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Kevin's Picks
By: Kevin Milsted

Kevin's Picks

Event Name, School Confidence Name, School Confidence
55m Patrick Pinchinat, RM Med-Hi Audrey Gariepy, Churchill Med
55HH Demetrius Lindo Lo Audrey Gariepy, Churchill Hi
300m Patrick Pinchinat, RM Med-Hi Katie Wolf, Churchill Lo
500m Brian Sickles, RM Med Leslie Morrison, Whitman Med-Hi
800m Chris Moen, WJ Med-Hi Leslie Morrison, Whitman Hi
1600m Chris Moen, WJ Hi Halsey Sinclair, Blair Med-Lo
3200m Chris Barnard, Sherwood Med-Hi Halsey Sinclair, Blair Med-Hi
4x200 Richard Montgomery Med-Hi Richard Montgomery Med
4x400 Richard Montgomery Med-Hi Churchill Med
4x800 Quince Orchard Med Whitman Hi
HJ Jamal Currica, Damascus Hi Audrey Gariepy, Churchill Hi
LJ Patrick Pinchinat, RM Med Tara Okusaga, NW Med-Hi
TJ Ian Francis, WJ Med-Hi Audrey Gariepy, Churchill Hi
SP Sean Stanley, Gaithersburg Med-Hi Erica Neville, Poolesville Med
Top Scorer Patrick Pinchinat, RM Med-Hi Audrey Gariepy, Churchill Hi
Rk Boys School Rk Girls School
1 Richard Montgomery 1 Churchill
2 Magruder 2 Whitman
3 Gaithersburg 3 Poolesville
4 Damascus 4 Richard Montgomery
5 Quince Orchard 5 Blair
6 Walter Johnson 6 Walter Johnson
7 Paint Branch 7 Wootton
8 Sherwood 8 Northwest
9 B-CC 9 Quince Orchard
10 Blair 10 Kennedy

These predictions were made with no confirmation of which athletes were entered into which events.

Team Rankings

1.) Richard Montgomery
This isn't last year's team but they are still the strongest team in the county. With Brendan Etzel, Patrick Pinchinat, Brian Sickles and others, these guys could utterly dominate all of the sprint events. Tyler Jackson and Alex Payton should score in the hurdles and shot put respectively while Etzel, Jackson and Pinchinat will pick up what they can in the jumps.

2.) Magruder
While RM was taking it easy at the 2nd Developmental Meet, I really got a chance to see who was good besides RM. The duo of Jose Lopez and Kalgeri Robinson have the potential to clean house in the the sprints, sprint relays, hurdles and jumps. Dan Miller could score in the middle distance events. They aren't the deepest team, but they are quality.

3.) Gaithersburg
Gaithersburg's strength is in the field events. Between Jeremy Marshall and Sean Stanley, they could grab over 30 points from the field events. They also have range in the running events. Antonio Palmer is a dangerous 800 runner who should score points in the open 8 and the 4x8. Dan Atwood is their strong sprinter who should be able to score in the 55 dash. Gaithersburg doesn't have any flashy stars this year, but their presence will be felt at the championship meet.

4.) Damascus
If Damascus spreads their guys well, they should have no problem finishing as one of the top 5 teams. The bulk of their points will come from Wil Zahorodny and Jamal Currica. Currica is the favorite in the high jump and dangerous in the sprints while Zahorodny is dangerous in all of the running events. Damascus should also score in every relay.

5.) Quince Orchard
Last year, the QO boys only had points in the field events and the 4x8. This year they don't have the talent in the field, but their 4x8 is back and their distance runners are out to prove that they aren't just a deep cross country team; they are elite track athletes as well. Reagan Lynch and David Laratta will try to score in the 800 while Neal Darmody has a shot to win the 3200.

6.) Walter Johnson
WJ has gauranteed points in the events that Chris Moen runs and should get points out of Jared Schneider in the 1600 and Ian Francis in the triple jump. Their 4x8 is also very good, but they are lacking in a number of other events.

7.) Paint Branch
Paint Branch got hit hard by graduation, but they are being held afloat by Quadell Spratley and Nick South. These two should combine for alot of points in the sprints and sprint relays, but they are hurting in the distance and field events.

8.) Sherwood
Sherwood has 3 very outstanding athletes who will do all of the scoring for them. Tommy Mullings and Chris Barnard will pair up to get tons of points in distance events. Jamal-deen Olatunde will score high in the sprints and help his 4x2 and 4x4 to high finishes as well.

