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County Championship Preview
By: Kevin Milsted

Montgomery County Preseason Poll Results

Between May 4 and May 8, conducted an open online poll to find out the county championship preseason fan favorites. Participants were instructed to select their favorites in each event and rank the top teams for the outdoor county championship meet. 64 valid submissions were received, but voters were not required to vote for every category.

Below you will find the results. The county champion favorites are listed with the percentage of votes they received.

Event Name, School % Name, School %
100m Emmanuel Atabong, Springbrook 38 Olivia Ekpone, Northwest 89
200m Micah Phillips-Spencer, Churchill 30 Olivia Ekpone, Northwest 93
400m Robert Bowis, Churchill 38 Olivia Ekpone, Northwest 58
800m Sam Martin, Richard Montgomery 71 Britt Eckerstrom, Northwest 63
1600m Alex Willett, Walter Johnson 39 Camille Bouvet, Walter Johnson
Grace Corbett, Wootton
3200m Alex Willett, Walter Johnson 45 Anna Ryba, Whitman 53
110/100m Hurdles Damiete Roberts, Watkins Mill 29 Thea LaFond, Kennedy 78
300m Hurdles Eric Bishop, Quince Orchard 40 Gwen Shaw, Wootton 27
4x100 Springbrook
Watkins Mill
Northwest 68
4x200 Watkins Mill 39 Northwest 82
4x400 Richard Montgomery 60 Northwest 76
4x800 Richard Montgomery 80 Northwest 62
High Jump Paul Akyen, Clarksburg 42 Thea LaFond, Kennedy 87
Long Jump Sheldon Trotman, Northwest 61 Thea LaFond, Kennedy 84
Triple Jump Sheldon Trotman, Northwest 68 Thea LaFond, Kennedy 89
Shot Put Nnamdi Edokobi, Richard Montgomery 56 Virginia Owusu-Mainoo, Seneca Valley 48
Discus Patrick Schlosser, Watkins Mill 31 Virginia Owusu-Mainoo, Seneca Valley 70
Pole Vault Andrew Mengle, Damascus 56 Erin Parker, Damascus
Catherine Panasenkov, Quince Orchard
Top Scorer Sheldon Trotman, Northwest 33 Thea LaFond, Kennedy 55

Avg Answer Avg Answer
Tie Breakers Winning Boys 4x400 Time 3:25.19 Winning Girls 4x400 Time 3:55.47
Tie Breaker How many individual records will be tied or broken? 4.7

Rk Boys School Poll Points Rk Girls School Poll Points
1 Churchill 336 1 Northwest 344
2 Richard Montgomery 332 2 Wootton 263
3 Quince Orchard 248 3 Walter Johnson 212
4 Walter Johnson 216 4 Kennedy 193
5 Watkins Mill 190 5 B-CC 132
6 Clarksburg 154 6 Damascus 127
7 Northwest 125 7 Whitman 108
8 Sherwood 78 8 Magruder 101
9 Gaithersburg 75 9 Clarksburg 86
10 Damascus 74 10 Churchill 79

Avg Answer Avg Answer
Tie Breakers Winning Boys Team Score 75.8 Winning Girls Team Score 84.6

Below are the current Montgomery County Championship Meet Records:

