Could one of these athletes be the meet MVP?
10. Paint Branch
Paint Branch has been quietly traveling to meets and putting up some very fast times. The county might know about Quadell Spratley, who has run the fastest automatically timed 200 by a county athlete this season (22.63), but PB also has 3 of the top 10 400-meter runners in the county. Nick South will be a big contributor in the relays and the 300-hurdles and could even take the 400 crown. Despite losing several star athletes to graduation, Paint Branch will return to the top 10 in the county this year.
9. Montgomery Blair
This year's Blair team is the best since I started following high school track about 6 years ago. Their sprints are loaded, as demonstrated by their 2nd place performance in the slower heat of the 8x200 at the Katie Jenkins Invitational. They have athletes who should score in the 100 up to the 800 and will be highly competitive in the relays. Most of their best athletes are sophomores and juniors so watch out for next year.
8. Watkins Mill
Watkins Mill is another sprint powerhouse. These guys have two of the best sprinters in Herve Doliska and Allen Blanks and a seemingly endless wave of guys who can fill in for fast relays splits. Expect them to challenge the meet favorites (based on the poll results) Richard Montgomery in the sprint relays.
In a rebuilding year, Northwest finds its strengths in the field events. Sam Trotman and Joseph Boateng will rack up the points in the jumps while newcomer Josue Cruz uses his finesse to grab points in the disc. Don't be surprised to see sophomore Chris Onuigbo explode onto the county scene. The young middle- distance runner is showing all the signs of being a county superstar in the near future.
Magruder has two of the best weapons in the county in Jose Lopez and Kalgeri Robinson. Lopez will challenge for the county hurdle titles while Robinson will be going after the high jump and long jump titles. The two will team up with their teammates for some fast relays as well.
Everyone in the county is wondering, "Who is the kid who ran 10.58?" It's time to see if Zach Boodie and the other Springbrook runners stack up against the rest of the county competition after spending most of their season in division III dual meets. These guys remind me of Blair's team, except they have a guy named Jordan Sawadogo. Watch for Sawadogo to challenge for the middle distance county titles and lead his relay teams to very fast times.
The county has voted and they believe that Jamal Currica will score more points than any other athlete at the county championship. The high jump state champ has gotten so good in so many events that he could potentially pull the "Audrey Gariepy quad-performance," winning 4 county titles in one day. That depends on which events he chooses to run, but Damascus might even have the other top point scorer in Wil Zahorodny. With these two guys, plus some nice relays and Sam Weeks in the hurdles, Damascus is going to have a nice day.
3. Quince Orchard
QO has been growing more and more well rounded throughout the season. They have managed to develop some of the best throwers in the county under new throwing coach Neubiser, which is uncharacteristic of their team based on the past several years. Their distance guys are there, like always, as Reagan Lynch and Neal Darmody sit atop the county leader board in their respective events. Greg Conte has already won the pole vault county title and should score points in the hurdles. (By the way, their 4x4 beat Richard Montgomery in a dual meet and that was awesome).
2. Richard Montgomery
The defending county champs have endured the 2006 graduation, injuries, lack of a home track, football scholarships, and hair cuts, and they still remain one of the best teams in the county. They continue to develop outstanding field and sprint athletes, but Gaithersburg has beat up on them all season long. This could be the meet where they bring it all back together to defend their title with stacked relays and a couple defending county champs, but for now the nod goes to another team.
Gaithersburg has developed some of the best young talent in the county in Antonio Palmer and Sean Stanley. I hope that there will be an audience to watch Sean Stanley as he launches the shot put to distances that haven't been reached by a county athlete in many years. The county believes that the young Antonio Palmer has what it takes to win his first county title in the 800. While these sophomores put on a show, Gaithersburg will be the only team to field squads that could score highly in all 4 relays. On top of the running and throwing, the duo of BJ Shaw and Jeremy Marshall will soak up serious points in the jumps. With such a well-rounded team, Gaithersburg is my pick to win this year's county title.
10. Walter Johnson
WJ is a team that has often flied under my radar, but they usually develop strong relays. This year you can watch for Jenny McCoy to lead the sprints and hurdles along with Renee McClinton while Stephanie Alberico leads the middle distance.
Gaithersburg is young, but finally returning to the team that they have been for so many years. They don't have much depth, but they have several of the top sprinters in the county. Alyssa Jewell will challenge for county titles in multiple events while their relays go after a couple county titles.
Kennedy is a team similar to Gaithersburg in that they have several of the top sprinters in the county. Their relays are going to challenge for county honors and they have a top hurdler in Dominique Wright and the defending county 100m champ Michele Miller. Romula Hawthorne will contribute to the sprints, relays and jumps.
7. Quince Orchard
QO has one of the best weapons in the county in Cara Harrison, who is favored to win the 3200m. As a distance runner, Harrison can only do so much but sprinters Sonia Gill and Ariel Nehemiah could team up to grab a lot of points.
Damascus is going to soak up a lot of point in the field events with state champ Jacquelyn Adcock in the throwing events and Chelsea Reinks in the jumps. Their running events will be complimented by Zarena Sita, who has risen to a new level of competition this year.
Wootton has one of the most well-rounded teams in the county, and they have already won the pole vault county title. The Falk sisters will grab tons of points in the sprints and jumps while Veronica Salcido and Jessie Rubin will take what they can from the distance events.
4. Richard Montgomery
The Decruise sisters will score major points in the sprints and sprint relays. Beyond that, RM has a weapon in Erin Hylton who has already scored in the pole vault and will be a key member of their relay teams. If their distance girls step up, they could add on a few additional points.
Two of the top weapons in the county are Leslie Morrison and Morgane Gay. These two will team up to win multiple events and relays. Those two alone should earn Whitman a top 3 finish in the county. Athletes beyond those two will only tack on bonus points.
In my opinion, Northwest is the most well-rounded team in the county. They have athletes who will score in every event. In the field, Brittany Moreland is the best shot putter in the county. Tara Okusaga will challenge to win the long and triple jumps. They have sprinters and distance runners and will make a good effort to defend their county title, but they won't have the stars to claim the county title this year.
Churchill has possibly the two top athletes in the county in Audrey Gariepy-Bogui and Katie Wolf. Gariepy-Bogui is fully expected to dominate whichever events she competes in, which is usually the jumps and hurdles. Wolf is the freshman who has been dominating county sprints all year. The county believes in her, as shown by the audience poll, which voted her to win the 100, 200 and 400. If those two do not score enough points, Louise Hannallah will be a top finisher in the distance events, and Churchill will challenge to win all 4 relays.