Fun Stuff


3A West Dances to the State Meet
By: Sharon Foretia
Photos by Terrelle Pettis

Again, there is limited discussion of the field events. Please accept my apologies (I'm amateur).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The skies in Ijamsville, MD at Urbana High School looked nothing like they did at Counties. As I pulled up to the parking lot at about 3:00p.m, there was already some drizzling. Some Montgomery County schools had been at Urbana since 11:30 a.m., bored out of their minds with nothing to do but watch the horses eat grass (there really were horses, but not on the track). I walked into the stadium and took a seat. Two seconds later rain poured ferociously, getting harder and harder by the second. A brief respite came, and then the annoying happened, thunder. Athletes scurried either to their bus or to the school cafeteria, wondering if the meet was going to be cancelled, made into a one day meet, or carried over to Friday. After what seemed like forever, a woman announced that the meet was postponed and that a one-day meet would continue on Thursday. Uproar began but to no avail. We had to go home, with nothing accomplished. As we left Urbana, the rain died down, and I laughed.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Conditions on this day were much better although most people weren't too happy about a one day meet. Unlike 4A West, 3A West is divided. The face off between Montgomery and Frederick County was in full effect and I'll let the results explain who won the battle. While no area team won a regional title, Montgomery County illustrated its balance between sprints and distance, dominating in several events, and foreshadowing possible victories at the state meet if everything goes in the right direction. We were blessed with a wonderful 15 minute break in between the 4x200m and 100m hurdle final, which I believe made a BIG impact on everybody's performance (is my sarcasm obvious?) Hopefully, by this time next week, Moco will produce some champions and/or finalists at Morgan State University, May 25-26 because the performances at this meet demonstrated that this dream was not out of reach.

Salifu Cham, from Einstein, has proven this year that he is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, sprinters in the county, being the only individual to legitimately go sub-11 seconds in the 100m dash (meaning it wasn't hand timed). At counties he ran 10.98 during the finals to have the fastest time in the county, but at Regionals, he beat that time, running a very smooth and comfortable 10.84 in the prelims with the next fastest time being 11.25 [by a Linganore sophomore]. His final race wasn't as fast, running 11.01, but that can be attributed to the nasty fall he took in the long jump, requiring quite a few bandages on his lower right leg and thigh. Cham said, "My goal coming in was to win. I felt like I had a good race, a clean start, and Jamal Lynn [Seneca Valley] really pushed me, since I usually tend to chill at the end. I felt good, my body felt real good, and even though I had a rough landing in the long jump, I had to stay focused." In regards to his competition, Cham is fearless, "I'm coming for Lamaar Thomas [Friendly] and Kenard Harris [Westlake]." He'll have to switch into another gear as Thomas ran a 10.40 and Harris ran a 10.50 at the 3A South regional meet. Lynn was right beside him, running a very solid time of 11.02, making this a race to see at the state meet. After having a sub-par performance in the long jump at counties, Cham came back to win Regionals, jumping 21-9.5 feet. He also anchored the winning 4x100m and second place 4x200m relay teams. Although no female qualified for the state meet in the 100m, freshman Brittanie Morris (Kennedy) came in 6th place, running a time of 13.12 seconds.

Jamal Lynn made up for his second place finish in the 100 by winning the 200 in parallel fashion to Cham. Lynn had the fastest qualifying time, 22.77, and finished in the finals with 22.65, just one-tenth off his season best, which was at counties. Quadell Spratley (Paint Branch) came in 3rd place, also qualifying for States, running 22.94, and Terrelle Pettis (Einstein) just missed out, coming in 5th place with 23.79. On the girls' side, Michele Miller (Kennedy) had the fastest qualifying time, 26.24 but she ended up in 2nd place, running 26.16 against Tuscarora's Victoria Kennedy, who ran 25.94. Ashley Mclean also qualified for this race, coming in fourth with 26.99.

