Dulaney High's Nico Yarbough is Towson Times Male Co-Athlete of the Year
When Dulaney High track and field coach Chad Boyle talks about Nico Yarbough, he gushes about Yarbough's thirst for competition.
"There are certain athletes across all sports that just love to perform," Boyle said. "They love the heat of the moment and what tough competition brings and he just thrives on that."
Yarbough, who was selected the 2017 Towson Times Male Co-Athlete of the Year, along with Towson High's Jon Ellis, took his competitive desire to new levels during his senior year at Dulaney High, competing as a wide receiver and safety for the football team and in the hurdles and high jump for the indoor and outdoor track teams.
His most impressive performance came on May 13 at the Baltimore County championship meet, which was won by the host Lions.
Yarbough set a county and meet record by clearing 6-feet, 8 ? inches in the high jump. Yarbough left the high jump event thinking he cleared 6-10, and he did, but that was revised.
"It was [6-10] when he cleared it, but since it was a meet and county record we had to go back and measure it in the center of the bar and it was officially 6-8 ?," Boyle said.
Yarbough was elated after setting the record.
"I woke up a little late and just came here and I knew today was the day," Yarbough said. "I was definitely feeling it."
He cleared the bar at 6-10 on his second attempt and slipped in the rainy conditions at his attempt for 7-feet.
"I just felt great," said Yarbough, who had to atone for missing the call for the start of the 110-meter hurdles earlier in the day and not competing in it. "I came a split second late for the 110 hurdles so I was like, 'Now I've got to make up for it.' "
Yarbough's previous personal best outdoors in the high jump was 6-4.
"That [missing an event] is just a part of growing up, but he atoned for it," Boyle said. "He knew he messed up and that will be a good learning experience for him going onto Division I."
Yarbough will compete in track and field at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut next year.
Boyle has no doubt Yarbough's burning desire to win will surface in college.
"He's not asking, 'How do I qualify or to get third place,' he wants to know what he has to do to win, either in the high jump or hurdles," Boyle said.
Yarbough won the high jump in seven meets during the outdoor season, including the county championships for the second year in a row.
He cleared 5-10 when he won as a junior.
This past spring, Yarbough jumped 6-2 and won the Class 4A Central Region high jump title.
He cleared the same height and finished third at the Class 4A state meet at Morgan State University.
In the 110 hurdles at states, he saved his best for last, setting a personal record (15.07) and placing fifth.
"I think he was almost better in the hurdles at the state meet than he was in the high jump," Boyle said. "He just had a little bit of an off day in the high jump, but in the hurdles he ran the fastest time of his career, but he just wasn't able to win, but he left it all on the track there."
During the indoor track season, Yarbough won the 55 hurdles at the Baltimore County championships and placed fourth in the Central Region meet with a personal-best time of 8.16.
He was also first in the high jump at the county and regional meets and second in the Class 4A states, when he cleared 6-6.
On the gridiron for the 5-4 Lions, Yarbough impressed coach Daron Reid with his ability to make the tough catches and the 6-foot, 185-pound Yarbough knew what to do after he caught the ball.
"He was a big physical receiver with breakout ability," Reid said. "He was pretty elusive. He made several catches going up over somebody or on balls thrown behind him."
Boyle was elated to coach Yarbough on two track teams after his football season.
"We've got a nice little rapport and connection with our football team," Boyle said. "They work well and cooperate with us. They feel like we are mutually beneficial to one another."