Montgomery County has an impressive resume when it comes to the 3200-meter event at the state championship meet, but MoCo does not win them
all. On rare occasions, MoCo athletes have won three outdoor state titles in the 3200 in a single year, but never four until now. Nandini
Satsangi and Ryan Lockett of Poolesville High School, Abigail Green of Walter Johnson High School, and Rohann Asfaw of Richard Montgomery
contributed to a MoCo sweep of the 3A-4A 3200-meter races on Friday night at Morgan State University.
Lockett shared his winning moment with teammate Andrew Lent who crossed the
finish line less than two seconds after him, 9:24.62 to 9:26.25. Lent, whose high school track career has now concluded, said that it meant
everything. Lockett, who was the runner-up at the Penn Relays and now a four-time state champion in XC and track, called it the best feeling
"When I turned around and crossed the finish line," said Lockett, "I expected to see him, but [it was] the best feeling I've ever felt after
a race. I've had a lot of great races, but this was the best."
Said Lent, "It means everything, to just come out here and end it this way. I hadn't put down any great two mile races since the beginning of
the season. So it meant a lot to come out and do that and it really meant a lot to come out and do it with him."
Lockett explained: "From the beginning of the season, we wanted to aim for one and two. I mean, we're both two milers. I felt pretty
confident coming in. I just wanted to see if Andrew was going to pull through. There is a lot of good competition and Andrew just gutted it
out. This was his last race and I couldn't be more proud."
The two joked that Lent might have won it if he stayed quiet. Lent was
racing so well that he moved up on his teammate with about 300 meter to go.
"He yelled at me and said 'let's go.' So I actually didn't know he was that close behind me, so maybe if he didn't say that he would have
caught up to me a little bit more."
The least likely of the quartet of MoCo state champions on Friday was Nandini
Satsangi who had been having a great year, but had not to this point grabbed the headlines like the other three. She also had not scouted out
her competition like her male teammates.
"I don't really like knowing where I'm seeded," Satsangi said in a post-race interview.
One competitor told Satsangi at the starting line that she was going for 10:45. That did not dissuade her from trying to stick with the
leader as long as possible. She did just that and with two laps to go, she made a move.
"I just felt strong. I felt her [Molly Barrick] slowing down a bit and thought, 'wow, I can do this...just took my chances I guess.'"
"Her race was great," said Poolesville Coach Prasad Gerard. "She ran with the group...When she saw the girl was slowing down, when Molly was
slowing down, she just started picking it up."
"She's had it in her and she's starting to believe in herself," said Gerard. "She's running stronger and running better races. I think that
is the hardest thing for her: mentally. Physically she has the ability."
Abigail Green and Maria Coffin of Annapolis High School had another epic duel that
resulted in Green's first outdoor state title in a time of 10:45.66. Green held the lead for most of the first mile before Coffin took over
in the middle laps of the 8-lap race. Green regained the lead with about three laps to go and pressed the pace to finish with a time just
outside of the top ten in meet history.
Green versus Coffin: the final chapter concludes in the 1600-meter run tomorrow (unless of course they race at nationals).
Rohann Asfaw of Richard Montgomery High School won his third 3200-meter state title
with a time of 9:24.26.
"It felt pretty good," said Asfaw. "I felt pretty comfortable the whole race. I tried to lead it...push the pace. [I am] still working on
being able to do that alone. I felt good. [I] put on the pressure the last 400 meters and came up with the win so I'm pretty happy.
He was pleased that he had plenty of energy left on the final lap and said that he was ready to go against a loaded 1600-meter field
Northwest High School took another step towards its goal to repeat as boys outdoor track 4A state champions. Northwest won state titles in
the 4x800, 4x200, and high jump and jumped out to an early lead in the team standings with 32 points.
On a night when Northwest's baseball team won the 4A state title, Northwest's 4x200-meter relay set out to prove that they could win without
multi-sport star athlete, Josh Netterville.
"Lots of people were thinking we were going to lose because we don't have Josh
anymore," said Northwest's anchor leg, Khaloni Mganga. "So yeah, it feels good."
"Without having a runner like Josh and still pull off a state title...it feels amazing," said Anthony Woods.
Of course, for anyone who is unfamiliar, Netterville had one of the finest indoor track seasons ever by an MCPS athlete this winter. He won
state titles in the 55-meter dash, 300-meter dash, and nearly broke the county meet record in the long jump. I am told that he is a prime
contributor to the baseball team.
