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Pessima, Wright Lead Northwest as State Runners-Up
By: Kevin Milsted

The Northwest High School girls team compiled 76 points to finish second behind CH Flowers High School at the 4A state championship meet. Taylor Wright and Eddita Pessima won individual state titles and teamed up with Cori Brown and Yaye Sy to place second in the 4x100-meter relay.

Pessima won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.41 which lowered her personal best for the third consecutive meet.

The 100-meter hurdles race was almost too easy. She won by over half a second which was a different story from the indoor state championship in which she edged out her opponent by just 0.03 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles.

"I could feel the distance," she said while still soaking in the win. "It felt good. I felt that was a really good race. I'm just so thankful."

The 300-meter hurdles races was not nearly so easy. Walter Johnson's Courtney Christian got out to an outstanding start. Coming off the turn, Pessima found herself behind with considerable ground to make up.

"I definitely felt her coming off the curve, but then I knew I had to go. She was right in front of me. I wasn't really worried, I just knew that I had to push. I had to go."

Pessima kept her form and made up ground on Christian with every stride down the final straightaway. Christian and Pessima approached the final hurdle at the same time. Pessima powered over it while Christian clobbered hers, and that was the difference. Pessima finished first in 44.38 and Christian finished second in 44.52. It was the first time since 1993 that Montgomery County girls went 1-2 in the 300-meter hurdles at the state championship meet.

"She's a very good competitor, an awesome, amazing runner," said Pessima of Christian. "I'm just so thankful. God brought me here for a reason and stayed with me, and He guided me, protected me. That's all I can say is thank you so much."

Pessima quit her job selling pizzas to focus on track as Mocorunning first reported after the indoor state championship meet. Her renewed dedication has paid off and put her right up there with the best MoCo hurdlers of the last decade.

Head Coach Robert Youngblood said, "Eddita is just really strong in her faith and she's become a serious leader of this team and for the future. She knows it. She loves track and field now. No more selling pizza. She's got every school asking about her now."

Everything was going smoothly for Taylor Wright on Friday when she advanced to the finals in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. With the help of the wind, she recorded a season best time of 11.91 in the 100m and a new personal best time of 24.40 in the 200m.

She was soaring over the high jump bar with ease on Saturday when she had to check out to run the 100-meter finals. She finished second in the 100-meter finals (12.11) and returned to the high jump a little tired. Despite clearing 5-06 or 5-07 in each of the previous two meets, her best jump on Saturday was only 5-04. She won the competition over another competitor who also cleared 5-04 but with more misses.

"I think I let it get to my head a little bit that I was flip-flopping," said Wright. "I wasn't as focused as I needed to be on each event."

"I was hoping to clear 5-06, but you know any given day anything happens."

She later took second place in the 200-meter dash (24.81) and helped the 4x100-meter relay team take second place in 48.40.

Between indoor and outdoor track, Wright now has nine individual county titles (not including relays), eight region titles, and two state titles as a sophomore. She will compete at New Balance Outdoor Nationals where last year she was freshman national champion in the triple jump and 100-meter dash. She was undecided as to which events she will enter.


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