Clarksburg had been knocking on the door of a state title for two years.
The emergence of Avery Graham as one of the top all-around athletes in the state was one of many factors that fueled Clarksburg to their first county track title in the spring of 2008, but the second-year team came up twenty points shy of the 2A state title after blunders in the hurdle events and a hamstring injury to Graham.
Last fall, Graham, Mark Small, and Marcus Kinney were star players in the Clarksburg football team that was also in pursuit of a state title. They went undefeated in the regular season before being eliminated early in the playoffs.
Winter came and the regular crew came out for the track team, only this time Christian Smith and Rob Thompson were throwing 50 feet in the shot put early in the season. This freed up Graham to compete in other events.
The team looked strong heading into the indoor state championship, but Graham came down with an illness which caused all of the dominos to fall. Thompson and Smith placed first and third in the shot put, but Graham and Small failed to score any points in individual events. Another state title slipped away.
It was apparent that the team had plenty of talent as the outdoor season progressed. They placed second at the outdoor county championship and won the 2A west regional championship convincingly. They were considered the favorites entering the state championship meet, but after so many prior disasters, there was still some doubt if Clarksburg would be able to execute.
On the first day of the state championship, Christian Smith and Rob Thompson took first and second place in the shot put while Avery Graham and Mark Small ran the fastest preliminary times in the 200-meter dash. Graham also clocked the fastest preliminary 100 time.
In the final race of day one, Clarksburg won the 4x200-meter relay by nearly two seconds in 1:28.97. They ended the day with 28 points, the best possible scenario.
They returned on day three of the state meet with all of the pieces in place to take home the state title.
Graham kicked it off with a win in the 100-meter dash and would later win the 200-meter dash. It was the fifth and sixth individual state titles of his high school career, not including relays.
Mark Small added on 4 points with a fourth place finish in the 200-meter dash.
Then came the news that Marcus Kinney had defended his state title in the discus. He had defeated the favorite Andre Dupree of North Point by four inches with a personal best throw of 140-01.
At that point in the meet, Clarksburg had 66 points and was leading Baltimore Poly by 22 points and North Point by 24 points. Baltimore Poly could no longer catch Clarksburg, but North Point could still win with top performances in the triple jump, 4x100, and 4x400. Clarksburg only had the 4x100 remaining to put North Point behind them once and for all.
North Point jumped out to an early lead when the race began. Samuel Oluyemi from Clarksburg handed off to Mark Small who nearly evened the race with North Point with a good handoff to Devin Moreno. North Point's third leg reopened the gap before Moreno handed off to Graham. North Point's lead disappeared quickly as Graham powered himself into the lead.
The 4x100 relay win gave Clarksburg 76 points and made it impossible for any other team to catch them. North Point ended the meet in second place with 63 points.
Avery Graham contributed to 40 of the team's 76 points. Graham, who now has won nine state titles individually and as a relay member, executed everything perfectly, as did the rest of the team. Seven team members had gold medals around their necks at the end of the day. Even Naseem Zietoon, who drastically improved this season and ended in seventh place with a PR of 40.66 in the 300 hurdles, had a gold medal as a part of the 4x200 relay.
As Devin Moreno pointed out while the team awaited the awards ceremony, nearly all of the point scorers will graduate this year. Only Moreno will return next year and he acknowledges this was probably the last opportunity for the team to win the state title for a while.
The boys of Clarksburg won six state titles in their 76 point victory, but the Clarksburg girls won two state titles of their own. Charnay Ryland, Page Harris, Courtney Clark, and Turquoia Johnson teamed up to win the 2A 4x200-meter relay in 1:43.28, the fastest time by a Montgomery County team this year. Freshman Bailee Freeman became the first state champion from the class of 2012 with her win in the long jump. Freeman had a mark of 17-03.50. The Clarksburg girls placed fourth in the 2A competition with 53 points.