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Letter to the Editor: Critique of All-MCPS Teams
By: BJ Westner, Gaithersburg Class of '99

As someone that competed in track in Montgomery County and that has now been a fan and keen observer for a long time, I'm troubled by the recent results of the All-County track and field team. This was the first time in many years that there has been an "official" all-county team and not everything is perfect the first time it's done. With that being the case, there were many areas where the coaches that made this team were wrong and failed their athletes. "Yeah, sure," you may be saying as you read this. "Everyone always has a beef about someone not getting on the team or how someone should be first team over someone else." I'm not going to argue one athlete over another. What I am going to do is show how the process of getting on this team this year was ill-conceived. I'm also going to show that in an age where inclusion is the norm, these coaches were anything but inclusive in determining this team. I'm not going to suggest the right way of doing this because there are many right ways. I am going to highlight how these coaches that are responsible for all these kids decided to do this the wrong way.

Maybe you are familiar with the baseball saying that there is no formula for what's required to get into the hall of fame, but you'll know a hall of famer when you see one. I understand this is not the baseball hall of fame. Yet the same principle applies here. You know an all-county performer when you see one. So why is it then that only one athlete per category can be a first or second team all-county performer? This is not one athlete per event, but one athlete per general category. The result is some of the best athletes in the state, some who have even won state titles and added their names to the all-time performance list in county history, are not on the first team. I've been around long enough to know that certain years certain events in Montgomery County are exceptionally deep with top level talent. So obviously it does not make any sense to be so restrictive.

Never in the history of any all-county team has there been a sophomore that runs under 4:20 for 1600 meters and is not even mentioned at all. Never has an athlete that will go down as one of the greatest distance runners in county history, who finished in the top 3 in the Penn Relays 3000 meters, not made the all-county first team. This does not even scratch the surface though. An athlete that swept the county, region, and state titles in the high jump did not make the first team? A sprinter that brought home an individual state title and was a key cog in one of the greatest relay teams of the last 20 years and he is honorable mention? Before anyone responds with the argument that "this year is the exception because that's just how deep the county is," remember that this is only because the coaches decided to make these teams so restrictive. It didn't have to be this way. Doesn't the county want to highlight its vast pool of talented athletes? Instead one of the fastest 400 meter runners in the history of the county, who also by the way happens to be one of the fastest freshman in the nation, isn't on the first team.

What is the point of having an all-county team again if it's not a true reflection of the athletes that everyone knows should be all-county? I'm sure that there will be changes next year to make this or that better, but how does that help the seniors that worked as hard as they could and put up performances worthy of being all-county only to not get the respect and attention that they deserve? That's what I want to know, and I'm sure that the athletes that got screwed over want to know, too.


dat one guy
2017-06-15 21:45:26

Whoever wrote this is right. They done lost there minds putting Mayen as an honorable mention.

2017-06-16 07:54:43

Rohann has been the most dominant MoCo distance runner of the past 2 years, Track and XC. There's no reason he shouldn't be on the first team.

Rohann 2nd team
2017-06-16 08:39:23

Ryan dominated distance track and field beating rohann in every race his season besides 1 800 and 1 3200. Rohann is good but he was nowhere close to Ryans level this season.xc doesn't matter for the all county TRACK team.

2017-06-16 11:16:41

No one is saying Ryan isn't deserving because he had one of the best outdoor seasons ever, but that doesn't mean we should just recognize 1 distance runner because Rohan had a pretty darn impressive season himself. Any group going 2/3 @ penn should be 1st team on any list.

Case in point
2017-06-16 11:21:32

Case in point: Rohann is All-Met 1st team but not all-county 1st team

Blake Coates
2017-06-19 06:28:34

BJ - Great article! Thank you for taking the time to raise an issue that is important to all of us in the MoCo Running fanbase. Have you reached out to the coaches to form an alliance? It seems like you are deeply knowledgeable about county T&F and CC and might be able to lead a team to reinvigorate this process for 2018. What's happened to this point, post-Gazette, is water under the bridge. Going forward, if we have a thoughtful, meaningful discussion about the list and include an independent, third-party like you, perhaps we get a list that reflects the most gifted athletes in the current year. How about it, sir? Insert yourself in the process for the betterment of our process and experience! BC

2017-07-19 10:11:38

Thanks for the kind words Blake Coates. I'm not really connected to MCPS xc/track scene other than being a follower for about 20 years now. I don't get out to meets but in the age of youtube, I get to see almost all of them. I have no issue giving my opinion/thoughts when asked and if asked would be willing to become more involved to help advance MCPS xc/track. With that being said, there's no reason that a panel of unbiased people, including coaches but not exclusive limited to coaches, can come up with something like you were referring to. The thing is that there's no one right way to do it, but it has to be better than what happened this year...Kevin and I have been emailing back and forth for years having discussions and debates about performances, people to watch, what caught our eye, etc. In a way because I am not connected at all and am behind the scenes, some may think that my opinions are better and some may argue otherwise. I don't really speak out too often but as someone that closely follows MCPS xc/track, I could not let what happened go without saying something. Lastly, I am happy to be involved in what you suggested but I don't have the connections to be the ringleader for that unfortunately.

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