Poolesville at 1A/2A West - by Kevin Milsted
Poolesville traveled to the 1A/2A West Regional Championship in Hagerstown, Maryland on Friday with a plan. The plan was to qualify as many athletes for the state championship as they possibly could: Mission Accomplished. 7 different girls, 3 relays, and 1 boy will be heading to the 1A/2A State Championship at the Prince Georges Sports and Learning Center in 2 weeks, and after winning the West Region 113-63 over 2nd place Williamsport, they must be considered one of the favorite to win the state title.
Poolesville's success begins with sophomore Jenny Reid who tripled in the distance events, winning the 800, 1600, and 3200 meter races after contributing to the 1st place 4x800m relay team. She accomplished these feats in what is considered to be the strongest region in the distance events. The question now is if she can pull off the triple at the State Championship like her teammate Meghan Rose did last year in the 300, 500, and 800. She will once again have to beat out her opponents from the West as well as Courtney Williams from Loch Raven High School who is the favorite in the 800.
Meghan Rose did not win three events like she did last year, but still qualified in the 300, 500, 800 and 4x200. Her time in the 500 (1:20.80) is two seconds faster than she ran at this meet last year. She seems to be in great shape heading back to the state championship to defend her three titles and help her team win.
Olivia Durr began to make a name for herself when she qualified for the state championship as a freshman outdoors last year. This year she won the 55 hurdles in the 1A/2A West Region and will be one of the favorites at the state championship.
Also qualifying for the Poolesville girls was Emily Furr in the high jump, Kelsey Barner in the 55m hurdles, Erica Neville and Holly Defnet in the shot put, and whoever they decide to run in the 4x2, 4x4, and 4x8.
The lone male representative from MoCo at the 1A/2A State Championship will be Jason Stinner of Poolesville. Stinner placed 3rd in the 55m hurdles with a time of 8.55, which currently ranks him 8th in Montgomery County.
100th Millrose Games - by William Palmer
For the few MoCo runners that made the trip up to the 100th Millrose games, it was a trip to be remembered. Because most of you couldn't make it up, however, here is a little taste of the action.
The Millrose games has always been one of the most exciting races of the indoor season due to the fantastic competition and the highly tactical races due to the 160 yard banked track. The first major event of the day for the MoCo crew proved this to be true as the High School Girls toed the line in what has become one of the most anticipated high school miles of the season. The race played out as many other big miles have this season. Danielle Tauro led a slow early pace through 1200m and then unleashed a kick that has yet to be answered in almost two years. As the leaders came through in 1:15, 2:28 and 3:44, not much in the way of positioning changed with Tauro in the lead followed closely by Chanelle Price, Colleen Wetherbee and Cory McGee. With about three laps to go Wetherbee attempted to make things exciting with a move to the front, but two laps later Tauro was unleashing her kick. With a 67 second last 440, Tauro was the clear winner in a very impressive 4:52, followed by McGee and Price, both in 4:53.
The boys 4x800m featured some very impressive teams including the first team under 8:00 this year in Kellenberg, the winner of the Millrose Games Trials. The leadoff leg featured a very impressive 1:54 split from the national leader at 600m, 800m and 1000m in Lionel Williams of St. Peter's. Through the first two legs, St. Peters, Monsignor Farrell and Iona Prep waged with splits around 2:03-2:05 for all three teams. It was not until the end of the third leg that Kellenberg moved up into the lead pack and St. Peter's fell behind. Just after the last handoff, Kellenberg's anchor shot into the lead and never looked back en route to their 8:09 to 8:10 win over Iona Prep.
Next on the list of races to watch was the Women's 3000m run, which plays host to one of the best fields assembled during the indoor season. From the start it was a two woman race between Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Sarah Hall of the USA. Dibaba set the World Record indoors at 5000m for the second year in a row at the Boston Indoor Games the Previous weekend and was all geared up for another great performance. Hall held on for dear life while Dibaba led from wire to wire. With 800m to go, Dibaba finally opened up some daylight on the persistent Hall. In the end it was Dibaba in 8:46 and a fading Hall in 9:01. On an interesting note, Dibaba's time would convert to 9:25 for 3200m which is far faster than any other Male in MoCo and would be second to Bazell's 9:13 in all of Maryland.
In the way of field events, the women's pole vault proved to be incredibly exciting even though it was a one woman show. Yelena Isinbeyeva of Russia cleared height after height leaving all other vaulters on the ground including some of USA's best. Isinbeyeva has been the exclusive World Record holder of the Pole Vault for two years this coming march. The crowd went wild as the meet directors called for orchestrated claps before every jump as she went on to tie her World Record before missing three attempts at an even more impressive height.
