LANDOVER, Md. – “Field” is always listed second in track and field, but it put Padua in first on Saturday.
The Pandas piled up 52½ points in the field events – including 23½ in the pole vault – to outdistance Tatnall for their fifth consecutive girls team title in the DIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, held at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Center.
“The girls in the field were unbelievable today,” Padua coach Marnie Giunta said. “Our triple jumpers, pole vaulters, throwers, they were just more than I could expect.”
The Pandas withstood a major challenge from their longtime rivals, finishing with 132½ points to pull away from the Hornets (103) late. Smyrna was third with 87½.
“We’re the defending champions, and we have pride with that,” Giunta said. “There’s pride with the program, and these girls rose to the occasion. I’m so proud.”
On the track, Padua got victories from Taliah Cintron in the 400 and Lydia Olivere in the 3,200, with both joining Darby Deutsch and Lizzie Bader for a final win in the 4×400-meter relay.
But the Pandas really did the damage in the events contested inside the track, especially the pole vault. Camryn Harris won at 11 feet, 6 inches, Deutsch was second at 11-0 and Abby Vanderloo cleared 8-6 to tie for third.
Arryana Daniels (37-2¼) won the triple jump, with Harris taking fifth. Marie Soja was second in the shot put, Daniels earned fourth in the long jump and Bader added two points for seventh in the high jump.
“There were a lot of people that we’ve been developing along the way, and they just stepped up,” Giunta said. “It just was fun to watch.”
Tatnall won the other two relays, with Lexxie Mathis, Ellen Zammarchi, Peyton Hays and Kayla Woods combining in the 4×200 (1:46.85) and Caroline Foley, Keelin Hays, Lauren Anshen and Savannah Pankow taking the 4×800 (9:38.22).
Keelin Hays scored the only individual win for the Hornets, nipping her friend and rival Olivere by .03 of a second after an incredible duel through the stretch. The sophomore finished in 5:01.25.
“I thought it was so nice that we could work together to just get each other the best time possible for the day,” Hays said. “… I just put the team on my back and just kept pushing to the finish.”
Olivere easily turned the tables in the 3,200, pulling away to dust Hays by more than 17 seconds in 11:25.13.
“I was fired up after that [1,600],” Olivere said. “It gave me more confidence. I was excited, especially since I like the 3,200 more. I was really excited to see what I could do.”
Middletown’s Daija Lampkin said she wasn’t at full tilt, as hip flexor and groin problems have limited her recent practices. The Alabama signee still blazed to meet records of 6.95 seconds in the 55 and 24.46 in the 200 to become the day’s only double winner.
“I feel good, especially because since I’m not 100 percent I was still able to run a 6.95,” Lampkin said. “And the 200, that’s the fastest I’ve ever run on a flat track.”
Lampkin set the 55 state record of 6.91 at last year’s Millrose Games in New York City, a mark she hopes to lower at the same meet next weekend.
Smyrna’s Naomi Bowser earned her first individual title in the 800, rallying from third place on the final lap to finish in 2:21.19 and edge Tatnall’s Savannah Pankow by .30 of a second.
“I honestly don’t even know what happened during the race,” Bowser said. “I’m just so happy. I’ve never gotten first at the state meet before.”
Smyrna’s Taimira Ramseur won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.26, and gave a brilliant description of the intensity required to do it.
“I had a lot of adrenaline running. My heart was pounding; I couldn’t breathe,” Ramseur said. “Once the race started, I just focused. I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t see anybody. I didn’t really gain consciousness until the end, after we were done.”
Padua’s Cintron finished second to Ramseur in that race, then came back to win the 400 in 56.91
“I’m really proud of myself,” the senior said. “I knew I had to come out here today and just give it my all. There’s no regrets.”
Charter of Wilmington’s Asaana Shamlin (high jump, 5-2), Caesar Rodney’s Destiny Bailey-Perkins (long jump, 18-3¼) and Smyrna’s Myrissa McFolling-Young (shot put, 42-4¼) also took home individual state titles.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.