Nobody knew exactly what the score was, but everyone knew it was very close. The Richard Montgomery boys could feel their lead dwindling as the meet wound down. Devin Daniel of Paint Branch grabbed a win in the open 800 to offset some of Richard Montgomery's dominance in the distance events. Then, RM only put a JV squad in the 4x100 relay and Paint Branch won easily in 44 seconds.
Nobody knew the exact score entering the 4x400 relay, but the feeling was that whichever team won the 4x4 would win the meet. In reality, a 4x4 victory by Paint Branch would have resulted in a tie, but Richard Montgomery was able to seal the victory with a 3:29 clocking over Paint Branch.
Elhoussain Hakimi opened a large lead for RM on the first leg with about a 53 second split. Daniel of Paint Branch, coming off his win in the 800, closed the gap on RM. The third legs for each team maintained the same small gap with RM slightly ahead before handing off to the anchor legs: David Hamilton from RM and Malik Keels for Paint Branch.
It was the second time in the meet where Keels and Hamilton faced off. The first instance was in the open 400-meter dash, which Hamilton won over Keels, 49.7 to 51.0.
Keels was disappointed with his performance in the open 400m, but the indoor 500-meter county champ felt that there was nobody better to test himself against.
"I feel like he is the best competition MoCo has to offer," Keels said of Hamilton. "I have more work to do."
Hamilton pointed out that he had a bad 400m race last Friday night at the Coyote Invitational so he thought that today's race was a good performance for this time of year.
He also added, "We're trying to get our 4x4 time down."
And so when Hamilton got the baton on the final lap in the final race of the day, he flew out of the exchange zone with a burst of speed, creating a large deficit for Keels to make up. He brought it home for a win in 3:29.
The reason that RM did not re-create the 3:26 from last Friday night is because Nick Hu had already competed in four events and did not run on the 4x4 relay. Hu had split 49 seconds on that 3:26 relay after clocking 39.64 in the 300-meter hurdles last Friday, so it is understandable that RM lost three seconds without him today.
Hu contributed his fair share to the team win. He won the 300-meter hurdles in 39.8, won the long jump in 20-01, and grabbed a point in the open 100m to help offset some of Paint Branch's dominance in the sprints.
Asked if he thought he could catch Walter Johnson's Elad Covaliu in the 300-meter hurdles later in the season, Hu said that he was going after it.
The final score showed RM winning, 74 to 61.
The Richard Montgomery girls are getting better together as a team. Several of the junior girls who have been on the team for three years are beginning to get serious for the first time and the results are beginning to show.
This is especially the case with Dasia Adams, who dropped a personal best FAT time of 25.81 last week to win the 200-meter dash at the Coyote Invitational. Coach Matt Wheeler said that Adams is putting in the extra work that she wasn't doing as a freshman or sophomore. Today she won the 200-meter dash in 25.8h.
Adams's fellow juniors, Ashley Christopher, Tise Taiwo, Marilyn Rodriguez, and Tiffany Afolobi-Brown have all stepped up in their third year with RM. It's like a junior movement that the coaches are thrilled to see.
Christopher had a half-foot PR in the long jump today, winning in 16-07.50.
Tise won the 400m in 60.5 seconds (she was second at the Coyote Invitational in a personal best 59.98).
Afolobi-Brown won the discus with a personal best 96 feet and some inches.
Rodriguez won the triple jump and 300-meter hurdles with a big personal best of 48.2 and grabbed second place in the 200-meter dash.
Elena De La Paz is a senior, and therefore not a part of RM's "junior movement," but she had a nice day with wins in the distance events: 5:29, 12:01.
With wins in 13 out of the 17 events, RM outscored the Paint Branch girls 98 to 31.
There is another junior that could be joining Richard Montgomery after spring break. Chelsea Harris, high jump state champion formerly from Gaithersburg, now attends RM, but she is working on getting her grades up.