— Hereford coach Brad Duvall said early in Tuesday night's state indoor track and field championship that he truly spread out his lineup in an attempt to gain points.
That strategy paid off as Sarah Ashwood and several others helped the No. 3 Hereford girls team win its second consecutive Class 3A state title at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.
The Bulls finished with 66.67 points, beating out Thomas Stone (52), even though the Bulls won just one of the 13 events. That's where the depth paid off.
"We just nickel and dimed it," Duvall said. "You have to spread it out. You can't always put people in four events. We're lucky to have some depth where we can do it."
And they did it well. Ashwood repeated as the state champion in the 1,600 with a time of 5 minutes, 15.94 seconds , edging out teammate Erin Causey (5:17.03).
In addition, Ashwood finished second in the 800 to give the Bulls 18 crucial points.
"No one on the team is a hero," she said. "We all work together."
Causey added a sixth-place finish in the 3,200. Meghan Anderson helped by taking third in that race and sixth in the 1,600, and Duvall praised Catie Denz for stepping up. She finished fourth in the 500 but ran on the second-place 3,200 relay and the 1,600 relay (seventh).
The Digital Harbor boys had a tougher time en route to their Class 3A title, but the Rams clinched the crown with a win in the 1,600 relay, the night's last event.
That victory gave Digital Harbor a total of 49 points, beating out No. 4 Hereford (45) and No. 9 Mount Hebron (44).
George Flaviano and Quick Stukes paced Digital Harbor. Flaviano won the 300 in 34.82 while Stukes finished third.
Stukes also added a second-place finish in the 500. Both ran on the 1,600 relay that locked up the state title. Travis Walker and Jonathan Cook were the other two runners on that victorious relay.
The standings weren't known heading into that final event, except for the fact that all three schools were very close.
"We were nervous," Flaviano said. "We just went out there and did our best and put 100 percent into it."
Digital Harbor coach Dave Adams said he wasn't surprised at how things played out.
"I knew it was going to be a nail-biter," he said.
There were a number of other good performances at the meet. Vince Ciattei of Perry Hall set a Class 4A and meet record in the 1,600 with his win in a time of 4:14.61, leading from start to finish.
"I was trying to go for the state record," he said. "I wanted to set the pace and try to run my own race and get that time."
He came back later to complete his sweep of the distance races with a win in the 3,200, rallying late to win in 9:30.28.
Tim Virostek of Wilde Lake also won twice (800, 1,600). Hale Bullen, who earned a brief mention in Sports Illustrated last week, had little trouble during his win in the 3,200.
Clarksburg (boys) and Bowie (girls) were the team winners in Class 4A.