Churchill upset the heavily favored Northwest girls by eight points. Just one out of 34 fans predicted the Churchill girls to win in Mocorunning's Pre-meet Poll. The Churchill coaches admitted that even they believed that Northwest would win the meet and never discussed the possibility of winning with the athletes on the team, but they still spread their athletes around to try to win if it was possible. Despite Northwest winning seven events and breaking records in all three relays, Churchill won with 89 points over Northwest's 81 by scoring in eleven of fourteen events, often with two girls scoring in one event. Maryam Fikri won the 800 in 2:22.24 and placed second in the 1600 in 5:17.95 while Alexandra Giedd won the 3200 by nearly 18 seconds in 11:32.86. Katie Wolf took second place in the 55 and 300 dashes. Other notable contributors in open events were Serenah Polite, Ale Martinez, Zoe Maslen, and Taylor Caulk.
Thea LaFond of Kennedy, who says she has only been training with boys this season, had a dream day, winning four events and breaking two meet records. LaFond won the hurdles in 8.69, won the high jump in 5-00, won the triple jump with a meet record of 38-02.75 and won the long jump with a meet record of 17-03.75. It was a performance reminiscent of when Churchill's Audrey Gariepy-Bogui won four events at the 2006 county championship meet as a junior. We can't wait to see what more she can accomplish this year. Kennedy placed fifth as a team with a majority of the teams points coming from LaFond.
The Northwest girls didn't just break all three relay records, they smashed all three records. The 4x800 record went down by two seconds (9:35.01), the 4x200 record by three full seconds (1:43.21), and the 4x400 by over seven full seconds (4:00.58). The contributing members were Olivia Ekpone, Britt Eckerstrom, Alyssa Henshaw, India Knight, Alana Rule, and Achankeng Acha-Morfaw.
In addition, Olivia Ekpone, Britt Eckerstrom, and Alyssa Henshaw each won individual events. Ekpone won the 300 in 39.84 and broke the county record in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.05. Eckerstrom won the 500 in a personal best time of 1:17.07 and Henshaw won the 1600 in 5:16.93. Leslie Morrison from Whitman is the only county runner in the last 10+ years to run faster than Eckerstrom's time in the 500. Morrison's best was 1:16.26.
After discussing the Northwest girls, the Churchill girls, and Thea LaFond from Kennedy, there is only one more county champion left to talk about. Leah Lang of Quince Orchard was the biggest surprise champion of the meet. It was not surprising that she finished second in the hurdles in 8.80, but it was surprising when she upset the meet favorite in the shot put, Natalia Morrison of Clarksburg, with a throw of 32-02.50, two inches further than Morrison's best of the day.
Lang threw 23-09.50 at the Howard County-Montgomery County Meet in December just to complete the relay team. She tested well in her team's early season strength and endurance testing and she was also accepted into the West Point US Military Academy. She and her coaches decided to work on some new things and she is thinking about possibly competing at the next level. She has been in touch with the track coach at West Point and there may be a place on the team for her, especially if she continues to improve in a variety of events and is interested in competing in multi-events.
Perhaps the top performer who did not win a county title was Casey Dowling of Wootton. Dowling tied the previous meet record in the long jump with a mark of 17-02, but fell to second place behind LaFond's record-breaking jump of 17-03.75. She ran a personal best time of 41.78 to place third in the 300-meter dash and 7.42 to place fourth in the 55-meter dash.
Gwen Shaw of Wootton was noticably talented in the early-season developmental meets, but had a great meet with a time of 7.56 in the 55-meter dash, 42.62 in the 300-meter dash, and 9.14 in the 55-meter hurdles. Her time in the hurdles is the best time by a freshman in the mocorunning database dating back five years and her time in the 300 is the second best. Shaw and Dowling, who are teammates on the Maryland Titans club team, combined with Annie Munro, Grace Corbett, and Elaine Chen to take third place with 54.50 points.
|Damascus placed fourth with 52.50 points. Main contributions came from Alex Carroll, Emily McIlvried, and a greatly improved Jordan Pitchford who placed second in the triple jump, third in the high jump, and fifth in the long jump.|