Poolesville coach Mike Trumbull knew he was coming into a good situation.
The talent pool at the school is not large, but it is rich. The only all-magnet school in Montgomery County attracts some of the brightest young minds in the area, and, coincidentally, some of the top athletes as well.
The Poolesville girls’ track team has a tradition of success. Despite its small size, it is consistently a top 10 team every year at Montgomery County championship meets. Poolesville was the last Montgomery County team to win a state title, dominating the indoor 1A/2A state meet by 47 points in 2004, and it has won every indoor regional meet since that year.
And now, in Trumbull’s first year as coach after moving from western Pennsylvania, the Falcons are state champions again.
That didn’t seem likely at the start of the indoor season. Trumbull, who coached the girls’ track team at Punxsutawney High School in western Pennsylvania the past two years, was a stranger taking over a program that was used to winning, and the pressure from that was enough to make him nervous. On top of that, the team graduated its only two individual state champions and remaining members from the 2004 team in Emily Furr and Meghan Rose.
Any nervousness he felt went unnoticed by the athletes on the team. The athletes embraced the former cross country and track athlete at Lock Haven, describing him as knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
New 1,600-meter state champ Jenny Reid says he “kept their interests in mind at all times” and he “helped us with anything and everything we needed.”
Likewise, Trumbull credits his girls as being very coachable.
Says Trumble: “They deserve all of the credit because they bought into my coaching style and personality which was key to being this successful.”
It did not take long for the team to start shaping up nicely. The addition of sprinter Karissa Harris, who ran outdoors but not indoors last year, gave the team a big boost. Hurdler and jumper Olivia Durr came into the season in fantastic shape. She topped all county hurdlers in almost every race of the season.
At the Montgomery County Championship, Durr was the only athlete with a top-three finish, but the team scored in nearly every event. The small points here and there added up to 35, which was good for fifth place. It was not a surprising finish from a team that is always in the picture, but nobody realized just how good it would look in a meet with only 1A teams. Nobody except for maybe Trumbull.
Trumbull loaded up every event at the 1A West Region meet. If things went as planned, the Falcons would turn the region upside down and bring an army of runners, jumpers, and throwers to the state meet. That is exactly what they did, winning with 127 points and notching 16 qualifying performances.
Digital Harbor was favored to repeat as girls’ 1A state champions, but Poolesville qualified more athletes in more events. Williamsport would also be in the hunt, but Poolesville already defeated it at regionals. All the Falcons needed to do was execute.
The 4x800 relay set the tone for the day, winning the race in a season best time of 10:09. Jenny Reid came back shortly thereafter and won the 1,600 run for her first state title.
Olivia Durr and Holly Defnet both picked up bronzes in the high jump and shot put, respectively. Reid and Chelsea Glowacki each picked up a point in the 3,200 and 800, respectively.
The team grabbed another chunk of points at the end when they upset Digital Harbor’s 4x400 relay team. Had the Falcons given up one more place in the 4x4, they would have tied Williamsport with 51 points. Instead they won the team title with 53 points.