanks largely to senior Deven Patterson. He won the 300 in 35.31 and came back stronger in the 500, taking that event in 1:06.60, a 1A record.
He also anchored Catoctin's 4x200 relay team to the silver medal and its 4x400 relay team to the bronze.
Patterson said a deeper commitment to training is the reason for his success this season.
"I have more love for the sport," Patterson said. "Setting records is all right. It's nice to be known for something. But I think I'm focusing on winning and getting better."
A pair of leapers from Frederick County scored victories in the pole vault. Middletown's Seth Fritz captured the boys' 2A competition by six inches. He got good penetration into the pit and cleared the bar at 12 feet 6 inches.
Brunswick's Nathan Diaz won the 1A event in the same fashion. He was the pre-meet favorite and also won his competition with 12-6.