BALTIMORE — It took Geni Roberts four years. It took Kendron Wayman one.
But North Caroline High’s star tandem each got what they wanted Thursday night — a state championship.
Roberts soared a school-record 22 feet, 10½ inches to win the boys’ long jump, and Wayman gave the Bulldogs their second straight title in the boys’ shot put with a personal-record heave of 49 feet, 11½ inches on Day 1 of the Class 2A state track and field championships at Morgan State University’s Hughes Stadium.
“I came here looking to at least jump a 21 and get second place,” Roberts said. “But I hit the board finally and I jumped a 22-(10½).
“I had my steps wrong all season long. I worked on it this week with my coach Lamar (Opher) and my coach Kaneesha (Hollis),” Roberts said of the two North Caroline assistant coaches. “Last year I got third in both (long jump and triple jump) so I thought I could get first.”
While Roberts had pretty much ruled the long jump and triple jump during the regular season, it wasn’t until the postseason began that the 6-foot-3 senior began fine tuning his approach to the board. That paid dividends last night, as Roberts jumped 22 feet on his first attempt in the opening round, then delivered his title-winning effort on his second try.
“And that’s exactly it,” North Caroline head coach Rob Thomas said of Roberts finally hitting the board. “All four years with Geni, the biggest problem we had with him was he wasn’t consistent when it came time to hitting the board. Every time we adjusted him, he would be behind the board.
“This last couple of weeks he’s been hitting that board and he’s been jumping PR jumps,” Thomas added. “The jump today broke the record for the school along with getting him a gold medal in the state. This is going to be big momentum for him going into the triple jump (Saturday) where he’s already seeded first.”
Tikristi Ayo-Durojaiye of Damascus was second to Roberts with a leap of 21-8½.
Wayman admitted he did not expect to give North Caroline a second straight state champion in the shot put — following Ja’Mion Franklin’s title win last year — especially considering he’d been sick earlier in the week. But the junior also noted he probably wouldn’t have even picked up the shot had it not been for Franklin, his former football teammate now at Notre Dame.
“He told me, ‘Yo, you should do shot put,’” Wayman said of Franklin’s track and field recruiting pitch. “And I said, ‘I don’t know, man.’ And then I went out and tried it and liked it.”
Wayman’s liked enough that he has shown steady progression under the direction of assistant Ted Holloway this season, and has been near the top of every competition he has entered this year. Like Roberts in the long jump, Wayman delivered what proved to be his winning distance on his second attempt in the first round to easily beat Eastern Tech’s Ryan Strait, who was runner-up at 45-9.
“Not many athletes come out their first year and win a state championship,” Thomas said. “Kendron is easy to coach. He listens. Him and Ted have established a good relationship. Everything that Ted asks of him he does.”
Colonel Richardson’s Dakota Wilson almost gave Caroline County a clean sweep in the long jump, as he placed second in the boys’ 1A event with a leap of 21-¼. Smithsburg’s Ryan Chinn won with a 21-5.
Kent Island's girls' 4x800-meter relay of Charlotte Kratovil-Lavelle, Jules Biggam, Sydney Bowman and Krya Schulties placed second in a time of 9 minutes, 38.07 seconds. Hereford won the event with a mark of 9:36.44.
Cambridge-South Dorchester senior Carrie Price finished fourth in the girls' 3,200 meters, clocking a time of 12:30.58.
Easton's 4x200-meter boys' relay of Darrin Moon, Tah Jay Jenkins, Ucheyah and Clayton Tyler finished fifth in the 2A competition.