9.) B-CC
A duo of Elias Toulsey and Chris Bowie puts B-CC in the top 10. Unfortunately for B-CC, it's difficult for distance runners to run and score in 4 events, and with the depth of Montgomery County distance running, it will be tough for these two to get any victories.

10.) Blair
Blair is my underdog pick for the meet. Their 4x2 and 4x4 should score in the top 3 or 4 and the up-and-coming runners Jonathan Haughton and Louis Varella should be able to scrap up some points in the sprints.

1.) Churchill
Churchill returns nearly their entire squad that dominated the county indoors last year. Not only that, but they have also gained a great deal of new talent. I don't expect this team battle to be close with Audrey Gariepy-Bogui possibly winning 4 events like she did last year, freshman Katie Wolf running the sprints, and Louise Hannallah running the distance events. Key players Maryam Fikri, Michelle Gellman, Ale Martinez, and Erin McManus will fill in all the gaps making Churchill unbeatable.

2.) Whitman
Whitman does a great job with just a handful of girls. Morgane Gay and Leslie Morrison will monopolize the middle distance events and sprints. Other athletes like Debbie Isen and Anne Petersen could tack on point here and there, and Whitman should be good for 2nd.

3.) Poolesville
Poolesville is a very well-balanced team. They have athletes who can score in every event. Most noteable is Meghan Rose who will be in the hunt for each of the sprint titles. They have weapons in the field in Emily Furr and Erica Neville. Olivia Durr and Jenny Reid should also tack on points in their respective events. This well-rounded team should be in the top 3, but must watch out for RM as well.

4.) Richard Montgomery
RM was immensely improved this season with the addition of the Decruise twins Ashly and Ashlyn. Either twin is capable of winning the sprint events and they should help to rack up major points in the 4x2 and 4x4. RM also has a good hurdler in Jessie Weaver and should be able to score in the distance events with Luyang Liu and Sarah Britton.

5.) Blair
Speaking of twins, the Sinclairs are still here and they are stronger than ever. Ashlyn and Halsey should combine for plenty of points to get their team in the top 5, just as they have been doing the last several years. But watch out for Johanna Gretschel who had a break through 1600m run at the Montgomery Invite.

6.) Walter Johnson
Walter Johnson has a pretty good core of sprinters led by Jennyeka Neil and Jenny McCoy and a couple good distance runners in Stephanie Alberico and Jennifer Spencer. WJ should score highly in all 3 relays and scrap points in most of the running events.

7.) Wootton
Wootton is another team using sister power. Katie Falk is the newest addition to the Patriots and she is already making contributions. Older sister Suzanne Falk is still a force in the sprints and long jump. Veronica Salcido is their star in the distance events. She should be able to score highly in her events, but they may also be able to get points out of the freshman Jessie Rubin who broke out a 5:27 1600 at the Montgomery Invite.

8.) Northwest
I don't expect to see very much out of Northwest at this meet. I do expect them to be very tough outdoors, but for now expect to see some solid efforts out of Tara Okusaga in the jumps and hurdles, with Kathy Aherne and the relay teams scrapping all the other points.

9.) Quince Orchard
Cara Harrison and Sonia Gill lead QO. Both athletes look like they could pick up alot of points from the sprints up to the distance events. Vie Duncan should also be able to get points in the 800, but I don't forsee any 1st or 2nd place finishes out of these girls.

10.) Kennedy
Michelle Miller is the star for Kennedy. She will help her team score big in the sprints and sprint relays, but I'm not sure if they have any strength in field or distance.

55m Dash
Kevin's Picks: Patrick Pinchinat and Audrey Gariepy
I can say with a great deal of confidence that Patrick Pinchinat is a cut above the rest of the competition this year. When it comes to raw power, no one else in the county comes close to the defending 100m county champ, but when it comes to uncanny speed, he could see a challenge from his own teammate Brendan Etzel if he chooses to run the 55. Jamal-deen Olatunde from Sherwood is also a powerful runner who should be in the top 3.
The MoCo girls this year are older, stronger, and deeper than last year. Even with a deeper field, this event should be a showdown between Ashly Decruise from Richard Montgomery and Audrey Gariepy-Bogui of Churchill. Both girls have been hand-timed under 7 seconds at small meets this season. Alyssa Jewell from Gaithersburg and the defending 100m county champ Michelle Miller from Kennedy are also threats based on their performances at the Montgomery Invitational. Top MoCo finisher from the Montgomery Invite Katie Wolf as well as the defending 55m county champ Michelle Gellman are opting out of this event

