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WJ @ Churchill Recap
By: Michael Menase
2007-03-27


The first major event was the 4x800-meter race. Once again, Walter Johnsonís Bryson Harris ran a solid leadoff leg, closing in a 65 to put Walter Johnson into the lead. The race was still hotly contested until the third leg. Anthony Popiel of Walter Johnson received the baton and gave anchor Chris Moen at least a 30-meter lead on Churchill anchor Jamie Hard. But do not get ahead of yourself if you are thinking that it would be an easy road from there for Walter Johnson. Hard gradually closed in on Moen and by the time there was just 250 meters left, they were right next to each other. With 200 meters left, however, the thought of a shock was erased and Moen was able to put Hard away by a large margin.

The sprints and hurdles early in the meet showcased some of Churchillís fantastic talents. One such talent worthy of mention is Churchill freshman Katie Wolf. Wolf has consistently been improving and even her own coaches have been amazed with her efforts. Wolf defeated state champion Audrey Gariepy in the 100-meter dash with a strong surge at the end. No meet with Churchill could take place without Gariepy having her share of victory, however. Gariepy took the 100-meter hurdles with ease. Later in the meet, she would also win the 300-meter hurdles, but not without a stumble at the end of her race. This invoked a great scare from everybody, but fortunately, it was nothing serious. She tripped because her spike caught the track right at the end.

The 1600 featured three very talented milers in Jared Schneider and Anthony Popiel of Walter Johnson and Robby Linnoila of Winston Churchill. Linnoila ran a quick 10:22 two-mile at Virginia Tech in indoor season. Last year, Popiel had a very solid freshman campaign with a 4:46 1600 at regionals. Schneider proved himself to be one of the top milers in the county with a 4:26 performance in the 1600 at counties.

The heat was brutal on these competitors. Schneider gapped the field with a time around 4:40 and was able to cruise the last 100 meters. Linnoila finished 2nd followed by Churchill sophomore Sean King and Popiel. Louise Hannallah of Churchill was able to win the 1600 with ease in around a 5:25.

Again, the open 400-meter race featured talented freshman Katie Wolf of Churchill, and on the guysí side, talented senior from Churchill Evan Whetsell. Both of these runners have tremendous speed, which makes them good candidates to win the open 400 at counties and regionals later in the season. According to her coach and on the contrary to what the parents (who were the official timers for this meet) got, Katie Wolf ran a fantastic time of 57.6 which is a PR for her. Evan Whetsell won the open 400 very convincingly, opening up a gap with 200 meters left. This allowed him to just cruise to the finish line. Whetsell also dominated the second event in which he ran. Probably nobody would guess but this event would be the 300-meter hurdles. Whetsell was able to handle the rest of the field pretty easily.

Walter Johnson runners dominated the 3200-meter run. Brian Graves and Chris Moen gapped the field and led this race from the start. Graves stuck on Moen for the entire length of the race. He put forth an all-out effort in an attempt to upset Moen. Graves has proven himself to be one of the better two-milers in the county, so this would not be a hard thought to consider. Nevertheless, Moen easily edged out Graves at the line. They both ran right around 10:40.

Following the 3200-meter run, thunderclouds rolled in and scattered throughout the sky. Everybody had to go to his or her car or inside the building for 30 minutes due to the slight thunder. But fortunately, the thunderclouds rolled away quickly and the meet resumed.

As opposed to the 3200, the 400-meter relay was dominated by Churchill. Much opposed to typical 400-meter relays, this relay was not even close as the anchor for Churchill gapped Walter Johnson anchor Peter Vandercreek.

Churchillís Erin McManus, who was in a battle with Walter Johnsonís Stephanie Alberico, won the girlsí open 800-meter run. This race was very close throughout its entirety, but Alberico could only hold on for 700 meters. With 100 meters left, McManus pulled away and ended up gapping Alberico. Moreover, Walter Johnson senior Jared Schneider won the boysí open 800-meter race in around 2:05. Schneider also ran the 3rd leg in Walter Johnsonís winning 1600-meter relay, which was also anchored by Chris Moen in a 53. Moen had a large lead and was all alone throughout the race.

On the field-side, Charlie Grimsley of Walter Johnson won the discus and had an off-day in the shotput, earning 3rd place. Grimsley threw right around 50 feet in the shotput over the summer and is looking to return to that level. And, despite his long-lasting injury, elite jumper Ian Francis has clearly proven that he is back. Francis won the triple jump and long jump.

Both teams held out some of their best runners in their best events so Churchill and Walter Johnson were clearly (yet purposefully) not at full-strength. The Churchill boys and girls defeated WJ.

Girls Score
Churchill 85
WJ 52

Boys Score
Churchill 79
WJ 57





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