LANDOVER — While the 800-meter run is generally considered to be one of the toughest races on the track, Mikayla Moxley has always been fond of it.
“I love that you get to use your strength and endurance,” the junior from Linganore High School said. “And that kick at the end of the race, that’s my favorite part.”
Already a state indoor champion in the 800, Moxley and her coach, Steve Musselman, embarked upon a quest to find the right balance of strength and endurance to maximize her results in her favorite race.
So, Moxley joined Linganore’s cross-country team during the abbreviated fall sports season and then began running the 1,600-meter run competitively once the outdoor track season began in early May.
“I have been coaching at the college and high-school level for over 35 years. She’s pretty special,” Musselman said of Moxley. “Determination, willing to learn and accept challenges and giving a strong effort in everything she does.”
That effort was on display Saturday on the second day of the state track meet at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, as Moxley won her second Class 3A state title in the 800 — first during the outdoor season — with a winning time of 2 minutes, 16.25 seconds that was just off her personal-best time of 2:15.13.
“I saw 2:13 on the board right before I crossed the finish line. So, I knew I was going to have a good time,” said Moxley, who also finished second in the 3A 1,600 a short time earlier with a time of 5:03.46.
Saturday’s portion of the state track championships featured the Class 3A meet in the morning and the Class 2A meet in the afternoon, and helped bring one of the strangest years ever for high school sports to a close.
All of the changes brought on by the pandemic were especially felt during the track and field seasons. For starters, the indoor season didn’t feature any out-of-county competition, and there was no state meet.
Then, the outdoor state meet was condensed into two days in the outdoor venue at the PG Sportsplex, which is typically home to the state indoor meet in February.
Typically, the outdoor state meet takes place over three days at Morgan State University in Baltimore. In this condensed format, athletes had less time to recover from events. So, some were forced to make very difficult choices and forgo events they would typically score in during an ordinary setup.
Adding to the strangeness was that Frederick County did not crown a state team champion during the outdoor track and field season for the first time since 2006, though the Urbana girls (4A) and the Brunswick girls (1A) finished second in their respective classifications Friday.
Moxley was one of eight state champions from Frederick County crowned during Saturday’s competition, joining Frederick’s Sarah Meredith (3A shot put and discus), Middletown’s Ava Allen (2A triple jump), who also ran a leg for the Knights’ winning 4x400 relay team, Thomas Johnson’s Peter Kamanu (3A pole vault), Tuscarora’s Joelle Kimbembe (3A long jump) and Oakdale’s Sam Starrs (2A pole vault) and the girls 4x800 relay team.
Only a freshman, Allen is one of the budding track and field stars in the county. She won the 2A girls triple jump with a leap of 37 feet, 4½ inches and nearly came from behind to win the 300-meter hurdles. Her time of 46.66 seconds was just five hundredths of a second off the winning time posted by North Caroline’s Samantha Cash (46.61). She also placed third in the pole vault with a height of 9 feet, 6 inches.
In the final event of the meet, Allen teamed with Kaylee Franklin, Haille Otto and Sophie Frizzell to win the 4x400 relay in 4:10.34 for Middletown.
Meredith, meanwhile, capped her high school career by winning her first state titles for Frederick. She won the 3A girls shot put with a winning distance of 36 feet, 9 inches and won the discus with a toss of 119 feet, 10 inches.
Other first-time champions included Kimbembe, a junior at Tuscarora who won the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, and Kamanu, who capped his high school career by winning the 3A boys pole vault with a winning height of 14 feet, 4 inches.
Starrs, a junior at Oakdale, followed his indoor state championship in the 2A pole vault in February 2020, right before everything shut down, with his first outdoor state title in the event. He cleared 14 feet to win it and nearly went over the bar at 15-0¼ before finishing.
“I was actually over on the second attempt,” he said. “But I didn’t know where I was in the air, and my elbows knocked it off.”
Oakdale’s girls 4x800 relay team continued its season of dominance, as Hayley Ross, Caylin Walker, Aubrey Schaffer and Sarah Anderson crossed the finish line in 9:52.05, more than 30 yards and five seconds in front of second-place Glenelg.
Moxley, on the other hand, had to fend off Towson’s Madeline Till, who finished second in the 800 with a time of 2:15.41. Moxley’s will and determination would not allow her to be beat.
When Musselman began working with her, he asked her if she played sports in the fall season, and Moxley told him she was a cheerleader.
“We spoke about her potential [on the track] and started working on a plan to progress to the 800/1,600,” Musselman said. “We were hoping for some quality races in the spring, but COVID took care of that. We decided to do the best we could.
“She has the traits to be a success in this sport. I have had the pleasure to work with and develop multiple state and national champions. Great things lie ahead for her. We talk about having some fun and working hard.”