A ridiculous amount of people were disqualified in the 3200m race, unbeknownst to me until late in the meet, as a result of running on the inside of the curve of lane 1. Oh, and I almost forgot, one kid got disqualified for wearing plaid boxers. God forbid the kid wanted to put some spice in his undergarments. Luckily, none of the BCC boys got into that trouble and the dynamic duo of Elias Tousley and Chris Bowie transferred that energy from the 4x800 into this race, taking 1-2 with teammate Dylan Straughan coming in 4th place. Tousley, who Alex Prevost referred to as "The God" dominated the race, running a time of 9:48, and while it wasn't a personal best for him, he looked comfortable and these continuous victories should set the tone for how he will do at the state meet. Bowie, who refers to himself as "Track Star," "cruised" (as he would call it) into second place in 9:55 and Straughan ran 10:05 for 4th. Later in the meet, Tousley (4:33.58) and Bowie (4:35.20) also did 1-2 for the 1600m run, running a controlled and smooth race and again illustrating the depth that BCC has in distance, with Prevost coming in 6th with 4:40.06. If you didn't infer this from my earlier statement, BCC also won the 4x800 in 8:08.79, giving them the sixth fastest 4x8 in the county as of right now and surpassing the qualifying time by a little more than 8 seconds. From the beginning, it was clear that BCC would win as they smashed their competition by more than 8 seconds as well. From what I can recall, Prevost ran a strong lead off, about 2:01, to separate from the pack and Bowie maintained the lead with a 2:02 split. Now what really amazed me was watching Tousley scurry around the track, further extending the lead with a 1:57 split, with Straughan taking the team to victory with a 2:06 split. (Now as you can tell these splits are approximate since they don't match up to the final time, so don't go bashing me on the forum for inaccuracy). When I asked Bowie about the mindset of him and Tousley coming into the meet, he responded, "It was our, you know, final year and we wanted to feel good about the end of the season. We knew we could go one-two. And we put Dylan in the two mile and he did well. Team Punishment [4x8] is going to do big things. We're trying to be state champions, leave with some gold medals around our necks." Tousley's sister, Addie, was the only Moco qualifier for the 1600m, coming in 2nd with 5:30.73. Sisi Reid (Einstein) qualified for the 3200m, running a 12:26.85. Kennedy's girls' 4x800 has improved much over the season and they ran a personal best time of 9:54.67 to come in second to North Carroll (9:49.18). While they have been know for its depth in the sprints over the years, Kennedy has progressively extended itself into the middle distance range and should be able to score at the state meet with the right competition.

Einstein was the highest Moco finishers in the 4x200, with the girls coming in 3rd place and boys coming in 2nd. Shaakira Raheem, who anchored the relay, sprinted past Alicia Hall, Kennedy's anchor, towards the end of the race, giving the team a time of 1:47.44. Kennedy came in fourth with 1:47.80. Einstein's team consisted of Cookie Solomon, Sharon Foretia, Sasha Waters and Raheem. As for the males, the race seemed to be on Einstein's side until a poor handoff in the final exchange led to a victory for Tuscarora, 1:30.73 to 1:32.01, leading to a Tuscarora double, as their girls won in 1:44.62. Paint Branch boys finished close behind, coming in 4th with 1:32.58 and Kennedy in 5th with 1:32.90. Einstein's team was Joseph Kelly, Alex Gary, Terrelle Pettis, and Salifu Cham.

Raheem knew that the competition wouldn't be as strong in the 100m hurdle race since Audrey Gariepy-Bougi was in 4A, but nonetheless, she still ran a solid race with a time of 14.95 in the finals, still being the only other girl in the county, besides Gariepy, to break 15 seconds. Dominique Wright (Kennedy) was able to take second place with a time of 16.25. Sam Asiamah (Einstein) missed out on fourth place by just .01, running 16.56 in the 110m hurdles.

Moco girls dominated in the 300m hurdle race, taking the top 4 spots with Raheem in first, Wright in second, Sharon Foretia (Einstein) in third, and Sasha Waters(Einstein) in fourth. There was some discrepancy regarding the accuracy of the times. "I know they messed up my time because several random people told me that they clocked me at 43/44 seconds and then I saw the results, where it says 46 and I was surprised. I just want to get a good lane at States." When asked about her race, Raheem replied, "I felt real comfortable. I've been having some trouble with stuttering in my past races but I made up for them in this race. I just wanted to work on my foot cadence throughout and maintain it until the end of the race. I knew I had to redeem myself from Counties and I'm just happy to have won with a good race so that I can go into States feeling confident about my performance. My goals for the state meet are, as always, to PR [personal record] and hopefully place top 3 in my events."

Paint Branch took its first double of the day in the 400m race. Senior Quadell Spratley told me that the strategy to his 50.44 was to sprint the whole thing, and while technically, that's not possible, I understood what he meant. Spratley came into Regionals, wanting "to win and make up for counties." As for the upcoming state meet, Spratley is looking to "place and get my first [individual] state medal for my entire career." Now this sophomore may seem new, but it's only because she doesn't do Indoor during the winter season. Arielle Statham arrived on the scene last year and posted some decent times, but it wasn't until this year that she really emerged as one of the top long sprinters in the county. While much of the focus has been on freshman phenom Kathryn Wolf, Statham is steadily making big moves, winning the regional title in 57.58. Similar to Spratley, Statham's strategy was to "run fast, come in first, and PR." Like most runners, she was looking for revenge, "I wanted to beat the Kennedy girl since she beat me at counties." While Statham is soft-spoken in person, she definitely knows how to lay it down on not only the track but also in the field events as well, coming in 1st in the long jump with 16-2.25, and 2nd in the triple jump with 33-08.5 feet. On the male side, Alex Gary (Einstein) came in 3rd with 50.72 and John Jones (Paint Branch) came in 4th with 50.78. On the girls' side, Miller came in 2nd with 58.17 and McLean came in 5th with 59.64.