55m Hurdles
Kevin's Picks: Demetrius Lindo and Audrey Gariepy
I'm going out on a limb and picking the freshman from Kennedy Demetrius Lindo. RM's Tyler Jackson had the fastest MoCo time from the Montgomery Invitational, but Lindo beat Jackson head to head in the first developmental. Jackson has been hurdling in high school longer, but Lindo has been hurdling for a while before he got to high school. Also to watch for is Magruder's Jose Lopez who had the fastest time at the 2nd Developmental Meet.
On the girl's side, the All-Met athlete Audrey Gariepy-Bogui from Churchill will win. She stumbled out of the blocks at the Montgomery Invitational and had to settle for 2nd place, but she can probably stumble once or twice and still win this race. With an 8.32 to her resume already, the other talented challengers (Shaakira Raheem, Tara Okusaga, and Olivia Durr) will not be able to catch her.

300m Dash
Kevin's Picks: Patrick Pinchinat and Katie Wolf
Montgomery County has several good sprinters, but at this point Patrick Pinchinat is the man to beat. Both Pinchinat and Olatunde are good for a time of low 36, but Quadell Spratley from Paint Branch will want the gold in this event as well. Also watch out for Magruder's Jose Lopez who really knows how to fly off the start line.
Like the 55 dash, the girls 300 is loaded with talent. This race was the toughest for me to decide on. The defending county champion and 1A state record holder is Meghan Rose from Poolesville, but she hasn't shown that she is ready to go back under 41 yet. In the first developmental meet, Alyssa Jewell looked the best, while Churchill's Katie Wolf of Churchill was impressive in the 2nd. I like the freshman from Churchill to win this because she is so naturally fast and Rose has yet to finish first in any races she has run. Also watch out for either of the Decruise sisters from RM.

500m Dash
Kevin's Picks: Brian Sickles and Leslie Morrison
Sickles is the defending outdoor track 400m county champion and has looked great so far this season. He had no trouble running the fastest 500m time at the 1st developmental meet and also ran the fastest MoCo time in the 400m at the Montgomery Invitational. Also looking very strong so far is Evan Whetsell of Churchill. He will be a worthy opponent for Sickles.
Leslie Morrison has dominated the 500 so far this season and more of the same should be expected at the county championship. She was caught off guard in the first developmental meet by Wolf of Churchill, but had no problem at all dusting her competition in the 2nd developmental.

800m Run
Kevin's Picks: Chris Moen and Leslie Morrison
Chris Moen is the favorite in just about any race he chooses to enter. Even if the 800 comes after the 1600, Moen is in a class of his own and should find a way to win no matter how the race unfolds. The field of challengers is incredibly strong. Several athletes will go for the win and put up fast times in the process. Jordan Sawadogo of Springbrook has the best time so far with a sub-2 minute performance at the Montgomery Invitational. Watch for Sawadogo, Whetsell, Tousley from B-CC, Laratta and Lynch from QO, Dana and Boyd from Wootton, Zahorodny from Damascus and many others to keep a crowded pack until the very end.
The girls 800 field is led by Leslie Morrison of Whitman. Like Moen on the boys side, Morrison will surely find a way to win no matter how the race unfolds. Her two biggest threats may be her own teammate Morgane Gay and Blair's Ashlyn Sinclair. Gay might be tired after the 4x8 and 1600, but was the runner up at the state championship last year and the always-dangerous Sinclair sister has had a fantastic indoor season so far.

1600m Run
Kevin's Picks: Chris Moen and Halsey Sinclair
Last year's county championship marked the first time Chris Moen won a major race. Since that race, he has not lost to another Maryland athlete in a mile or 1600m race. Moen added one more victory to his stellar resume when he won the Montgomery Invitational Mile in 4:17 last week. Moen has ascended the local competition, and if anyone were to beat him, that would be the biggest upset of the year. If not for Moen, the people's champion would be Elias Tousley for B-CC whose long kick is feared by all county distance runners.
The girls 1600 is a very interesting matchup between Morgane Gay of Whitman and Halsey Sinclair of Blair. I give the edge to Sinclair who is the defending champion and has run 5:11 twice this year. Gay fell to Sinclair at the Montgomery Invitational after chasing Northside's Catherine White. With White out of the equation, it will be interesting to see who (if anyone) sets the early pace. Not to be excluded is Churchill's Louise Hannallah who won the mile at the Howard County Trackfest.

