The Northwest girls track team has had an aura of invincibility this season, primarily due to the national class performances by Olivia Ekpone and Britt Eckerstrom. But it has been India Knight that provides Northwest with unbeatable strength and depth that is needed to compete for a team title. A trip to the George Mason indoor track for a speed session late last week resulted in a hamstring injury that could potentially sideline Knight for the remainder of the indoor season. Northwest needed to rethink its game plan. Gaps needed to be filled to ensure the indoor county title would not slip away as it did a year ago.
Freshmen and sophomores got a chance to step up and contribute for Northwest on the relays. Certain runners didn't find out until the day of the meet which events they would be competing in. Freshman Naomi Sheppard not only stepped up on the relays but was a surprise third place finisher in the open 800.
Of course it was Ekpone and Eckerstrom with the "Midas touch" as it has been all season. Ekpone swept the 55 and 300-meter dashes for the fourth consecutive year and broke her own meet records with times of 7.02 and 39.18. The 300-meter time was a new personal best as she had to fight off Northwood's Le'Quisha Parker who also went under the previous record.
Eckerstrom ran on all three relays and was invaluable in bringing the 4x800 relay from six seconds back to win the race by 4 seconds in 9:40.64. She split 2:12 on the anchor leg. She also won the open 500 in 1:16.43.
Northwest picked up another half point in the high jump from Hailey Henshaw, who also competed on the 4x400 relay.
Those eight events accounted for all of Northwest's 66.5 points.
While Northwest was busy on the track, Kennedy's Thea LaFond was busy in the field events. She repeated last year's performance of four county titles in a day, only this year she smashed the county meet records in the long jump and triple jump with jumps of 18-04 and 39-09.75 respectively. The triple jump was near the end of the day after she had won the hurdles in 8.64 (8.48q) and the high jump with a mark of 5-04. She opted to settle with the four titles and not try for 40 feet in the triple jump finals. Kennedy is looking towards the Last Track to Philly at Georgetown Prep this weekend where LaFond had a big triple jump last year.
With LaFond alone, Kennedy finished fifth in the team standings with 40 points.
The Walter Johnson girls placed second with 46 points. Nearly all of WJ's points came from the trio of Anna Bosse, Camille Bouvet, and Laura Dally.
Dally was a bit of a surprise performer in finishing second in both the 55-meter hurdles and triple jump and is perhaps the heiress to a few county titles next year after Thea LaFond graduates this spring.
There was little surprise when Bosse won the 3200. Bosse has not had much competition this season, even at the Montgomery Invitational where she won easily, but she is hoping for strong competition and a shot at 11:20 or better at Virginia Tech this coming weekend.
Bouvet said she was not feeling well during the 1600 and that she had nothing in her stomach. As a result, B-CC's Alex Doll, who was disappointed after getting hunted down by Eckerstrom in the 4x800, ran away with the girls 1600 in 5:13.97. Bouvet at one point had fallen six seconds behind Doll, but when challenged by the rest of the field, kicked hard for second place in 5:15.66.
Bouvet refueled over the next few hours and said she was feeling better on the line for the open 800. The pace was slow while several girls took turns leading, but Bouvet took over in the second half of the race and won in 2:21.79.
Rachel Porzel of Blake won the girls shot put with a mark of 36-06.50 which is the top indoor mark by a Montgomery County girl in at least the last five years.