Liza Schalch blended in as just another good Whitman runner in the 4x8 and 1600. Meanwhile, Northwest's Britt Eckerstrom ran away from Leslie Morrison in both races to score ten points for her team. But it was Schalch, not Morrison or Gay, who would later give Eckerstrom the biggest scare of the day.
Running among a pack of boys, Eckerstrom and Schalch pushed each other to a sub-11:30 performance in the 3200-meter run. Schalch even challenged the Northwest star by taking the lead in the final two laps, but Eckerstrom created a three second lead over the final 200 meters. For Eckerstrom, the victory in 11:26 was not a surprise. But for Schalch, her 11:29 finish was two minutes faster than she was running at this time last year. It was a breakout race that establishes her among the best in the state in the 3200 this year.
Regardless of who ran with her, Eckerstrom was a step ahead of her opponents all day in Tuesday's tri meet between Whitman, Northwest and Watkins Mill. After Morgane Gay split 2:16 on the 4x8, Eckerstrom only had a slim lead over Leslie Morrison on the anchor leg. She increased that lead by a few seconds over the remainder of the race. She also beat Morrison in the 1600 meter run, won the 3200, and ran a leg of the winning 4x4.
Chris Onuigbo had a similar day for Northwest. He helped his 4x8 and 4x4 relays dominate the competition. Despite not having any competition in the open 400, he sprinted all out to a time of 51 seconds, several seconds in front of anyone else. In the open 800, he was pushed by Brandt Silver-Korn, but pulled away down the final stretch to win in 2:06. He had split 2:00 last weekend at the Cougar Relays, but still feels satisfied with his day's work.
Andrew Palmer of Whitman won the distance races with ease. In the 1600, he broke away from the pack early and finished in 4:38. He relaxed in the 3200, running with Northwest's Nick Gummo for a 5:34 first 1600. He closed in 4:49 for the win in 10:23.
The most exciting moment of the day was the boys 300-meter hurdles race. Northwest's Managi Biggers and Whitman's Jonathan Hale came off of the curve neck and neck. They ran down the straightaway stride for stride. Fans picked up on how tight the race was and cheered for their teammate. The finish was too close to call, but luckily the meet management was using an FAT camera. After a few moments, the photo revealed that Hale out-leaned Biggers for the win in 41 seconds.
Watkins Mill did not go completely unnoticed. Watkins Mill lost a lot of talent from last year's team, but last year's County B 100-meter dash champion Deron Von Ballmoos has stepped up to help fill the void. He won the open 100 and anchored his team to terrific come-from-behind wins over Northwest in the 4x1 and 4x2.