3200m Run
Kevin's Picks: Chris Barnard and Halsey Sinclair
Both Chris Barnard and Tommy Mullings from Sherwood have been running very well this season. These guys use good teamwork and alot of guts to run very fast, aggressive races. Barnard is the 3A/4A West Regional 3200 defending champ and usually has Mullings' number, so I am choosing Barnard. The 3A state cross country champ Chris Bowie will be in the mix along with QO's Neal Darmody.
Halsey Sinclair is also the defending champ in the 3200. QO's Cara Harrison and Churchill Hannallah can definitely run with her, but Sinclair comes out on top the most often. Her 11:14 last week is simply remarkable for an indoor race AFTER a mile race.

4x2 Relay
Kevin's Picks: RM Boys and Girls
I pick the RM boys to win the 4x200m relay, but not with as much confidence as one might think. With less depth than they had last year, RM will be spreading their athletes thin across many events and will not be able to fill every relay with their star runners. Other strong sprint relays such as Paint Branch and Magruder have a chance to steal this one.
I was impressed with the RM girls 4x200m relay and they were not even full strangth. They should be full strength on Monday, and with 2 girls who can run about 26.0, they are the team to beat.

4x4 Relay
Kevin's Picks: RM Boys and Churchill Girls
RM's season best time of 3:31 is a far cry from their 3:26 last year, but they are still tops in the county right now. I pick RM boys without hesitation, but I'm watching out for Paint Branch, Magruder, and Blair.
At the end of a long meet, the large Churchill team still has plenty of energy left. 4:13 was good enough for 11th place at the Montgomery Invitational and is good enough to top the moco leaderboard.

4x8 Relay
Kevin's Picks: QO Boys and Whitman Girls
The QO boys are good. David Laratta and Reagan Lynch are two of the best open 800m runners in the county and the rest of their relay squad can hold their own. The one thing that will be in the back of everyone's mind as QO charges out in front on the 2nd or 3rd leg will be if their gap is big enough to hold off Chris Moen from WJ. If the gap is not large enough, then WJ will score the first 10 points of the meet.
Whitman proved at the Montgomery Invitational that they are pretty much invincible. They made up an enormous gap to beat out Churchill by 1 second. If Whitman is down by 20 seconds, Leslie Morrison will probably run about 2:00 to win the race for them.

High Jump
Kevin's Picks: Jamal Currica and Audrey Gariepy
Jamal Currica from Damascus is the easy favorite in this event. He is the only MoCo athlete to clear a height over 6 feet this season and he did that with a leap of 6'-6" at the HoCo/MoCo meet.
Perhaps the surest bet of the meet is that Audrey Gariepy-Bogui will win the high jump. She started off her season by clearing 5'-8" and has had no trouble clearing 5'-6" since then. The excitement in this event will be whether she can tie or maybe even eclipse the county record of 5'-8".

Long Jump
Kevin's Picks: Patrick Pinchinat and Tara Okusaga
The boys long jump is tricky. I'm picking Patrick Pinchinat because he had the best moco jump at the Montgomery Invitational and his speed should lead to consistent jumps. Salifu Cham of Einstein has the longest jump of the season and Jeremy Marshall and Kalgeri Robinson are the only two athletes who have cleared 21' before.
With Audrey Gariepy-Bogui opting to run the 55 dash instead of the long jump, the door is wide open for Northwest's Tara Okusaga and others. Okusaga has had a good season so far, but since she is more of a triple jumper, she will need to watch out for Wootton's Suzanne Falk and others who have cleared 15 feet so far this season.

Triple Jump
Kevin's Picks: Ian Francis and Audrey Gariepy-Bogui
Ian Francis from WJ is the easy favorite in the triple jump. He consistenly jumps over 41 feet and has a personal best much further than the other competitors (43-08). It is worrisome, however, that he has not appeared in any official results including the Montgomery Invitational. If he is again absent at the MoCo Championship, Joseph Boateng from Northwest has the strongest resume to grab the county title.
Audrey Gariepy-Bogui has jumped over 2 feet further than the next closest moco competitor in the triple jump this season. Just like all of her other events, she should probably win this.

Shot Put
Kevin's Picks: Sean Stanley and Erica Neville
Sean Stanley from Gaithersburg has risen to an elite level in his sophomore year. In each meet this year, he has been able to throw around 48 feet or further. Not surprisingly, Chimso Okoji from Kennedy has also been up there around those same distances. One of the biggest surprises of the season was RM's Alex Payton's performance at the Montgomery Invitational. His improvement puts him right in the hunt for the county title.
The moco girl throwers have been a pleasant surprise this season. Based on who was returning, the competition looked grim, but Poolesville's Erica Neville has thrown over 32 feet a few times including a throw of 34'-06" at the Georgetown Prep meet. Blake's Corinne Talley had the best moco mark at the Montgomery Invitational with a throw of 33'-04".


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