The 800 is one of the "longer" events that I have begun to enjoy watching, mainly because I have the pleasure of personally knowing one of the top 800m runners in the county. However, this race didn't go as planned, Gary, who was boxed in for the first lap with a slow pace, came in 3rd place with 1:59.47, while Elias Tousley leaned to beat him by .01. The winner was Nick Stine (Urbana) with 1:58.70, who pulled away with about 50 meters to go, but there are no worries about who will be the ultimate champ. Hannah Richardson (BCC) and Ashlee Payne (Kennedy) came in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. Richardson ran 2:26.51 and Payne ran 2:28.47.

Einstein made up for the poor handoff in the 4x200 by coming in first in the 4x100 with a time of 44.15. Kelly ran an excellent lead off leg, passing off to Pettis who maintained their position, while Iuri Moraes ran a strong curve to set up Cham to take the victory. Pettis remarked, "Salifu and I had a rough handoff in the 4x2 because of wrong timing so we knew we had to make up for it in the 4x1. We're just really looking forward to States and we're trying to place high this year." Kennedy and Paint Branch took 3rd and 4th, respectively, thus adding to the Moco presence at the upcoming state meet. Einstein girls again had the highest Moco finish, coming in third with a time of 52.12. Kennedy, who was very qualified to win the race coming into the meet, had a disastrous hand off in the final exchange, leading to a collision and a missed opportunity.

Paint Branch's double in the 400 carried over to the 4x400 as they took wins on both sides yet again. The competition was intense for both races, but the girls' race was by far more unpredictable as PB, Kennedy, and Linganore were neck and neck coming down the final straightaway. Coming into the final exchange, freshman Alicia Hall from Kennedy handed off the baton to Miller in first and knowing the strength that she has in the 400m, I thought that Kennedy had the race in the bag. But thinking is bad in track. You can't think anything will happen because anything can happen. Statham took the baton in either 2nd or 3rd place and was less than 10 meters behind Miller. Coming into the final curve, the lead that Miller had shrunk, and PB and Linganore were right on her shoulder. Coming off the turn, nobody knew who was going to win, but everybody sure as hell was yelling for their favorite. People screaming "COME ON MICHELLLLLLLLE" and "YOU GOT THIS ARIELLLLLLLE!" (I think I was screaming but I was just rooting for whoever was in front at the time). For a second it looked like Miller might hold the lead, then Statham took over, and a lean at the finish line decided the race, 4:05.24 to 4:05.48, with Linganore coming in at a very close third (4:05.55). PB's relay opened up with Ashley Mclean to Christa Lingoua to Korine Duval to Statham.

As the hype died down, the boys race began. Unfortunately, Westminster had to run by itself in the first heat (and for some reason they got DQed for running in the inside line, 1st run..whatever that means). Anyways, after their race, the 2nd race commences and from the get-go, it's a battle between Paint Branch and Tuscarora. PB seemed to be in first with the first exhange between John Jones, Jr. and Nick South, but Tuscarora was still close behind. On the third leg, Tuscarora had taken the lead, but by the time the final exchange had come, Reggie Steele handed off the baton to Spratley at the same time as Tuscarora, and Spratley maintained the lead until the finish line, running 3:29.08 to Tuscarora's 3:29.95. Kennedy came in 3rd with 3:32.09, also advancing to the state meet.

Now while I wasn't paying attention to the field events, it's still important to note that there were several qualifiers, besides those aforementioned. They include Ashley Dabney (Wheaton) and Elizabeth Weiner who both jumped 4-8 in the high jump to come in 2nd place; Kate McCully came in 4th for the discus with a throw of 79-09 feet; Brittany Villafana (Seneca Valley) and Eleanor Fitfall (BCC) came in 3rd and 4th respectively in the triple jump, both jumping 33-03.50 feet. Fitfall also qualified for the long jump, coming in 3rd with 15-06.75 feet. As for the males, Gil and Roger Kirk (who I suppose are twins) from BCC placed 3rd and 4th respectively in the triple jump with 39-11.00 and 38-10.75 feet. Gil also came in 3rd for the long jump with 20-02.50.

Although the 4x400 garnered much excitement, it was the conglomeration of the Frederick and Montgomery County athletes as they held a dance battle that made this probably the best regional meet that the State is going to have this year (and yes, there are videos). There were some good moves and some weak moves here and there. And what would a dance off be without the token Caucasian male attempting to do the latest moves? Needless to say, it was a great way to end a very long day. Congratulations to all state qualifiers and to all those athletes who worked hard over the season and may the force be with you at States.


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