BALTIMORE — Seated in the shade of Bohemia Manor’s dark red tent near the top of the bleachers at Morgan State University on Saturday, Anthony Egurola abruptly stopped talking, crouched low and turned his head to the side as he strained to hear the latest announcement coming from the stadium loudspeaker.
Moments later, he cracked a wide smile and subtly pumped his fist as he celebrated the news.
After nearly 15 minutes of deliberation — a span in which he competed in another event, finishing second — Egurola was officially named the 1A State Champion in the 110-meter hurdles, winning the race by two-tenths of a second. The champion was impossible to determine initially after the Eagles senior and Crisfield’s Kyle Knoll crossed the finish line neck and neck.
“I did have to wait, which was annoying. It’s satisfying to hear that I won,” Egurola said. “Just the rivalry. Me and Knoll, we have a rivalry in regionals, prelims, states when we were out here on Thursday, looking at each other, dogging each other. It feels good, it feels good.”
Egurola captured first in a time of 14.80 seconds, edging Knoll, who ended in 14.82. When the race first concluded, it was announced that the Crisfield junior won, but no results flashed on the jumbotron to confirm.
The race came one week after Knoll edged Egurola in the same event at the 2A East Championships at Kent Island.
“Oh, I had him. My thought was that I had him with the lean,” Egurola said. “I really jumped in there because I wanted to get him. I didn’t want him to get me again. We love the competition. It motivates us, it pushes us to get a better time.”
It represented the highlight of the weekend for the Bo Manor senior, who earned runner-up in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.10 seconds — amazingly by four-tenths of a second — while still waiting to hear the results from his previous event.
Later on Saturday, he placed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 40.26, while Knoll placed first in 39.49.
“This was working every day,” Egurola said. “After UCBACs, I started meditating with myself, just visualizing, thinking of the hurdles. Me going over, the faster leg, trail leg, lead leg, coming out the blocks — which was the main problem for me. I worked on those, fixed those. Just hard work.”
His effort was part of a strong weekend for Bo Manor, which received championship performances from senior Alex Longeway in the two-mile run and junior Brooke Walz in both the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs.
Walz edged Catoctin’s Emma Strickland by less than a second to win the 800-meter run in a time of 2:22.11. She captured first in the mile run in a time of 5:17.17.
“I’m just really excited. I just wanted to get out there and see what I could do,” Walz said, shortly after winning the 1,600-mile run by nearly four seconds. “I was anticipating top eight, just trying to get points in something. I just wanted to push myself and see how fast I could go.”
“After Lap 2 [in the 1,600-meter run], I thought ‘I got this,’ but then my legs started hurting a little bit because Lap 3 is alway a little hard. You get to the final lap and I got really excited and just went for it.”
Longeway repeated as the two-mile champion but fell short of capturing the 1,600-mile run in consecutive seasons.
He won the 3,200-mile run on Thursday in a time 9:52.48.
“It feels awesome. My teammates were behind me, and it felt so great going back and they were all congratulating me. I didn’t want to let it get too caught up in my emotions because I knew today (Saturday) was business as usual,” Longeway said. “I wanted to win both, but just winning a state title is awesome as it is. Not everybody gets to run at Morgan State, so I’m blessed to feel that. To win is just something else. I’m happy to get one at this meet.”
The reigning All-County Male Athlete of the Year placed second in the mile run on Saturday, finishing roughly five seconds behind Boonsboro’s Henry Schmidt — who he beat to win the 3,200 two days earlier.
“I’m a little disappointed. Of course, I want to win. Why wouldn’t you?” Longeway said. “But Henry ran a great race. I went through my first two laps, felt like it was where I wanted to be, but that third lap, we pushed, and he had more.
“Did I know he was capable of that? Absolutely,” Longeway addd. “Am I surprised? I guess a little. Not to take anything away from him, I just felt I could have had a better race.”
Panthers’ Kuhn, Bell wins 1A titles
Away from the track, a pair of Perryville seniors reclaimed their dominance in their respective events.
Ellie Kuhn won the 1A girls’ pole vault on Thursday to repeat as state champion, while Emani Bell placed first in the 1A girls’ shot put on Saturday to secure a gold medal after a one-year hiatus.
Kuhn cleared a height of 10 feet to win the pole vault, then closed out the evening trying to set a new personal record.
“It’s really cool. Every year, I’ve improved. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come,” said Kuhn, who bested Sophie Reinhart, of Boonsboro (nine feet). “It was my last hurrah, and I had my coach with me, who has helped me through everything, so it was bittersweet. Even though I couldn’t end it off with a PR, I was able to end it off with another title.”
Kuhn, who set a PR of 10-6 earlier in the season, tried three times to clear 10-8 under darkening skies at Morgan State.
“I really wanted the PR,” admitted Kuhn. “I’ve been working really hard at every single meet, putting it up at either 10-7, 10-8 or 10-9, and I’ve been so close on every single attempt. It stinks I didn’t get it, but I was close.”
Two days later, Bell flexed her muscles in the shot put, winning the throwing event with a toss of 38 feet, 06.75 inches. She edged Largo’s Sierra James (38-00) to earn the state crown for the first time since her sophomore season.
Last year, Bell placed third in the same event at Morgan State.
“Emani has started from the bottom. She’s came and rose and it’s really awesome,” Kuhn said of her teammate. “It’s huge for Perryville. We’ve definitely left our mark on the school.”
Indians’ Khanjar falls short of state crown
Earlier on Saturday, North East senior Niya Kanjar participated in a dramatic ending to the 2A State girls’ pole vaulting championships.
Locked in a three-way tie with Kent Island’s Fiona Mulligan and Herford’s Courtney Butz at 11 feet, only one needed to clear the bar at the next height to likely win the state crown.
Kanjar fell short on all three final attempts, coming the closest on her third climb.
“I really came out to do better than I did last season, which was 10. So, I was happy when I cleared 10-6 and happy when I cleared 11. Eleven is my PR, so I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get a new PR, but it’s OK,” Kanjar said. “I told my coaches and Fiona earlier today and last week, that a title would be nice, but I just wanted to vault well today.”
Mulligan cleared 11-6 on her final attempt to repeat as state champion.
“I know Fiona is a fantastic vaulter, and there’s no doubt she deserves the title. Any of us would have, but she’s just so deserving of it,” Khanjar said.
Earlier in the week, Khanjar cleared what would have been Saturday’s winning height.
“I considered using it on my last attempt at 11-6, but I haven’t had enough time to get used to it yet. It was safer to try a really good jump on the pole I was used to,” she said. “I felt good about today. I’m not disappointed.”
She graduates as the top female pole vaulter in Cecil County history.
“It’s a great feeling. I’m very honored to have my name up there, especially considering the vaulters who held the record before me were great vaulters and went onto do great things in college and stuff,” Kahnjar said. “I hope someone breaks it, and I would cheer them on every step of the way.”