Emily Wolf took notes and snapped photos for Mocorunning at the USATF Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina between July 30 and August 1 and the AAU Championship in Des Moines, Iowa between August 3 and August 8. She sent in regular updates throughout the week.
Saturday, August 1
I got into Greensboro Thursday afternoon and I had already missed a whole lot of action! Marcus Brown of Quince Orchard competed in shot put early Thursday morning and threw a 17.64m (57-10.50) to place 6th overall in the event. India Knight of Northwest was the next to compete in the 800m run. She placed 7th in her heat and ended up 20th overall with a time of 2:23.75. Then Jonathan Haughton of Blair stepped onto the track in the 200m dash and ran a 21.60 which was good enough for him to place 16th overall in the event. Meanwhile, Owen Cain of Gaithersburg was taking care of business over in triple jump where his jump of 14.32m (46' 11.75") placed him 6th overall.
Much later in the day, the 4x400m relay qualification heats took to the track and they were worth waiting for. First in the Intermediate age group, the Maryland Titans team comprised of Olivia Ekpone (Northwest), Genamarie McCant, India Knight (Northwest), and Casey Dowling (Wootton), came together and ran a blazing time of 3:49.80, good enough to get them into the finals ranked 2nd. Then in the Young Women age group, the Hummingbirds team which included MoCo's Arielle Statham of Paint Branch, placed 6th in the qualifier to earn a place in the finals on Sunday.
Friday was another early start at the track with the 100m dash, the Long Jump, and the Triple Jump all starting at 8:00 am. Olivia Ekpone of Northwest won her heat of the 100m dash automatically qualifying her for the finals on Sunday. She goes into the finals ranked 3rd based on her prelim time of 11.97. Casey Dowling of Wootton also competed early in the Long Jump and jumped 5.33m (17' 6") which placed her 17th overall. Arielle Statham of Paint Branch also had an early start in the Triple Jump and jumped 11.32m (37'1.75") which was good enough for a 14th place finish. Olivia also competed in the 400m dash and finished second in her heat and moves on to finals in 3rd place with a seed time of 55.77.
Then came what was anticipated to be the most exciting event of the day - the 4x100m relay. The Maryland Titans Intermediate Girls started the show with a 2nd place finish in their heat with a time of 47.78. The team included Carina Peter, Olivia Ekpone (Northwest), Casey Dowling (Wootton), and Genamarie McCant. They go into the finals in 8th place. Then came the Young Women relays. The 747 team put together a relay that was made up of four of the five fastest girls in Maryland - Abidemi Adenikinju (Roosevelt), Katie Wolf (Churchill), Cearha Miller (Oxon Hill), and Aurieyall Scott (Roosevelt). After a rain delay, they were ready to go, however, a botched handoff that caused them to drop the baton on the first exchange doomed their hopes of making it to the finals. Then the Young Men ran and the Hummingbirds team made up of Trent Edgerton, Reginald Steele (Paint Branch), Eyong Oma, and Jonathan Haughton (Blair) made it to finals with a time of 41.75 seeding them in 8th.
On Saturday, there wasn't a whole lot of action at the track. The big event of the day was the 4x100m relay finals. The Maryland Titans Intermediate Girls did well and finished 7th overall with a time of 47.44. The Young Men Hummingbirds finished higher than their seed in the relay with a 4th place finish and a time of 41.07.
Sunday, August 2
Sunday was a day of finals. The first MoCo athlete to take the track was Olivia Ekpone in the 100m dash finals. She ran very well beating out perennial champion Robin Reynolds with a time of 11.87, taking the national title for the age group. Next was the 400m dash finals and again Olivia went up against Robin. This time however, Robin came out victorious and Olivia ended up 3rd with a time of 54.84. The last event of the day was the 4x400m relay. The Maryland Titans Intermediate Girls are bringing home silver after running a time of 3:50.82. Then the Young Women's age group took to the track and the Hummingbirds relay, including Arielle Statham, took 4th with a time of 3:53.88.
