Since the inception of the DCC cross country championship meet in 2009, there have been proponents annually campaigning for the creation of a similar track and field championship meet during the spring season for the five schools uniquely linked together in what is known as the MCPS Downcounty Consortium (DCC). Five years after the debut of the first DCC cross country championships, the dream for a DCC track & field championship was realized at Einstein High School in 2015.
Kennedy High School track coach Kevin Monroe said, "When Eric [DaSilva] got the ball rolling this spring it was awesome. We talked about it at the indoor county preseason meeting because we have had the DCC cross country meet for years. Eric really took charge and decided to host it."
Wheaton High School track coach Eric Ellingson explained that the reason the meet was kicked around for so long without ever being realized was not as straight forward as needing a volunteer to host the meet.
"We could never get all the coaches to commit and agree to do this," said Ellingson. "For the first time, all of the coaching staffs have been together for several years."
Einstein High School track coach Eric DaSilva said that once all of the DCC coaches were on board, deciding and agreeing on a date was not difficult. It made the most sense to hold the meet after divisional meets but before the county meet.
"This was the only weekend we could do it. We've already had all the division meets. Saturday was the best day to get the elementary and middle schools involved. We would not have gotten any of the feeder schools to participate if it was on a weekday."
DaSilva later added, "We had pretty good participation from elementary/middle school kids. I enjoyed that the high school kids really got into it. I hope that part of the meet grows going forward."
When asked if there was any concern over the proximity to the county championship meet to be held on a Wednesday afternoon four days later, the response from the high school coaches was a resounding, "No."
"We're not holding anybody back," said Monroe. "I told everyone they were doing at least two events. We are doing the things they need to work on. It's like a tune-up for counties."
Ellingson echoed that sentiment.
"It's a good kickoff for championship season. I'm putting a few kids in events they haven't done."
The attitude of the athletes seemed to reflect that of their coaches. Kennedy senior Binyam Tadesse won the 1600m and 800m races, giving 100% effort and setting personal bests in each race (4:29.35/2:00.50).
"This is fun. I like it," said Tadesse who knows he will face much stronger competition in four days. "It's a confidence booster for counties."
Tadesse, who only participated in the Consortia XC Championships after the meet incorporated Northeast Consortium schools in 2011, predicts that the DCC track championships could potentially be on the same path.
"I think a couple years from now it will become much more competitive like the cross country meet," said Tadesse. "Maybe it will open up to both consortiums."
Outsiders will have trouble relating to the institutional tie between the schools of the Downcounty Consortium. The concept of students selecting their own high school is foreign to most parents and students who have known the rigid public school system to be intransigent on the topic of district lines and enrollment. Coach Monroe summarized how the consortium arrangement fosters unique examples of sportsmanship that do not occur anywhere else.
Said Monroe, "It's a friendly rivalry in the DCC. You want to beat other teams, but all these kids have known one another since elementary and middle school so it's good to see the kids congratulating each other after races."
Each winning performance is a new meet record and there were several meet records that have the potential to stand for many years. Highlights included:
Montgomery Blair boys team and Albert Einstein girls team won the first ever DCC track titles.
Victor Kyle from Wheaton doubled up to win both hurdle races in 16.3 and 40.7.
Michael Abebe from Northwood set the bar high in the 3200m with a personal best time of 9:45.75.
Binyam Tadese from Kennedy won the 1600 in 4:29.4 and 800 in 2:00.5.
Rachel Laryea of Kennedy doubled up to win the 100m and 200m in 12.4/24.9
Dalina Julien and Damien Monroe each from Einstein each doubled up to win the shot put and the discus.
Winona Peace from Einstein doubled up to win the long jump and triple jump.
1 Montgomery Blair 136.5
2 Albert Einstein 127
3 Wheaton 101.5
4 John F Kennedy 97
5 Northwood 52
1 Albert Einstein 154
2 Montgomery Blair 149
3 John F Kennedy 88
4 Wheaton 65
5 Northwood 54