You couldn't look at the track without seeing a Montgomery County athlete or relay team fighting for a state championship title on day 2, not to mention all of the action going on in the field events.
Sean Stanley of Gaithersburg racked up his fifth individual state title in the shot put when he launched a bomb of 60 feet and 4 inches. It was a personal best which earned a round of a applause from the audience and the other competitors.
Marcus Brown of Quince Orchard simply nodded his head in acknowledgement. To him, Stanley's 60+ throw was simple a mark to go after, but he would not be able to match such an extraordinary throw. The state record set by Tom Brosius over 40 years ago will stand for at least a few more years while Sean Stanley and Marcus Brown go down as two of the best throwers in Maryland history.
Brown, who finished 2nd in the shot put, claims that it will be worth it to make the trek behind the stadium to watch the discus tomorrow.
Arielle Statham of Paint Branch jumped her personal best in the triple jump. Her mark of 40-04 was the best by a Montgomery County athlete in at least ten years.
4x800 recaps are by Roni Teich.
The 4x800m relays at the Maryland State Championship on Friday afternoons are always very intriguing, and this year was no exception.
The 3A Girls' race was somewhat surprising to me, as the B-CC girls did not appear to run an all-out "A" team and thus finished out of the top half. However, the Damascus girls stepped up big-time, placing second in an excellent season-best time for them, 9:40.46. I also witnessed some of the most sportsmanlike conduct I have ever seen in a track meet: the leadoff legs for Paint Branch and Einstein collided after the first 100m and both dropped their batons. When the girl from PB recovered her baton, she ran over to where Einstein's baton was-some 10m away from where the Einstein runner was down on the track-and picked it up and ran in the other direction on the track to give the Einstein girl her baton. It was pretty heartwarming.
Moco was expected to perform better in the 4A Girls' race, and they did not disappoint. The race was fairly close between several teams for the opening three legs, but by the anchor leg, it was clear only Northwest or Wootton would run away with the title. NW's Alyssa Henshaw got the baton in the lead, but Grace Corbett of Wootton caught and passed her in the last 200m, earning her team their first state title of the evening in 9:23.15. NW finished in a stellar 9:25.81, leaving Eleanor Roosevelt of PG County to take the final medal spot. Churchill and Walter Johnson also ran great races and season-best times, finishing in 9:39.35 and 9:40.83, respectively, good for 6th and 7th places.
The excitement continued in the 3A Boys' championship, with the men of Damascus leading the way. They have been running very well all season, but I confess I was pleasantly surprised when Tom Arias opened up the race with a 1:57 leadoff split. Devante Thomas and Constantinides #1 (Jon) kept the baton rolling through the middle legs, and Constantinides #2 (Ben) brought it home for the win in an incredible 7:55.50. The win gave Damascus back-to-back state titles in the 4x800m relay-and yes, they did it without Wil Z this time. Also, though they did not beat their excellent seed times from their regional meet, Einstein and John F. Kennedy both ran solid races; 8:17.18 and 8:21.21 earned them 6th and 9th place in very competitive race.
If the first of the boys' races was not intense enough, the 4A Boys' race certainly created the kind of insane-cheering-for-your-team that only a great race at the state meet can bring. Walter Johnson and Churchill entered with the fastest seed times, and with Churchill's Darren Harris splitting 54 seconds for the first 400m with a good gap on the field, it appeared that the race would be very fast. Although Harris faded by the handoff, Richard Montgomery's standout Sam Martin ran a gusty last lap to finish the first leg in 1:58 with a nice lead. The next leg saw RM retain a sizeable gap, while other teams pulled themselves into the race-WJ's Nicholas Regan and Churchill's Sei Masuoka got their teams within contact of C.H. Flowers and Broadneck by the end of their legs. A familiar matchup ensued on the 3rd leg, with WJ's Sean O'Leary taking on Churchill's Will Draffin in a successful attempt to catch RM. Both veterans ran about 1:58, and at the handoff it was a clearly defined 5-team race, with RM again at the helm. In what appeared to be a rematch of the Montgomery County Championship race, WJ's Martin Dally and Churchill's Sean King began an epic battle, going out quickly to catch the leaders (and by quick I mean about a 53 second opening quarter from King). The race stayed nearly single-file until 300m to go, where Broadneck's and C.H. Flowers's anchors, Guy Skord and George Empty, started tearing it up and the pack broke. Empty went on to win in a very nice 7:54.60, with Broadneck about a second back. Dally made his move at 150m to go, flying by King and finishing in a big personal best of 1:56, achieving an overall time of 7:57.18. Churchill also broke the infamous 8-minute barrier in 7:58.89, and RM was the last of the trio in an admirable 8:01.54; also, Whitman finished in a respectable 9th place.
Needless to say, I was enthralled by the 3200m relays today. Moco came home with two state titles and innumerable personal best times and season-best relay times. Nice job today! Good luck tomorrow!
There were some outstanding sprint/hurdle trial times on day 2, but we will wait to discuss those events tomorrow.
Addie Tousley led a pack of three including Paige Donnelly and Elyse Borisko around the track for six laps. The heat must have gotten to the latter two as Tousley took off for a dominant win in 11:23.59. Donnelly appeared to be good in for 2nd place but there was a scary moment as she came down the final stretch. Her legs locked up and she fell to the track with a few meters to go. She was able to gather all of her strength and courage and finish the race almost a minute later. The scare was a reminder to all athletes and fans how brutal the warm weather was on day two.
Jessie Rubin won the 4A 3200 in 11:03.80. Only Stephanie Bryan of Thomas Johnson tried to stick with her in the second half of the race and she paid for it later. Alex Giedd of Churchill finished 2nd in 11:19 and Bryan was third in 11:30.
Graham Bazell of Atholton won the boys 3A 3200 in an impressive 3A record of 9:13.27. Thomas Arias was the top Montgomery County finisher with a fourth place run of 9:50.96.
Bazell's time would hold up as the fastest of the day as Solomon Haile of Sherwood struggled with the heat and finished in 9:13.77 in the 4A race. Andrew Palmer of Whitman was the only challenger in the second half of the race, but a mid-race surge by Haile gave him a comfortable lead. Haile was unable to increase his lead over the final two laps, but Palmer could not close the gap either. Palmer finished in a personal best 9:22.75. The next closest runner was Sherwood's Kyle Balderson who secured third place with a big kick of TJ Cowling of Severna Park in a time of 9:50.77.
The final events of the day were ther 4x200 relays. The boys 4A 4x200 was probably the most unexpected race of the day. The Blair runners kept it competitive through the first three legs of the race, but Bowie was so far ahead by the final leg that it appeared they had the win locked in. Jonathan Haughton got the baton and cruised the first 100 and bursted into the lead over the final 100 to win by a comfortable margin of about 5 meters and 0.5 seconds.