Monday, August 3
|Monday in Des Moines included the 800m and 100m prelims. What was great was there are three upcoming freshmen from MoCo that ran in these two races. First was Danielle Viera. She finished the 800m with a time of 2:37.26 placing 32nd overall. She will be attending Gaithersburg next year and is really looking forward to high school. She plans on playing soccer in the fall and then moving to indoor track and outdoor track for the winter and spring.|
|Next on the track was Manny Deputy. He finished his 800m run with a time of 2:17.98 making him 26th out of the 54 competitors. He will also be attending Gaithersburg next year and is looking to participate in cross country and most likely indoor track and outdoor track. The third incoming freshman to compete was Gwen Shaw. She will compete for Wootton next year, not just in track but also for the equestrian team. She ran the 100m prelim with a time of 12.93 placing her 33rd. |
Besides the rising MoCo high school athletes, there were some familiar faces on the track. Camry Torian of Northwest ran in the 100m prelims and automatically qualified as she was second in her heat but also had a great time of 12.21. Olivia Ekpone of Northwest was next in the 100m prelims and also automatically qualified because she won her heat with a blazing time of 12.00 after just getting out of the car from a 17 hour drive from Greensboro to Des Moines. Katie Wolf of Churchill was the final MoCo athlete on the track for the day and automatically qualified as well as she won her heat. She ran a time of 12.31, and while she was disappointed with that, her first priority was making it to the next round and looks for a better time in the semifinals with her sights set on finals.
Tuesday, August 4
|On Tuesday, the main event was the 200m dash prelims. More familiar names took to the track to try and qualify for the semi finals. First was one of the new faces to the MoCo scene - Gwen Shaw (Wootton). She finished 29th overall with a time of 26.23. Next on the track was Olivia Ekpone and Camry Torian (both at Northwest) running in the same heat. Olivia took first with an extremely fast time of 23.83 and Camry finished 4th in the heat with a time of 25.09. Olivia qualified automatically by place and goes into the semi finals ranked 1st overall while Camry missed finals by 0.24 seconds. Finally, Katie Wolf (Churchill) stepped on the track and came ready to run. She was first in her heat with a time of 24.19 - a time that is only .01 seconds off of her PR - and will move on to the semi finals ranked 4th overall.|
The future of MoCo is also at this meet and is being well represented by the elementary and middle school competitors.
Cliff Tilley (a rising 6th grader who attended Cold Spring Elementary) ran on Sunday in the Pentathlon and while he finished 20th overall, his performance in the 1500m run component was really spectacular. He finished 3rd with a great time of 5:23.71 and will compete in the Shot Put later this week.
Irene Fletemeyer (a rising 8th grader at Kingsview Middle School) competed in the 3000m Racewalk on Sunday and earned All-American honors by placing 5th overall with a time of 20:12.57. She also qualified for the meet in the Discus, Shot Put, and the Javelin.
|Kennedy Knight (a rising 7th grader at Kingsview Middle School) competed in the 100m dash and 200m dash so far and has qualified for the semi finals in both with times of 13.10 and 25.92 respectively. Kennedy is a younger sister of Northwest's India Knight. But wait -- there's still one more Knight on the horizon. Sydney Knight (a 2nd grader at Spark Matsunaga Elementary School) competed in the 400m dash Tuesday and placed 3rd in her heat with a time of 1:22.67 placing her 55th out of 67 competitors.|
Eric Viera (a rising 5th grader at Goshen Elementary) also competed in the 400m dash Tuesday and is the brother of rising Gaithersburg freshman Danielle Viera. He ran a PR of 1:08.16 making him very happy and placing him 29th out of 65 competitors. He says that when he is high school, he looks forward to running for the Gaithersburg Trojans.
|Twins Malana and Gabriella Johnson (rising 5th graders) and big sister Vanessa Johnson all competed at this year's nationals. Vanessa competed in the Long Jump and was very excited with her jump of 13' 1" - a new PR for her - placing her 32nd overall. Gabriella ran in the 200m dash and ran a great 29.60 missing the semi finals by only .12 seconds. Malana ran in the 400m and finished 17th overall with a great time of 1:09.20. Gabriella and Malana will both be running in the 4x400m and 4x100m relays later this week. |
Cierra Pyles and Brionne Pyles (grades 4 and 5) both competed in the 200m dash Tuesday afternoon and finished in 42nd and 45th respectively with times of 31.52 and 30.64. Their older sister, Alexus (a rising 7th grader at Rocky Hill Middle School) will be competing Wednesday in the 800m run and the 80m hurdles and will High Jump on Thursday. Brionne will be running in both the 4x400m and 4x100m relays and Cierra will be running in the 4x100m relay.
