Let's be honest.

No one, not even Kevin Steinberg's closest friends, expected him to become a state champion.

For one thing, this was just the Neshaminy sprinter's second season of outdoor track on the high school level. And second, his first season wasn't exactly a memorable one.

"He only made it to the semifinals of the District 1 [Class AAA] meet in the 100 meters last year," Redskins coach Chuck Lumio said.

Steinberg has accomplished much more a year later.

The senior capped his prep career last weekend by winning the 200 and finishing second in the 100 in the Class AAA portion at the PIAA track and field championships at Shippensburg University.

As a result, the 19-year-old is The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania boys' track and field athlete of the year.

"Running indoor track helped me out a lot," Steinberg said of giving up basketball to focus on indoor track this past winter.

The base he acquired during the indoor season nearly led him to winning two gold medals at the state meet.

The Connecticut recruit had a slight lead over Peabody's Pierre Carr heading into the final 10 meters of the 100. After closing the gap, Carr out-leaned Steinberg in a photo finish. The Peabody sprinter won in 10.57 seconds. Steinberg was second in 10.58.

"I thought I had it in that race," Steinberg said. "I was like, 'You got to be kidding me.' That's when I said, 'I'm winning the 200. I'm not walking out of here without a gold medal.' "

His competition didn't have a chance in the 200.

After making up the stagger, he ran away from the field down the homestretch. Steinberg won in 21.44. Altoona's Aaron Nadolsky finished second in 21.75.

"Crossing the finish line in the 200, that was my most memorable moment," Steinberg said.

It was a moment that was unattainable two years ago.

Concentrating on football and basketball, he opted not to join the track team as a sophomore. Even though he ran outdoor track last season, Steinberg lacked the base provided from indoor track.

"I never would have thought to have this much success," he said. "But it was always my goal to be a state champion."

Lumio expects him to experience a lot of success on the next level

"He's going to run 10.1 or 10.2 automatically in the 100 in college," Lumio said. "He will run 20.50 in the 200.

"He hasn't developed into the runner that he is going to be. He is a great runner but not as good as he is going to be on the next level."

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com.