The only three Montgomery County teams that went to the Anne Arundel Relays in Annapolis were Walt Whitman, Walter Johnson, and Georgetown Prep. All three teams had great difficulty, on both the boys’ and girls’ side, competing with the Annapolis-area teams such as Chesapeake.
The first highlight of the meet was also a major surprise. The Walter Johnson boys won the triple jump relay. The surprise is that they could not have done so without Chris Moen. With only a little bit of training to perfect his form or at least to merely do the triple jump steps correctly, Moen jumped 40 ½ feet. Also, Ian Francis triple jumped 45 feet, which equals the county best. At Urbana Relays, BJ Shaw had triple jumped 45 feet over Francis’ 43.
Both the Whitman and Walter Johnson’s boys’ teams are very distance oriented but today Whitman proved superior. The first event of the meet was the 6400-meter relay (originally 4xmile—many apologies to the Walter Johnson coaches who were apart of the record-holding 4xmile relay at this meet). From the start, Georgetown Prep, Whitman, and Walter Johnson established themselves in the lead pack. All three battled until the decisive fourth lap. With around 200-or-so meters left, WJ’s Jared Schneider fell off the pace set by two underclassmen Prep’s Ramsey Chapin and Whitman’s Andrew Palmer. Chapin split 4:26, Palmer was right behind in a PR of 4:29 and Schneider handed off the baton in 4:35. Georgetown Prep and Whitman were battling for the lead on the second leg. Both legs were very inexperienced considering this is Prep’s Carl Dennis’ second mile ever and Whitman’s youngster Brandt Silver-Korn is only a freshman. Anthony Popiel of Walter Johnson pushed his third lap very hard to catch up to both Silver-Korn and Dennis. However, he clearly tried to make up too much ground too soon as he would soon fall off the pace. Silver-Korn stuck behind Dennis to run an enormous PR of 4:44 and Dennis split 4:43. Popiel finished in 4:46. The third leg was the pivotal leg in this relay. Georgetown Prep’s Johnny Berry could not hold the lead for long. This is because Whitman’s Sam Epstein cruised by him and kept going very strong. Despite his absence in indoor, Epstein bested his PR from last year and split 4:37. Walter Johnson’s Brian Graves tried to keep distance with him but could not; he split 4:43. Georgetown Prep’s Johnny Berry fell well behind and split around 5:16. Whitman’s Will Palmer started his anchor lead with a considerably sizeable lead on Walter Johnson’s Chris Moen. Nonetheless, Palmer went out very fast but so did Moen. Moen went out in 59 then followed with a 65 for a 2:04 first 800. Palmer’s first 800 was 2:11. Still, Moen was too far behind Palmer to compete. Palmer cruised for a 4:28 split and Whitman’s overall time was 18:20—4:35 average per leg.
The Whitman girls executed equal domination as the boys did in their 4xmile. By no means did they start out in first but with an elite third and fourth leg, that is not necessary. The leadoff for Chesapeake bolted into the early lead with Whitman’s Debbie Isen and Walter Johnson’s Stephanie Alberico dueling far behind for second place. Isen had a fantastic kick and finished in 5:24. Through the second leg, Chesapeake maintained their large yet surmountable lead over Whitman but could not continue their dominant effort. Though they had well over 100 meters on Whitman’s Leslie Morrison, who has now only run two 1600-meter races in her entire career, Morrison had no trouble catching the Chesapeake anchor. And with about 250 meters left, Morrison turned on the jets and ended up splitting just under 5:15. With the meet record close in grasp and an enormous lead, Morgane Gay elected to conserve her energy. Gay split a 5:26; Whitman overall ran 21:50.
The Whitman girls’ 4x8 successfully lived up to their 4xmile performance. They achieved this even without the presence of county champion Leslie Morrison. Lead-off Debbie Isen split 2:30, 6 seconds behind WJ’s Stephanie Alberico who thereby clearly voiced her inclination to the 800. From thereon, Whitman took over the lead and would not look back. The highlight of this takeover was a stunning 2:11 anchor split by Morgane Gay and Whitman’s overall time was 9:49. Walter Johnson girls, with the absence of their usual anchor Jennifer Spencer, finished 3rd in 10:19.
Whitman did not run their A guys but still had a solid pair of freshmen legs in Brandt Silver-Korn who led off in 2:09 and Scott Gerfen who finished in 2:08. Whitman finished in 8:50.
Had the Distance Medley Relay ended with the conventional 1600-meter anchor leg, Whitman's time of 8:26.3 would have shattered the national record. The catch is that the order was 12,4,8,8 as opposed to the conventional 12,4,8,16. Due to unconventionality of the order, Will Palmer uncharacteristically led off for Whitman, whose DMR proved very up-and-down. First, the up: Palmer led only to later get passed by the future Texas Longhorn of Archbishop Spalding Rob Wetzel. Wetzel finished in around 3:09 with Palmer behind him in 3:13. Most likely very fatigued from the 4xmile, Whitman’s Sam Epstein followed with a 2:13. Next, freshman Scott Gerfen followed his 2:08 800 split with a 53 showing just how much speed he has. Andrew Palmer finished all alone in a 2:06.6.
Both the Walter Johnson and Whitman sprint squads put together respectable efforts. This was highlighted by the Whitman girls’ 4x4. Uncharacteristically, Morgane Gay and Leslie Morrison were at opposite ends of the relay. Gay led off in 59 and was right behind the leader. Gabe Mckenzie split 67 and Debbie Isen, who had a very eventful day, split 64.5. Anchor Leslie Morrison blew everybody else away with a 56.9, a faster split then she ran at states last year.
The Whitman boys’ 4x2 ran 1:35 in part to sophomore Anthony Young-Wiseman’s 22.7 split, which just about puts him with the best sprinters in the county. The Walter Johnson boys were about 1.5 seconds behind Whitman due in part to anchor Ross Vandercreek’s 23.3 anchor leg.
The Walter Johnson girls’ 4x2 put down a very solid effort with their 1:48.10. Jacquie Price led off in a 28.8, followed by Renee Mcclinton’s 25.5 leg. Christine Walsh followed in a 28.13 and senior Jenny Mccoy finished in a 25.6. The Walter Johnson girls’ 4x1 ran 53 besting Whitman’s 54. WJ girls finished 4th in the shuttle hurdle relay with a time of 1:08.