Christian Campbell (a rising 6th grader who attended Farmland Elementary) ran in both the 100m dash and the 400m dash on Monday and Tuesday. He ran a 14.05 in the 100m dash and a 1:06.71 in the 400m dash placing him 46th and 36th overall respectively.
|Brittany Sanford (a rising 5th grader at Ronald McNair Elementary) ran the 1500m early Tuesday morning and clocking a fantastic PR. She finished 3rd in her heat with a 5:46.08 placing her 15th overall. She was absolutely delighted with this news as she beat her previous PR by 10 seconds. Her father said that the only thing that made the race complete was her going back to her stuff and having her coach there to congratulate her. She will compete in the 800m run Wednesday morning.|
|Baleigh Jean-Philippe (a rising 5th grader at Waters Landing Elementary) competed in the Long Jump and the 400m run Tuesday. She fouled out in the Long Jump causing her to focus on the 400m as she was disappointed with the Long Jump. She ran a great 1:13.84 placing her 44th overall. She will be competing in the 4x400m relay later this week.|
Wednesday, August 5
Wednesday at the track the races were broken up throughout the day making it an all day venture. The first event of the day was the steeplechase and although there were no MoCo athletes in this race, one race in particular touched me and proved to me once again how amazing the track community is. There was a deaf competitor in the Young Women's age group who was going to get the gold medal and the announcer wanted the crowd to cheer her down the homestretch. The whole crowd didn't cheer out loud as she is deaf but everyone put up both hands and waved (the sign language sign for applause) as she came down the home stretch. It was one of the most amazing and touching sights I have ever seen. But back to the MoCo athletes.
Casey Dowling of Wootton started out the day for MoCo competing in the Long Jump. She jumped a great 17" 1' on her final jump placing her 18th overall.
|Next was the most anticipated event of the day - the 100m semi finals. If competitors finished first or second in their heat they automatically made finals, as well as the next two best times out of any heat. First, in the intermediate girls, Olivia Ekpone of Northwest finished second in her heat with a time of 11.90 automatically qualifying her for the finals on Saturday. Her coaches said she was somewhat disappointed that she finished second in her heat but is looking forward to facing her competitors in finals.|
|Camry Torian of Northwest ran a time of 12.46 that was not good enough to get her to finals but placed her 21st overall in the age group.
Last on the track was Katie Wolf of Churchill who had the defending national champion (Alyssa McClure of Digital Harbor) in her heat. Katie took this in stride however and after a self-proclaimed "great start" moved down the track and 60 meters in blew by the McClure and the rest of the field, winning her heat and automatically qualifying for the finals. With her semi final time of 11.99, she is going to finals with the third best time overall. |
Thursday, August 6
Thursday was a very exciting day at the track with the 200m dash semi finals along with 4x400m relays and short hurdle finals.
Manny Deputy, an upcoming freshman at Gaithersburg, ran early in the 1500m run and with a 4:48.96 finished 34th overall in the race.
The 200m dash was the next and Olivia and Katie were the MoCo representatives on the track. Olivia won her heat with an impressive 23.94 even with a 2.0 head wind. Because she won her heat she automatically qualified for finals and goes into Saturday with the best time overall.
Katie was up next and didn't disappoint. She won her heat with a 24.40 with a 1.5 head wind and will also be going to finals. She goes on to Saturday finals with the 2nd best time overall.
Both Olivia and Katie have decided that although they both qualified to run the 400m dash semis tomorrow, they will opt out of the race. Due to meet scheduling, if they were to make the 400m finals, they would have to run all three of their individual races essentially back-to-back-to-back.
The Intermediate Girls 4x400m relay was the last of the MoCo athletes of the day and again, didn't disappoint those who stuck around to watch them run. Kiana Stephens of Watkins Mill High School started things off and ran a great time passing the baton to Northwest's India Knight in about 5th place. India took the baton and moved the team up into a group of three teams fighting for second, trying to close the gap on the early leader. Casey Dowling of Wootton was next and broke away from the group and gained ground on the early leader however, there was still a significant gap. When the baton was passed to Northwest's Olivia Ekpone, the gap between her and the leader was at about 75 meters. While Olivia did close that gap significantly, they ended up second in the heat however, with a time that sends the relay on to finals on Saturday.