Event Name, School, Year Name, School, Year
100m Damon Hill, Gaithersburg, 2002 10.52 Olivia Ekpone, Wootton, 2008 11.79
200m Byron Gibson, Gaithersburg, 2002 21.49 Olivia Ekpone, Northwest, 2010 23.91
400m Clive Brooks, B-CC, 1991 47.6 Olivia Ekpone, Wootton, 2008 54.61
800m Wil Zahorodny, Damascus, 2008 1:51.15 Britt Eckerstrom, Northwest, 2010 2:15.49
1600m Chris Moen, Walter Johnson, 2008 4:13.05 Sally Glynn, Walter Johnson, 1996 4:50.0
3200m Kris Herdt, Whitman, 1984 9:04.0 Sally Glynn, Walter Johnson, 1996 11:00.5
110/100m Hurdles Dwayne Whitaker, Northwest, 2003 14.30 Audrey Gariepy-Bogui, Churchill, 2007 14.05
300m Hurdles Bob Garhart, Gaithersburg, 1995 39.0 Audrey Gariepy-Bogui, Churchill, 2007 44.57
4x100 Gaithersburg 2003 41.80 Gaithersburg 2005 48.50
4x200 Montgomery Blair 2008 1:28.62 Albert Einstein 1988 1:41.70
4x400 Seneca Valley 1983 3:22.0 Northwest 2009 3:57.06
4x800 Quince Orchard 2008 7:49.59 Northwest 2010 9:18.98
High Jump Kevin Joyce, Springbrook, 1985 6-11 Audrey Gariepy-Bogui, Churchill, 2007 5-09.50
Long Jump R. Jackson, Gaithersburg 1988
M. Wheatle, Einstein 1988
22-07 Wanda Evans, Magruder, 1987 18-07.50
Triple Jump Shawn Tittley, Seneca Valley, 1983 49-07.50 Thea LaFond, Kennedy, 2010 39-06
Shot Put Marcus Brown, Quince Orchard, 2009 59-10.50 Amy Schwinn, Wheaton, 1984 39-04
Discus Marcus Brown, Quince Orchard, 2009 167-04 Ruth Kura, Quince Orchard, 1996 122-08
Pole Vault Andrew Bevan, Magruder, 1984 14-09 Naami Wagner, Northwood, 2010
Liz Calhoun, Wootton 2007

Girls County Preview

Most Likely Girls Records to Fall: 100, 200, 400, 800, 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800, HJ, LJ, TJ, DT, PV

Prepare yourself, track fans, for an all-out assault on the record books. This is not hyperbole. Everything up until this point indicates Tuesday's meet will be by far the most impressive girls' county championship in history. Since girls started competing in the 1970's, there has never been so much talent at one time and I'm looking at three athletes in particular. Olivia Ekpone, Thea LaFond, and Britt Eckerstrom already account for five of the county meet records. This is the beginning of the end: the farewell tour of counties, regions, and states for three of the greatest female athletes the county has ever seen. The seniors have one last chance to rewrite the record books and leave their mark on MoCo track & field.

In addition to all of that, skies will be partly cloudy with almost no wind and temperatures mostly in the 60's. These records don't stand a chance.

Ekpone is simply the greatest MoCo sprinter in history and she needs only to break her own records in the 100, 200, and 400. Poor weather has prevented her from recording any personal bests this outdoor season, but check Tuesday's weather forecast.

2:15.49 remains Eckerstrom's 800m PR, but she has split 2:13 or faster on the 4x800 relay more times than I can count. She is fit and will lead the pack on Tuesday.

You will say that Ekpone can't run three open events and four relays. That is correct, but this year's Northwest relay teams can approach all of those records without full strength teams. The record will be obliterated in whichever relay Ekpone runs, but with Eckerstrom, India Knight, Camry Torian, Sheridan Allen, Naomi Sheppard, etc. every relay meet record is on notice!

Then we have Kennedy's Thea LaFond. LaFond recorded nationally elite personal bests in the high jump (5-08.75), long jump (18-04.50), and triple jump (41-03.25) in a stellar three week span in which she also won the Penn Relays triple jump title. LaFond will be attempting not only to win four events but break four meet records. 14.05 in the 100-meter hurdles seems the most out-of-reach compared to her personal best of 14.74, but don't be shocked if she takes down Gariepy-Bogui's 5-09.50 or Wanda Evans' long-standing 1987 record of 18-07.50.

The discus record of 122-07 is on the soft side compared to some of these other records. Seneca Valley's Virginia Owusu-Mainoo and Einstein's Anna Ucheomumu have season bests right around 118 feet.

Likewise, the girls' pole vault record at 9 feet is not the most impressive record. Catherine Panasenkov of QO and Erin Parker of Damascus have both cleared 9 feet already this season (it's fitting that fan votes were split 50-50).

Even Sally Glynn's 11:00.5 (which is nowhere near Glynn's best high school performance) could be at risk. Whitman's Anna Ryba has been dropping time all season and could make a run at it.