The race of the night was the one that all MoCo residents had come for: the Boys High School Mile, featuring none other than MoCo's own elite miler in Chris Moen of Walter Johnson. The race played out as expected with Steve Murdock taking the pace out hard in 61 and 2:06. Much of the field played chase through the first 800m before Murdock and Kyle Soloff separated themselves with Jason Weller trailing just a few meters back. Shortly after hitting the three-quarter mark in 3:12, Soloff made a gutsy move into first only to be overtaken by a fast moving Weller with just over one lap to go. Over the last lap, Weller laid down a torrid kick to win going away in 4:15 with Soloff second in 4:17 and Murdock third in 4:18. Moen looked like he was hurting for most of the race but was able to muster up enough strength for a 4th place finish in 4:26. Even though the time is not one of Moen's best, he was the only junior in the field and can easily be considered a favorite for next year's Millrose games.
The second most anticipated event of the evening was the famous men's Wanamaker Mile. This year's field played host to Bernard Lagat of USA, Alan Webb of USA, Craig Mottram of Australia, Chris Lukezic of USA and Ivan Heshko of the Ukraine. A hot early pace of 0:56 and 1:56 set by the rabbit set Webb up for a difficult finish. When the rabbit dropped out at the half-way mark, Webb found himself leading a very talented field and very vulnerable. Through the second half of the race, Mottram took over pacing duties as he was followed by Lagat. With just two laps to go in the race, it was still a two man show and neither runner was giving any advantage to the other. Coming into the straight of the bell lap it became impossible to hear your own scream as Lagat slowly moved by Mottram. Mottram put on an amazing kick of his own as he tried to cover Lagat's move but faded down the back stretch as Lagat put a couple precious strides on Mottram to win in 3:54. Mottram also crossed in 3:54 with Lukezic in 3rd and a very disappointed Webb finished 4th in 4:04. Lagat's 3:54 was a new World-Leading mile time for the 2007 season. With the entire stadium on its feet for the entire race, there could not have been a more exciting way to end the evening.
Other than the races and field events, Millrose played host to some other special moments. The centennial presentaion included past Millrose greats Eamonn Coghlan, Marty Liquori and Mary Decker Slaney (my apologies go out to Kyle Gaffney on this one). The MoCo crew also spotted current American Record holder in the Half Marathon Ryan Hall and his wife Sarah discussing her race in the stands, as well as a very angry Alan Webb setting a torrid pace on his cool down around the block where we were parked. Overall, the money spent and tight squeeze in a van for 4 hours each way was well worth the excitement.
The next day at the New York Armory across town, MoCo athletes Leslie Morrison and Ashlyn Sinclair competed unattached in the New Balance Collegiate Games elite 1000m race. Morrison ran extremely well, finsihing 2nd in 2:52.23. Sinclair finished 7th in 2:57.54.
Last Track to Philly - by Reagan Lynch
In a weekend overshadowed by the county's most elite athletes competing in New York at the Millrose Games and New Balance Collegiate Invite, several county schools competed at Georgetown Prep in the facility's inaugural major invitational. The meet designed to be a meet at which to secure seed times for the Penn Relays proved to be reasonably low key, yet nearly every race yielded quality performances from the first event of the day to the last.
The meet started with strong performances by county schools in the DMR. Magruder girls took an easy win in 13:16, but it was the Sherwood boys who truly impressed. Their time of 10:44 is one of the fastest in recent memory. Splits of 3:13, 51, 2:04, and 4:30 from Tommy Mullings, Jamal Olatunde, Russell Speiden, and Chris Barnard respectively led Sherwood to the fastest DMR since 2005 in Montgomery County. The Georgetown Prep boys led by Mat Abernethy had an outstanding performance of their own to take second in 10:50.
The middle of the meet yielded dominant performances by Westlake in the boys sprint relays as well as a few strong performances in the boys and girls 1600 and 3200.
Westlake's 4x200 and 4x400 times of 1:30.7 and 3:23.3 are the fastest among Maryland public schools this year.
The girls mile came down to a fast last lap between Wootton's Veronica Salcido and Northwest's Kathy Aherne. Veronica was able to take the win by one second in 5:27. The boys mile quickly came down to a race between myself and Dulaney's Vince Walsh. Multiple lead changes ensured the pace never slacked and ultimately Vince sprinted away in the last 100m to take the win in 4:25.
Arguably the most impressive individual performance of the day was that of Wootton's Chris Boyd running 9:52 solo in the 3200. Running negative splits and lapping the entire field, Chris showed he is a top competitor at any distance from 800m up.
The boys 4x800 was an exciting conclusion to the day as Vince Walsh, anchoring the Dulaney squad, made up a large deficit to regain contact with Quince Orchard's David Laratta heading into the bell lap. In a bit of an anti-climactic finish, David sprinted away from the fatigued Vince Walsh to bring the meet to its conclusion.
Gaithersburg's Sean Stanley continues to impress with his 1st place throw of 48'-09" in the shot put.
A great meet at a great new track, look for the "Last Track to Philly" to become a more popular invitational in the next few years.