"It shows all the hard work that you put in at practice. It gets paid off when you run in the meets. It's our coaches that help us get to
that," said Aaron Tucker.
The coach, namely Robert Youngblood, has a knack for putting athletes in position to succeed, but even Ngoy Jeriel Yamisthi (JJ for short)
was surprised when his coach put him in the 4x800 and 4x200 relays. In addition to running from the shadow of Netterville in the 4x200 relay,
Yamitshi and company wanted to make amends for the 4x800 relay team that finished third at the indoor state championship.
"Coming into the race, we were thinking about how every single time during the season we
have the fastest time coming in, we come to states and we choke," said Elton Quansah. "So coming into the race, that was really on our mind
because we didn't want to repeat the same thing because the three of us are seniors [Quansah, Yamitshi, Infante] and we don't want to leave
here regretting anything."
The three seniors were definitely tested as South River jumped out to a commanding lead on the first leg and then Severna Park built an
alarming lead on the second and third legs. Northwest's 4x8 MVP was junior Chase Osborne who bided his time behind Severna Park and timed his
"I just made sure in the exchange zone I got out harder...then coming around the curve, I was thinking about sprinting up to Severna Park but
I stopped myself. I just stayed relaxed and slowly just reeled him in. Then the last lap is just...keep picking up slowly the whole lap."
The live results interface, trackmeet.io, lists Osborne's anchor leg split at 1:54.75. The team's winning time was 8:01.64.
Divinus Muteba appreciated his entire Northwest team sticking around to cheer him on while he was the very last person competing in the
stadium on Friday night. Despite not feeling well to start the day, the first year track athlete completed his sweep of county, region, and
state titles by matching his personal best mark of 6-04.
"I came here...I didn't feel that well so I didn't expect it to be easy, but
I was struggling," said Muteba.
The junior missed six feet twice to fall behind in the competition, but after he cleared six feet on his final opportunity, he cleared six-
foot-two and six-foot-four without a miss. Mikhail Brown of Wootton was the only other competitor to clear six-foot-four, and when both
missed all attempts at six-foot-six, Muteba had won on fewer misses.
"I played basketball and I kind of had the vertical for it, but with high jumping you need technique too. That was my falling point, but my
coach, Youngblood, he pushed me and helped me through practices."
"Next year: expect me back," Muteba added.
The Damascus Hornets overcame adversity to win the state title in the girls
4x800-meter relay. Melissa Kameka, who was this year's county champion in the 400m and 500m, injured her Achilles in the open 400-meter dash
at the 3A west regional and is expected to miss about a month. The girls knew that it would not be as fast as their Penn Relays performance
of 9:24.96, but this win was probably sweetest of all given the circumstances.
"This one was extra special because everybody in it stepped up," said Coach Elrid Cason. "Losing a leg at the regional meet did have us kind
of nervous coming in so it is nice to see all the girls pull together with an alternate. Everybody just held their own, did their job and it
turned out to be a state championship team."
Not only did the alternate, Alexis Whitehorn-Coriz, fill in admirably, she also took over the lead for Damascus on the third leg after the
first two legs, Samantha Kameka and Juliana Ancalmo, had trailed Mount Hebron. Heather Delaplaine said that her goal on the anchor leg was to
"stay in first, stay in first, just maintain position."
Despite saying that she heard footsteps right behind her most of the race, Delaplaine brought it home in 9:31.05, four seconds ahead of
second place Mount Hebron. It was the second fastest performance by a Montgomery County team this season, behind only Damascus's performance
at the Penn Relays.
On a scale of one to ten, Jabari Bennett says he is at an eight when it comes to his
frustration. As usual, the Blake High School junior was upbeat and thankful for his win after this now his fourth shot put state title with a
mark of 56-01.00, but he doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to his goal to record a sixty-footer.
"My first throw: it was a bomb," said Bennett. "I think it hit sixty. I just couldn't stay in. The rest: I couldn't explode as I did in the
first one. I ended up throwing fifty-six feet and ended up winning it...It feels amazing. I still haven't reached my goal yet, but it's still
amazing to get all these championships and it's a blessing."
Bennett will throw at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina in a few weeks.
Other state champions from Montgomery County included the Blake High School girls 4x200-meter relay (1:42.52) and Xanthi Limber of Clarksburg
in the discus (114-02). More coverage by Mocorunning will follow Saturday's meet.