In summary, take a good look at the current meet records because they will look very different after Tuesday.

The Northwest girls are the overwhelming fan favorites to take home the team title on Tuesday. If Ekpone sweeps the sprints and Northwest sweeps the four relays, Northwest will have 70 points just from those 7 events. That is before factoring in the contributions of Eckerstrom, Knight, Torian etc. in open events.

If anyone can take down Northwest, it is the Wootton girls. Wootton won the Cougar Relays and Chantilly's invitational. Casey Dowling has returned from an injury and is running well. Gwen Shaw and Sylvia Deppen are expected to gobble up major points in the hurdles and Grace Corbett will be in contention to win her events.

It's interesting that Corbett and WJ's Camille Bouvet finished tied in the 1600 meter poll. Corbett leads the county by over ten seconds so far this season with a time of 5:05.96. Bouvet has a career best time of 5:04.18, but has not approached that time since last year. At the same time, Bouvet has not had many opportunities to run outside of dual meets and relay meets. She is the only runner to have an answer for Ryba in the 3200 this season as she ran 11:21 to defeat Ryba in a dual meet.

The girls shot put has been outstanding this year. Expect rivals Rachel Porzel and Virginia Owusu-Mainoo to lead the way, but the young throwers DaShawn Herbert-Williams and Ozioma Edokobi could pop a big one at any time. I'm told Clarksburg freshman Angel Graham, who has thrown over 35 feet this season, is out for the year due to injury.

Boys County Preview

Most Likely Boys Records to Fall: 4x800, 4x400

Richard Montgomery has already gone under the county meet record this season with a time of 7:47.49 at the Penn Relays. Walter Johnson has too much pride to give away the 4x800 title and the mocorunning forum is buzzing about a 7:56 clocking at the Annapolis Relays, a time with potential for improvement. The first 4x800 race ever run on WJ's new track was a sub-8:00 performance between WJ and RM in a dual meet. Can the next 4x800 on WJ's track be sub-7:50?

Churchill and Richard Montgomery will be battling for the team title until the very final event, the 4x400. Richard Montgomery has clocked 3:22.98 and Churchill has clocked 3:24.59. Let us not again be surprised if the indoor county champs, B-CC (3:26.26 season best) are in the race for the win. Of course the reason this record has stood for 27 years is because it is the last race of a single-day meet. Athletes will be tired.

The Richard Montgomery boys have successfully redeemed themselves for under-performing at indoor nationals and the Penn Relays in the 2010 season, but perhaps the biggest gaffe of the 2010 season was a false start in the county championship 800-meter race which potentially cost Richard Montgomery the team title. As this "season of redemption" continues, Richard Montgomery looks focused and ready to challenge for the title again this year.

Fan votes were nearly split down the middle between Richard Montgomery and Churchill as the 2011 boys' team champion. Churchill had a perfect day at the indoor county championship while RM barely showed up at all and still finished third. RM has a number of things working for them in addition to four middle distance studs (Sam Martin, David Hamilton, Zack Angel, and Jacob Cantor) who clocked 7:47.49 in the 4x800 at the Penn Relays. Nick Hu looks to be a contender in the 300-meter hurdles and Nnamdi Edokobi can potentially rack up 20 points in the throwing events. A wildcard is Sonny Kirksey who is inconsistent at times, but cleared 6 feet in the high jump as a freshman last year.

Churchill is still just as loaded as they were indoors. Micah Phillips-Spencer is emerging as the county's premier sprinter in his junior year. Phillips-Spencer and Robert Bowis will challenge indoor 55-meter region champ, Emmanuel Atabong of Springbrook, as well as Watkins Mill's William Yougnia and B-CC's Terrence James in the sprints.

Zach Weinstein of Churchill is the indoor 3200m county champion, but he has his work cut out for him as the 3200 is expected to be the much-anticipated showdown between Northwest's Chris Miller and WJ's Alex Willett. Fans were deprived of the showdown when Miller skipped out on the 3200 at the Viking Invitational. Alex Willett has been unbeatable lately with a 1:53 800m split to go along with his 4:17 1600m split and 9:32 3200m season best, but he has yet to approach Chris Miller's season best 3200m time of 9:19.07.

