2006 Inaugural Viking Invitational
2011 Viking Invitational
The Viking Invitational in recent years has been held on days full of bright sunshine and personal records for everyone, but that has not always been the case. A case can be made that the 6th Annual Viking Invitational was the rainiest yet.
The Inaugural Viking Invitational in 2006 may have been just as wet with puddles formed all over the track, but with only nine teams in attendance (including only Poolesville and Whitman from Montgomery County), the meet surely moved along more quickly. A wide shot from an old 2006 photo album reveals that the stands were nearly empty from one end to the other. This was not the case last Saturday as the bleachers were crowded with team tents from over 40 schools. The Viking Invitational has come a long way since 2006 and credit goes to the meet organizers for trying to give every athlete the opportunity to compete (and combining multiple heats to move the meet along more quickly). The meet was well-ahead of schedule before it was called just after the 3200 meter race.
Nobody can control the weather, but everybody in attendance last Saturday will remember it for a very long time. It was 50 degrees and the rain started right on cue as the first athletes of the day lined up to run the 100-meter hurdles at 8:30 AM. Light rain turned into a downpour with gusty winds. Ironically, the rain never let up until the meet was called during the 3200-meter races. There probably were not too many complaints from participants who had been in the cold rain for five hours at the point.
Needless to say, conditions were not ideal for personal records.
The Northwest girls dropped a season best time of 9:26.70 in the 4x800 relay. A 2:24 split by India Knight was followed by a quick 2:22 split by Achankeng Acha-Morfaw. Naomi Sheppard split 2:27 and Britt Eckerstrom brought it home in 2:13.
Later in the meet, Eckerstrom and Knight met up with Olivia Ekpone and Hayley Henshaw to run 1:44.22 in the 4x200 relay which barely missed the meet record of 1:44.10 set in 2008. This was not particularly surprising given Northwest's time of 1:43 in the first dual meet without two of its fastest sprinters. With better conditions, that record would have been toast, even without the full 'A' squad.
The girls 1600-meter race featured a strong field, but was fairly slow and tactical with leader splits of 1:18, 1:25, and 1:22 through the first three laps. Severna Park's Ashley Hayes timed it perfectly with a big kick and a split of 1:09 on the final lap. The winning time was 5:15.24.
Whitman's Anna Ryba, who was third in the 1600 in 5:21.52, doubled in the 3200 and won by twenty seconds in 11:22.25.
Wootton's Sylvia Deppen, who missed most of her freshman outdoor season with a hamstring injury, clocked a time of 15.77 to place second in the 100-meter hurdles. As far as I can tell, it was her first FAT time. Destiny Phillips of Dunbar won the race in 15.47.
Something happened with the timing of the girls 100-meter prelims and the problem was not resolved before the meet was shut down. The girls 100-meter finals was never contested.
Natiaha Hinnerichs of Holton Arms delt with slick surfaces and a soaking wet mat to match her personal best mark in the high jump of 5-04. The mark tied the meet record set by Audrey Gariepy-Bogui in 2007.
Many of the other field event results were canceled or have not been posted yet. 400 meter results have not been posted yet but Sharon Dorsey from Western Tech won the final heat in about 59 seconds.
The boys 3200 turned out to be the final event of the day and we unfortunately did not get to see the much-anticipated matchup between Walter Johnson's Alex Willett and Northwest's Chris Miller. Miller was a no-show and Willett ran away with the race in 9:32.55 which is less than a second off his personal best. The start of the race was not particularly fast as Willett did not take over the lead until the fourth lap. His mile splits were 4:52 and 4:40.
Like the other distance races of the day, the boys 1600 was not fast from the start. The race was won with a huge 59 second final lap by Glenelg's Robbie Creese. His splits were 70, 69, 66, 59. Nobody had an answer for that kick including Joey Chapin of Georgetown Prep (4:29.54) and Will Conway of Churchill (4:30.73). Conway earlier split 1:58 in the 4x800 relay.
Micah Phillips-Spencer from Churchill won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.43 and Kyle Smith of Oxon Hill broke the meet record in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.7h (due to Whitman's setup, the 110-meter hurdles must always be handtimed). The finals of the boys 110-meter hurdles was restarted when the hurdles were completely knocked over by the wind just as the gun fired.
MoCo teams Sherwood (8:08.14) and Landon (1:35.17) took victories in the 4x800 and 4x200 respectively. Changing up the order slightly, Sherwood's 4x800 splits were 2:00, 2:06, 2:00, 2:02 by Nick Johnson, Loren Heap, Kyle Tockman, and Jackson Reams.
400-meter results and field event results have not been posted yet. The 400-meter heats were jumbled after re-seeding, but it looks like Russell Hornsby and Ron Busby from Georgetown Prep won heats 5 and 6 respectively with times of around 50 seconds.