Frederick County placewinners on the second day of the state track and field championships at the Prince George’s Sports and Athletic Complex in Landover:
200—7. Payton Arneson (Linganore), 26.90; 800—1. Mikayla Moxley (Linganore), 2:16.25; 1600—2. Mikayla Moxley (Linganore), 5:03.46; 3,200—6. Caroline Perrone (Linganore), 12:22.34; 100 hurdles—7. Camille Markoff (Tuscarora), 17.99; 300 hurdles—6. Melanie Barger (Linganore), 47.70; 8. Ella Wilson (Thomas Johnson), 49.20; 4x100 relay—7. Tuscarora, 52.21; 4x200 relay—8. Linganore, 1:51.81; 4x400 relay—7. Frederick, 4:29.22; 8. Linganore, 4:30.26; 4x800 relay—6. Linganore, 10:21.52; 7. Tuscarora, 10:30.64; High Jump—6. Madison O’Brien (Linganore), 4-8; 8. Areyana Snowden (Frederick), 4-8; Pole Vault—3. Elisa Ramos (Thomas Johnson), 11-0; Long Jump—1. Joelle Kimbembe (Tuscarora), 16-0; Triple Jump—4. Khady Ndiaye (Tuscarora), 33-7 1/2; 5. Elisa Ramos (Thomas Johnson), 33-5 1/2; Shot Put—1. Sarah Meredith (Frederick), 36-9; 6. Stormie Yinger (Linganore), 31-0; Discus—1. Sarah Meredith (Frederick), 119-10; 7. Stormie Yinger (Linganore), 84-6. Teams—5. Linganore, 38.5; 12. Frederick, 23; 13. Tuscarora, 21; 22. Thomas Johnson, 11.
100—7. Oral-Anthony Coleman (Linganore), 11.32; 400—5. Dakari Burton (Thomas Johnson), 51.68; 800—2. Alex Lombardo (Thomas Johnson), 1:52.48; 6. Samuel Metzner (Linganore), 2:01.58; 1,600—4. Mack McKeever (Thomas Johnson), 4:21.10; 3,200—8. Jack Sears (Linganore), 10:26.11; 110 hurdles—7. Arthur Core (Frederick), 18.04; 4x100 relay—4. Tuscarora, 43.96; 5. Linganore, 44.34; 4x200 relay—5. Tuscarora, 1:31.83; 8. Linganore, 1:34.05; 4x400 relay—5. Thomas Johnson, 3:33.34; 8. Frederick, 3:35.26; 4x800 relay—5. Linganore, 8:22.11; 8. Thomas Johnson, 8:51.03; High Jump—4. Edwin Niemandt (Tuscarora), 6-0; 8. Adebola Adeyemi (Tuscarora), 5-8; Pole Vault—1. Peter Kamanu (Thomas Johnson), 14-4; 5. Brayden Ecker (Thomas Johnson), 12-0; Shot Put—5. Jacob Cannon (Tuscarora), 42-5 1/2; 7. Adam Moezaw (Frederick), 41-8 1/2; Discus—5. Adam Moezaw (Frederick), 130-03. Teams—5. Thomas Johnson, 36; 13. Tuscarora, 18.5; 15. Linganore, 15; 23. Frederick, 9.
800—4. Sarah Anderson (Oakdale), 2:25.71; 1,600—Hayley Ross (Oakdale), 5:33.51; 3,200—2. Hayley Ross (Oakdale), 11:40.20; 300 hurdles—2. Ava Allen (Middletown), 46.66; 3. Ellen Gill (Oakdale), 47.27; 4x100 relay—5. Oakdale, 52.72; 4x200 relay—3. Oakdale, 1:51.07; 5. Walkersville, 1:51.44; 4x400 relay—1. Middletown (Kaylee Franklin, Haille Otto, Ava Allen, Sophie Frizzell), 4:10.34; 4x800 relay—1. Oakdale (Hayley Ross, Caylin Walker, Aubrey Schaffer, Sarah Anderson), 9:52.05; Pole Vault—3. Ava Allen (Middletown), 9-6; Triple Jump—1. Ava Allen (Middletown), 37-4 1/2. Teams—3. Oakdale, 45; 7. Middletown, 34; 30. Walkersville, 4.
100—7. Bavan Nadarajah (Oakdale), 11.30; 200—7. Bavan Nadarajah (Oakdale), 22.93; 3,200—4. Abhishek Mudireddy (Oakdale), 10:20.25; 110 hurdles—7. Mason Scott (Oakdale), 16.84; 300 hurdles—3. Justin Lynch (Middletown), 40.93; 4x100 relay—8. Walkersville, 44.90; 4x200 relay—8. Walkersville, 1:34.93; 4x800 relay—3. Oakdale, 8:31.02; Pole Vault—1. Samuel Starrs (Oakdale), 14-0. Teams—9. Oakdale, 27; 25. Middletown, 6; 32. Walkersville, 2.
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