Churchill's Will Conway has not repeated a performance of the caliber of his 4:21.34 indoor state championship victory, and will likely be facing a loaded field that includes Martin, Willett, Miller, and Sherwood's Kyle Tockman, all of whom are on fire this season.

The best thing about the meet moving from Clarksburg to Walter Johnson is that spectators can watch the throwing events without straying too far from the track, something that was simply impossible at Clarksburg. This year's throwing events will be significant in determining the boys team champion. RM's Edokobi will be dueling with Churchill's Nadim Elhage in both throwing events. Health has been an issue for both Edokobi (back) and Elhage (elbow) this season, so the ability just to get a mark will play into the team standings. Patrick Schlosser from Watkins Mill has a unique technique in the discus that may lead to a county title in his sophomore year.

Watkins Mill will take exception to being left out of the discussion for the team title. Damiete Roberts missed the end of the indoor season and got a late start to this outdoor season, but fans have selected him as the favorite in the 110-meter hurdles. He is versatile enough to possibly pick up a few more titles in the long jump and triple jump. While Yougnia, Schlosser, and Roberts are performing better than ever, without a Brandon Addison, they don't have the depth of last year's team. In particular, it is unlikely they can stack a 4x100 and 4x400 relay (back to back races). As evidence, they have not stacked a 4x100 relay yet this season and I think fans voted for them to win this year's 4x100 county title based on a strong sprinting reputation rather than results from this year. With that said, if the stars align as they did a year ago, Watkins Mill could repeat as county champions.

Like Richard Montgomery and Watkins Mill, Quince Orchard also has a few weapons it was missing indoors. Devin Haywood returns from ineligibility and should give QO a boost at the right time. Elliott Davis came out this spring as one of the county's very best freshman athletes and will play a role in QO's final team total along with veterans Darius Lewis, Eric Bishop and the distance trio of Drew Lehner, Conor Spauling, and Evan Laratta.

The Northwest boys may not be in contention for the team title, but they could have two of the biggest stars of the meet. Fans voted Sheldon Trotman to be the top male point scorer of the meet with potential victories in the long jump and triple jump. Trotman has won the last three county titles in the long jump. Chris Miller is the hottest distance runner in the county right now with season best times of 4:21.00 and 9:19.07.


anonymous track fan
2011-05-08 23:08:38

looks like it will be one for the ages. can we start streaming meets please?

2011-05-08 23:13:56

should be a close meet

2011-05-09 01:05:59

Love the article. Great stuff

2011-05-09 08:32:17

Great summary, KP!

anonymous coward
2011-05-09 17:22:08

1:53!? where was the heck did that happen

2011-05-10 22:23:27

That awkward moment when people not mentioned in the article take down 2 meet records lol

2011-05-10 23:03:36

^ this

2011-05-12 01:54:27

Great work NW girls very proud. Now on to regions and state

2011-05-12 01:55:50

NW girls can't be beat will show big at the Maryland state meet

Fan of Underdogs
2011-05-20 14:20:43

Magruder Girls have earned respect in the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, and 4 x 400. Northwest had to stack their 4 x 200 to win. That's a compliment to Magruders Girls. Wait til next year

2011-05-23 01:24:05

Yes Magruder girls have a great 4x200 and 4x100 team much respect to the girls and the coach. So what if NW loaded the team this is a competition sport . NW has many options and depth to take any relay. Nw won the 4x200 with time to spare. NW girls has I. Knight C. Torian and T. Wellman and will get new kids like Kennedy Knight who will come in next year to fill spots for kids moving on. Magruder should not just sit back till next year cuz it will still be a fight to beat NW.

2011-05-23 01:25:22

Yes Magruder girls have a great 4x200 and 4x100 team much respect to the girls and the coach. So what if NW loaded the team this is a competition sport . NW has many options and depth to take any relay. Nw won the 4x200 with time to spare. NW girls has I. Knight C. Torian and T. Wellman and will get new kids like Kennedy Knight who will come in next year to fill spots for kids moving on. Magruder should not just sit back till next year cuz it will still be a fight to beat NW.

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