- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
LANDOVER — After Westlake High School sophomore Kiara Parker crossed the finish line in the 55-meter dash in Tuesday evening’s Class 3A state indoor track and field championships at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, she instantly looked up at the black scoreboard to see if she had won.
When the results finally came across the scoreboard, Parker found out that she was the official state champion, blazing to the finish in 7.180 seconds, edging out Friendly’s Nailah Johnson by two one-thousandths of a second.
It was a special ending to the indoor season for Parker, who was emotional and full of joy after an improbable accomplishment.
“I’m so excited. I didn’t expect to win, but no matter what, I was going to fight for it,” said Parker, who was the anchor on the 800 relay team that took fifth in the state. “My sprint coach [Adano Murray] told me I was going to run a 7.1 before the season ended, and today I ran that. I pushed all season, and finally, today, I won a state championship. I can’t believe it.”
Parker was one of two SMAC individual champions in the boys and girls competitions; senior Rachel Halmon won gold at the state gathering, leading the Thomas Stone girls to a runner-up finish with 52 points.
Hereford of Baltimore County won the state title with 61 points. Huntingtown was third with 40 points, while Westlake finished 13th with 14. La Plata tied for the 19th spot with eight points, and Northern tied for 26th with four.
In boys, Digital Harbor of Baltimore won the meet with 49 points. Stone took sixth with 32 points, while Huntingtown was 10th with 21. La Plata was 19th with seven points, Northern was tied for the 20th spot with six and Westlake was 36th with 1.5.
Halmon capped off her indoor career by capturing the state crown in the 500 run in 1 minute and 22.78 seconds, and took fourth in the 800 in 2:26.33.
”I was happy that I was able to win the 500; it was my first [individual] state title in indoor,” Halmon said. “I paced myself and finished strong in the end.”
Stone, which scored in seven of 13 events, won gold in two of three relays.
For the third-straight season at states, the Cougars 1,600 relay team took first place honors, as the quartet of senior Miranda Wood, sophomore Sonyel Williams, Halmon and sophomore Kolbi Sims came across the finish line in 4:05.10. Halmon and Wood have won all three 1,600 relay state titles, while Sims claimed it for a second time and Williams captured her first.
The Cougars 3,200 relay team of senior Jasmin Daniels, junior Kaceedra Mitchell, Wood and Halmon, crossed the finish line with a state title in 9:44.98.
”That was the fastest time that we ran all season,” Halmon said of the 3,200 relay. “I really wanted this for my team. I was nervous, but we did it.”
Huntingtown’s 800 relay quartet of juniors Shania Collins and Rebecca Sweredoski, sophomore Clarke Hooper and senior Zanae Freeland claimed gold in 1:46.23, edging Milford Mill’s quartet by one one-hundredth of a second.
”We wanted this so much, and this was very special for my senior year,” said Freeland, who also was fourth behind Collins in the 55 dash in 7.34. Collins finished third (7.28). “Milford Mill was very fast, but we were able to get them in the end.”
Hooper, who ran the third leg, added: “Honestly, we just had to run. We had to shut it down and finish strong. This was very exciting, to win a state title.”
For the second-straight indoor season, La Plata senior Paige DeMent took runner-up honors in the shot put with a throw of 38 feet and 2 3/4 inches, while Huntingtown junior Amber Logan was third in the event at 34-10 3/4.
Stone’s boys took runner-up in the 800 and the 1,600 relays with the quartet of sophomore Juwuan Briscoe and seniors Vaughn Walker, Raymond Robinson and Daylon Sims in both events.
Stone senior Brendan Johnson finished second in the 3,200 with a time of 9:31.48, falling to Annapolis’ Harry Bullen by four seconds.
”[Bullen] was the defending state champion, so I knew it was going to be a tough race,” Johnson said. “I did way better than last year. I ran a good time and had a good pace going.”
For Huntingtown, senior Quajae Jones took second in the 55 hurdles in 7.67, falling to Tuscarora’s Marcus Foster by one one-hundredth of a second.
Junior Collin McKenny was a runner-up in the shot put for the Hurricanes with a throw of 50-0 1/2, one-quarter of an inch behind North Harford’s Mackey Kevin.