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Woodward Relays Recap
By: Kevin Milsted

Photo by Scott Silverstein
The Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson coaches were hoping for a good DMR race where the runners pushed each other under 10:20. The Richard Montgomery runners pushed Walter Johnson nearly every step of the way, but it was Walter Johnson that pulled out the 10:19 performance in the end largely thanks to Alex Willett's 4:17 anchor leg.

On the leadoff leg, WJ's Nick Regan and RM's Jacob Cantor exchanged leads a few times before Cantor pulled ahead in the final stretch for a split of 3:10. Regan was right behind in about 3:11.

RM's Shahidou Mariko held of WJ's Michael Li. Each split about 50 seconds.

RM's David Hamilton got a very fast start on the 800 leg. He split about 55 seconds for the first lap and brought it home for an overall split of 1:58. WJ's Josh Ellis fell behind on the first lap after Hamilton's fast start, but reeled Hamilton back within two seconds for a split of about 1:59.

RM's Sam Martin also got off to a fast start with a 61 second first lap on the 1600 leg. WJ's Alex Willett paced behind him with about a 62 second first lap. Then Willett began to close the gap. 600 meters into the leg, Willett caught Martin and hesitated for a few moments before moving past Martin. 67 seconds on the third lap for Willett gave him a large lead and he hammered home in 62 seconds for a 1600 split of 4:17 and an overall time of 10:19.69. RM finished in 10:31.81, which may not have been as fast as they were aiming for, but the same four boys returned to win the 4x400 in a county-leading time of 3:22.98. It's worth noting the Georgetown Day was never too far from the DMR leaders and finished third in 10:44.88, a great time for a small school.

WJ's time currently ranks 9th on Dyestat's national rankings after this week's action. It is the third fastest DMR time by a Montgomery County team in the last five years. It ranks behind Georgetown Prep's 2009 team (10:19.05) and Good Counsel's 2010 team which won the Penn Relays DMR and ran 10:04.72 at nationals.

WJ missed breaking the meet record of 10:17.6 by two seconds. The record was set by Landon in 1979.

A record from 1979 was toppled this weekend by the Whitman girls. B-CC's 1979 record of 22:10 for the girls 4x1600 relay was merely an average of 5:32.5 per runner. The Whitman girls had their eyes on the record and most members of the team were optimistic. Anna Ryba describes herself as the pessimist of the group and was not so certain they would get the record, but said that it was exciting when her teammates handed her a large lead with plenty of time to break the record, all while the announcer made sure the audience knew a 32 year old record was endangered.

Caroline Elmendorf handed off in fourth place after a split of 5:32. Alexandra Phillips gave Whitman the permanent lead with a split of 5:23. Elizabeth Frank split 5:45 and Ryba brought it home with a split of 5:18 and an overall time of 21:57.98.

Although the Woodward Relays record had stood for 32 years, it was only the third best time by a Whitman girls team in recent years. At the Arundel Relays, the 2007 Whitman team ran 21:51 and the 2008 Whitman team ran 21:16. This new generation of Whitman runners plans to return next year to lower the record. All four team members will return.

Ryba returned later in the meet to break her own meet record in the 2000-meter steeplechase with a time of 7:23.48. The record from last year was 7:27.73. She said that it was colder than last year. The air temperature hovered in the 40's all day. The water temperature was probably about the same.

The Walter Johnson girls broke a meet record of their own when they broke Sidwell Friends' 2010 record by a fraction of a second with a time of 12:36.56. Anna Bosse handed off in second place with a split of 3:51. Megan Spurrell ran 63 seconds to maintain second place and Sarah Breen caught the leader with a split of 2:29. Camille Bouvet took over the lead and split 5:12 to win the race in 12:36.56. Bouvet later anchored the Walter Johnson girls to victory in the 4x400 with a county-leading time of 4:08.94.

WJ's Laura Dally jumped 37-04.50 in the triple jump. It was the longest jump of the day.

The B-CC girls won the 4x800 in 9:35.27 and placed third in the sprint medley relay with a time of 3:22.92.

The Richard Montgomery girls won the 100-meter shuttle hurdle relay with a time of 1:09.89 and won the girls shot put relay to place second overall in the team standings behind Bishop McNamara.

Georgetown Prep won the boys 4x800 and Sprint Medley Relay, in large part due to Russell Hornsby's anchor legs.

The 4x800 relay was a back-and-forward race between Georgetown Prep and Good Counsel. After CH Flowers opened with a 1:56 leadoff leg followed by Sherwood's Kyle Tockman in 1:57, Good Counsel's Fola Shokunbi and Prep's Joey Chapin took over the race and completed the first 800 meters in 3:56 and 3:57. Georgetown Prep unveiled new runner Thomas McIntyre who chased after Good Counsel's Allen Meringolo. Meringolo maintained the lead with a 2:01 split while McIntyre split 2:04.

With nearly a 50-meter gap to make up, Hornsby slowly chipped away at Thomas Tallerico's lead. With 100 meters to go, the lead had vanished and Hornsby blew by Tallerico and finished with a 1:54 split, winning the race in 7:54.89. Tallerico, who had been ailing from an ankle injury, had no response to Hornsby's kick and finished with a 2:00 split and a season best relay time of 7:57.10.

With the help of Busby and Hornsby, Prep clocked 3:33.42 in the 1600m sprint medley relay. It was two seconds off the meet record set by Georgetown Prep in 1977. That is the oldest standing Woodward Relays meet record in a track event (three meet records from 1977 still remain in the field events).

The Good Counsel boys did not field their strongest possible teams with Sean Sutton among the noticeable absences, but still took second place in the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x800. Kendall Fuller was the top jumper of the day with marks of 20-09 and 43-00 in the long and triple jump. Good Counsel placed second in the team standings behind Gilman.


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