More future MoCo runners were on the track both Wednesday and Thursday in a wide variety of events.
|Brittany Sanford competed again early Wednesday in the 800m run and placed 28th with a time of 2:51.28. Timmy Ekpone - brother to Northwest's Olivia Ekpone - also ran in the 800m run and with a time of 2:29.95 finished 25th overall. Then Alexus Pyles competed in the 800m run, the 80m hurdles, and the High Jump. She ran a time of 2:39.91 in the 800m run placing her 34th overall. She jumped 4' in the High Jump placing 22nd in that event and placed 15th in the 80m hurdles with a time of 14.16. Her youngest sister, Cierra (Little Bennett Elementary School), competed in the Long Jump on Thursday and jumped a great 10' 10.5" despite confusion with the officials and their measuring tape. The middle sister of the three Pyles competitors, Brionne (also of Little Bennett), ran as part of the Bantam Girls 4x400m relay which, along with Gabriella Johnson, Malana Johnson, and Baleigh Jean-Philippe, qualified for the finals on Saturday with a time of 4:45.50. Irene Fletemeyer, a rising 8th grader, threw discus this afternoon and placed 33rd overall with a throw of 57' 1".|
Friday, August 7
Friday's events started a little later than anticipated due to heavy rain, thunder, and lightning in the early morning. However, all the events got going around 10am instead of the scheduled 8am. The 400m dash was the last event on the track for the day and was the only event in which MoCo high school athletes participated.
Upcoming Wootton freshman Gwen Shaw ran first and finished 26th overall with a new PR of 1:01.10. She was very excited about her PR and said that it was a great way to end the week.
India Knight of Northwest was the other competitor today in the 400. She finished 35th overall with a time of 1:00.55. She was looking for a faster time, but is anticipating a better split in the finals of the 4x400 on Saturday.
While both Olivia Ekpone and Katie Wolf were scheduled to run the 400, both scratched due to the scheduling of their other finals on Saturday.
Future MoCo athletes that competed today included brothers Alexander and Areymis Brown. Both competed in the Long Jump and with the rain delay, found themselves in back to back age groups. Alex, a rising 6th grader at Kingsview Middle School, competed first and placed 47th overall with a jump of 12'. Areymis, a rising 5th grader at Ronald McNair Elementary School, was next and with a jump of 12' 7.75" set a new PR by a well over a foot. While Areymis was in the top eight of his flight he ended up 34th overall but was thrilled with his new PR.
Finally, the Bantam Girls 4x100m relay made up of twins Gabriella and Malana Johnson and sisters Brionne and Cierra Pyles ran a fantastic time of 57.86, however missed finals by only one place and .08 seconds. But while they just missed the 4x100 finals, three of the four girls (all but Cierra Pyles) will be competing in the finals of the 4x400m relay tomorrow.
Saturday, August 8
Saturday was finals day and it was definitely the most exciting day on the track - and extremely hot and humid with the temperature feeling like 105 degrees. First was the 100m final. Both Olivia Ekpone of Northwest and Katie Wolf of Churchill qualified and were running both the 100m and 200m finals. Olivia was first in the Intermediate age group 100 meter finals and ran a great time of 11.85 despite a head wind of 2.2, taking the gold medal. Katie was next to go in the Young Women's age group and ran a time of 12.28 with a head wind of 2.4 ending up in 5th place.
The next event was the 200m final and again Olivia was first on the track. She ran a blazing time of 24.21 that only sounds amazing when considering the 4.2 m/s head wind. She again took the national title in the event. Katie was next and ran a fantastic race with a time of 24.63 (with a head wind of 3.1) taking the silver medal. Katie was thrilled as this was her best national performance. Both girls were excited to add two more All-American titles to their resumes.
Finally on the track was the 4x400m relay that was run by Kiana Stephens (Watkins Mill), Casey Dowling (Wootton), India Knight (Northwest), and Olivia Ekpone (Northwest). While they finished 8th overall with a time of 3:59.07 they were satisfied and happy to have made it to the finals at nationals.
|There were other Titans competing in the finals Saturday including Kennedy Knight, Baleigh Jean-Philippe, Malana Johnson, Gabriella Johnson, and Brionne Pyles. Among the younger girls, Kennedy was the only individual competitor today and ran in the 100 and 200m finals. She placed 3rd in both with a time of 12.67 and 25.99 respectively. The other girls were part of the bantam 4x400m relay in the finals and they finished 5th overall with a time of 4:37.94 (although the results indicate they were third).|
One other Titan competed today in the midget age group Shot Put competition - Cliff Tilley. He threw an impressive 26' 2" (a new PR) and finished 38th overall. It was a great venture out to Des Moines and now it's time to leave it behind and head back to Maryland!