Junior year is a time to give it all you’ve got to impress potential college coaches. This was a recurring theme from local competitors who took advantage of a nice day and great competition at the Viking Invitational. From Ramsey Chapin who broke out a 4:16.55 1600, to Lola Adetu who won the 100, 200, and 400 in her first major meet of the season, to Emily Vannoy, an All-American thrower who won both throwing events, to Olivia Durr who set personal records in both hurdle events, these juniors are kicking it into high gear at a critical time in their young track careers.
Lola Adetu of Sidwell Friends School had a long but terrific day on the track. A multiple-time ISL sprint champion and an avid summer track runner, Adetu has a strong resume, but is not as well known as many area runners because of the small private school that she attends. And although her team has competed at a few meets this year, the open events at the Viking Invitational provided her an opportunity to shine for the first time.
The 100, 200 and 400 were spread out from early in the morning through the early afternoon, but Adetu used the spare time to relax and recover as opposed to letting the sun wear her out. Every time she stepped to the line, she was a step ahead of her competitors. She won the 100 in 12.39 after running 12.30 in the preliminaries. She won the 200 in 24.88, and she won the 400 in 55.93. She says that running sub-56 in the 400 is the accomplishment that she is most proud of.
Emily Vannoy of Thomas Johnson returned to the Viking Invitational this year to push the venue records further out of reach from any future challengers. Her winning mark in the shot put of 45-08.75, while unfathomable to most girls in the area, was just ok for the All-American and state record holder. She was more satisfied with getting back on track in the discus after a few sub-par performances this season. Her winning throw of 128-07.50 was a season best by over three feet.
Olivia Durr of Poolesville High is yet another junior who is out to prove that this is her year to shine. Durr won both hurdle races in personal best times of 15.27 in the 100 hurdles, and 45.07 in the 300 hurdles. This meet was her last stop on the way to the 400-meter hurdle race at the prestigious Penn Relays. Competing in the hurdles at the Penn Relays has long been a goal of hers, and she showed at the Viking Invitational that she is ready to do very well. She ran 1:05.82 in the 400 hurdles earlier this season.
Ramsey Chapin has had his fair share of limitations in the past, but he is the first to say, “It’s junior year so you’ve got to take advantage…”
He showed great promise during his sophomore year, especially at the 1500-meter distance, but missed his entire junior cross country season. He got back into shape this indoor season and was able to put up a good performance at Nike Indoor Nationals. The relay meets and dual meets that he has run in so far may have masked just how good of shape he was in, but when he got moving in the 1600 at the Viking Invitational, nobody had an answer.
He broke the race open on the third lap with 600 meters to go. Andrew Palmer and Johns Ross chased after him, but Chapin was too strong. He closed his final lap in about 61 seconds to win in 4:16.55. Ross was second in 4:22.25 and Palmer was third in 4:24.18.
The only person in the field who had run faster than 4:16 before was Chris Moen, who was never in the race. Moen’s sluggishness, however, was explainable by his effort in the 4x800 relay race. Moen split 1:54 to bring his team into second place with an overall time of 8:10.89. With short recovery time and the sun warming up the track, Moen’s inability to turn around and put on a good performance in the 1600 was understandable.
Similarly, Morgane Gay of Whitman had perhaps the worst 1600 race of her track career. She was in last place from the start until she finished in 6:05. Some fans speculated that she was rebelling, but like Moen, she was fatigued from a strong leg of the 4x8. She was nauseous and dehydrated from her exertion in the 4x8.
Leslie Morrison was also tired from the 4x8 and had been sick for the past few days, but still turned it around for a strong 3rd place performance in the 1600 in 5:18.30. Anneka Wilson from Potomac School won the 1600 in 5:13.50. Chiny Asher of Holy Cross was second in 5:16.16.
Both Morrison and Gay returned to run the open 800. After plenty of recovery time, they looked like totally different runners. Morrison led for 500 meters before Gay pushed to the front. Morrison fought back coming down the final stretch. The two were well out in front of the rest of the field, just like old times. Morrison leaned at the line to win in 2:19.54 over Gay in 2:19.60.
The Linganore boys had an undeniable presence at the Viking Invitational, first winning the 4x8 in 8:03.32, and then going 1-2-3 in the open 800. Josh Hewitson won in 2:01.48, while Tim and Roy Jones took second and third in 2:02.21, and 2:02.45.
The boys 3200 promised to be a loaded race, but as the sun rose high into the sky, the competitors turned it into a tactical race of surviving the heat for ten minutes. In the end, only three athletes broke ten minutes, with Kyle Balderson of Sherwood coming out on top. Weary of the strong field, Balderson held back in the pack until the final lap when he kicked past Kyle Short of B-CC to win in a personal best 9:53.40.
Good Counsel brought the speed to this meet by breaking the meet records and winning the boys 4x1 in 42.92, 4x2 in 1:29.29, and 4x4 3:24.91. Chris Brown, who won the open 400 in a meet record 49.75, was crucial to all of those relays.
On the 4x4 in particular, Bowie High School had a three stride lead on Good Counsel on the final leg, but Brown made up this gap 150 meters in and took the lead. He used his powerful stride to stay out in front, again splitting 49 seconds and breaking his fourth record of the meet.
Georgetown Prep won the meet on the boys’ side and Thomas Johnson won the meet on the girls’ side. Both teams did it with a balanced approach, spreading good athletes throughout the sprints, distance and field events. Thomas Johnson had a top six finisher in all but three events while winning the discus, shot put, and 3200. Georgetown Prep did it mostly with sprints and field with a nice 1600 win from Chapin as well.