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County Championship Recap
By: Kevin Milsted

Eight County Meet Records Tied or Broken in 2009

Sean King, Sei Masuoka, Darren Harris, and Will Draffin broke the county meet record in the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 8:05.93. The Damascus relay ran with them nearly every step of the way for one of the most exciting races of the day, but Draffin pulled away on the final lap for the win. Damascus also went under the previous record with a time of 8:09.01.

Olivia Ekpone of Wootton High School smashed her own county meet record in the 300-meter dash. Her time of 38.96 is the fastest time in the nation on a flat track up to this point in the season. Arielle Statham of Paint Branch and Katie Wolf of Churchill also broke the previous record with times of 40.12 and 40.53 respectively. This photo by Scott Silverstein is actually from the 55-meter dash where the same three girls took the top three spots in the same order. The victories were especially sweet for Ekpone after a relatively poor performance at the Montgomery Invitational two weeks prior where both Statham and Wolf got the best of her.

Solomon Haile of Sherwood and Andrew Palmer of Whitman both broke the previous county record in the 1600-meter run. Haile came out on top with a time of 4:24.97. Palmer came up just short with a time of 4:25.20. Haile went on to break the county meet record in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:32.06. Neither Haile or Palmer had been training well leading up to this meet. Palmer had fallen ill with bronchitis and was not sure he would be able to race a few days before the meet. He got over his illness just in time. Haile had only been training a few days a week since the Footlocker National Championship while he spent most of his time focusing on the college application process. Expect more intense matchups between these two in the near future.

One of the more unexpected county records came in the final event of the day as the Damascus boys ran to victory in the 4x400-meter relay. DeVante Thomas gave his team the lead on the opening leg and Thomas Arias, Cecil Jonas, and Sam Weeks held on for the victory in 3:20.23. Northwest had been the heavy favorite to win this event, but after Chris Onuigbo pulled up with an injury in the 800, they lost a crucial leg. Blair came on strong in the end but was unable to make up the gap created by the first three Damascus legs.

Owen Cain of Gaithersburg had a monster day overall by winning three events and placing 2nd in another. In the high jump, he tied the county meet record of 6-07, a jump better than his previous best by several inches. He won the long jump in a personal best jump of 21-06.50 and won the hurdles with a personal best time of 7.74. His jump of 44-03 was good enough for second place in the triple jump.

Paint Branch's Marcus Willacy was the only athlete in the county to stop Cain from sweeping four events and he did so in record-breaking fashion. His jump of 45-04 topped the previous record by 11 inches. Willacy is pictured above second from the right. He also helped his 4x200-meter relay win the county title in 1:33.62. Despite Paint Branch having the fastest 4x2 time of the season going into the county championship, most people still considered Clarksburg to be the favorite to win. Clarksburg's Avery Graham closed hard and almost won the race for his team, but couldn't make up the large gap created by the first three Paint Branch legs.

Gaithersburg's Sean Stanley topped his own county meet shot put record by four feet and nine and a quarter inches. His throw of 59-10.00 was two and a half inches off his previous best this season. Marcus Brown of Quince Orchard also threw past the previous county meet record with his throw of 56-10.

Paint Branch, Damascus, and Northwest swapped leads for the first three legs of the girls 4x4 while Churchill mostly hung back in fourth place. Fikri put Churchill right behind the leaders heading into the final leg. Paint Branch was considered the favorite to win, but without their strongest 400-meter runner running, Churchill's Katie Wolf was able to sit behind Damascus and Paint Branch for 300 meters. Wolf moved into the lead with 100 meters to go and ran to the victory. Churchill didn't need to win the 4x4 to win the meet as a team, but they did anyways. It brought their point total to 105.

The girls 800-meter race was completely dominated by Churchill's Maryam Fikri who led the race from start to finish. Fikri won by over 3 seconds with her time of 2:23.00. She was also 2nd in the 1600 and contributed to the winning 4x4.

Gaithersburg's Antonio Palmer took the 800-meter race out hard from the start. Almost from the start he had a 10 meter lead over the rest of the field. He stretched that lead to 20 meters before Churchill's Sean King began to reel him in on the third lap. Palmer won in 1:58.77. Bartholomew was second in 1:59.75 and King was third in 1:59.83. Palmer was satisfied with the win, but later said that he wanted the meet record of 1:58.49.

Paint Branch girls won the 4x2 in 1:47.01.
To no one's surprise, Paint Branch's Vanessa Jules also won the high jump (5-04), and Arielle Statham won the triple jump (37-10).

Addie Tousley of B-CC won the girls 3200 in 11:44.31 and the 1600 in 5:19.47. She was also a contributor to the winning 4x800-meter relay.

Addie Tousley, Kate Leuba, Hannah Richardson, Paige Donnelly were the surprise winners of the girls 4x800 relay. Paige Donnelly and Kate Leuba had both been missing from action in the early part of the season, but came up big to help win the 4x8 in 9:45.73.

Bisi Ezekoye of Kennedy was a surprise winner in the boys 55m dash. Ezekoye's time of 6.53 was a bit faster his time from the montgomery Invitational from two weeks earlier while the heavy favorite Avery Graham of Clarksburg ran quite a bit slower than he previously had this season. Graham finished 2nd in the 55-meter dash in a time of 6.57 and won the 300-meter dash in 35.94.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet came from the girls 500-meter dash where Sherwood's Theresa Russell won the whole event out of the first and "slowest" heat with a time of 1:20.76. Russell later said that she was even surprised herself and had no idea that she could actually win. While Coach Reeks was also surprised, he noted that the sophomore will be one to look out for in the future.

Olivia Durr of Poolesville won her elusive 55-meter hurdle county title with a time of 8.38. Thea LaFond of Kennedy was 2nd in 8.56, and Amirah Polite of Churchill was third in 8.97.

The boys 500-meter dash was an exciting race with QO's Bartholomew and Gaithersburg's Palmer running together. With 200-meters to go, Bartholomew took off. Palmer hung back, later saying that he thought he could let Bartholomew go and still catch him, but Bartholomew ran away with it. He got the win in 1:06.11 while Palmer took second in 1:06.59.

Thea LaFond of Kennedy won the girls Long Jump in 16-00.25.
Taylor Caulk, the freshman from Churchill was close behind in 2nd place with a jump of 15-07.50.

Octavia King of Blake remained unbeaten by county competition by winnin the shot put with a personal best throw of 34-07.

The Churchill girls won the meet with 105 points. The Gaithersburg boys won with 84.5 points.


2009-03-15 19:09:17

PB's 4x400 had a good run, even without Statham. It was Jules, Diao, Holmes, Duval.

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