State Storylines Part IV
By: Kevin Milsted
Monday, March 01, 2010

Heat sheets were published for the 4A West Regional Meet and no Richard Montgomery athletes were included. Coach Matt Wheeler takes full responsibility for the mistake. He made the team entries on time but neglected to click the final submit button on the confirmation page. As a result, he had to re-submit his entries late and every Richard Montgomery athlete was seeded in the slowest heat with no time or mark.

This mistake hurt some Richard Montgomery athletes, but not Sam Martin and Jacob Cantor who have been running together for three years. Martin says he has what is like a telepathic interaction with Cantor. When one begins to move, it's a push-pull to the finish line. Out of the slowest heat of the 800-meter run at the 4A West Region, they pulled each other to the two fastest times of the day by over three seconds, easily qualifying for the state meet.

At the state championship meet, the race unfolded similarly, only there was plenty of competition around them. They knew that they had to go out hard to hold off the kick of the speedy runners they were up against, but the start was not fast. Martin led for the beginning part of the race, but his 61-second first 400 meters was not shaking any of the hard kickers.

Cantor moved up on Martin's shoulder with 300 meters to go and Martin said that was when he kind of woke up. With 200 meters to go, Cantor made a bolder move up on Martin's shoulder and then it became a mad dash. Garland Brooks of CH Flowers flew by everybody and won in 2:01.01 while Martin outkicked JD Tharpe of Suitland for second place in 2:01.67. Cantor was fourth in 2:03.30.

In 2008, Cantor and Martin, along with two other freshmen who are no longer on the team, clocked a 4x800 time of 8:37 at the 4A West Regional Meet. The all-freshman squad made it a goal to someday run the 4x800 at the Penn Relays. Since then, the team picked up David Hamilton and James McNamara to take the spots of the two original runners it lost.

According to Wheeler, this entire season is geared towards qualifying for and performing well at The Penn Relays in the 4x800. The Virginia Tech Invitational was circled on their calendar as the meet where they hoped to break 8:00, and therefore they gave each of their athletes a light workload at the county championship. For example, they did not field a 4x800 relay at the county championship, and Martin, who could have contended in the 1600, only ran the 800.

The Virginia Tech Invitational was canceled, and so their only shot at a fast 4x800 before nationals would be at the state championship. After Martin placed second in the 800 in 1:59.43 at the county championship, Wheeler decided to hold Martin out of the 1600 for the rest of the season in hopes of a good performance in the open 800 at the state championship.

Richard Montgomery won the 4x800 relay at the regional meet, although everybody agrees that there is a mistake in the official results. They won by more like four or five seconds as opposed to the twenty second victory shown in the results.

The 4x800 relay at states went about as well as it could have gone. RM and Walter Johnson runners exchanged the lead nearly the entire race.

Jacob Cantor led off in about 2:01 and handed off a stride behind WJ's Nicholas Regan. David Hamilton, who Coach Wheeler said hadn't run any 800's in about a month, caught WJ's Josh Ellis with about a 2:00 split. McNamara battled WJ's Daniel Kirwan for most of the third leg before pulling away to a 2:00 split. Martin got the baton for the anchor leg just a stride ahead of WJ's Martin Dally. Dally drafted behind Martin until a runner from Broadneck surprised everyone and passed both teams with under two laps to go. Martin let him go at first and then fought back to take the lead with 100 meters to go. Richard Montgomery won in 8:04.20. Walter Johnson was second in 8:04.95 and Broadneck took third in 8:05.42.

Four days later, the Richard Montgomery guys tackled an even bigger feat. They won the 4x8urrito relay in 17:37.

Up next for Richard Montgomery is a trip to New York City where they will run on the banked track of the New York Armory against many of the best teams in the nation in an attempt at sub-8:00. Walter Johnson will be there, too, with state champion 1600-meter runner Sean O'Leary taking the spot of Kirwin.

The Poolesville boys surprised nearly everyone when they won the 2A 4x400 relay in 3:36.16 in the first day of the state championship meet. It was a season best time by over five seconds. The last time that Poolesville won a boys' relay state title was a quarter century ago when they won the 1A 4x100-meter relay in 44.5h outdoors. Irvin Smith led the Falcons Poolesville Indians and also won the 100- and 200-meter county and state titles that year with times of 10.6h and 22.2h.

Britt Eckerstrom clocked close to her personal best time in placing second in the 4A 500 in 1:17.15, but Udeme Akpaete of Springbrook truly had a breakout race in placing fourth in 1:17.73. It was three seconds faster than her previous best and the fourth best time by a Montgomery County girl in at least the last ten years.

Alexandra Giedd of Churchill chased after Camille Bouvet of Walter Johnson for the entire girls 4A 3200 while Thomas Johnson's Stephanie Bryan ran away with the race in 11:09.03. It came down to a sprint between Bouvet and Giedd with Bouvet taking second plce in 11:39.18 and Giedd taking third in 11:39.58.

Freshman Gwen Shaw of Wootton placed fourth in the 4A 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.83.

Terrence James of B-CC was the fastest Montgomery County 4A 300-meter runner with a sixth place time of 36.71 while Martin Dally of Walter Johnson had the fastest county time in the 500 with a third place 1:06.85.

The 3200-meter run was the only event in which more than four runners qualified out of the 4A West and they proved worthy in the state race. Jackson Reams of Sherwood led the five 4A West runners with a third place time of 9:54.50. Nicolas Escobar, Tarek Elhage, Chris Miller, and Ishan Dey all crossed the line within seven seconds of Reams.

The Churchill boys surprised in the 4A classification when the placed second in the 4x200 in 1:33.69 and fifth in the 4x400 in 3:31.62. Watch out Watkins Mill?

Le'Quisha Parker of Northwood placed fifth in the 3A 55-meter dash in 7.35 and fourth in the 300 in 41.53.

Thea LaFond of Kennedy placed second in the 3A hurdles in 8.73 after running the fastest preliminary time of 8.61. She also placed second in the high jump with a jump of 5-02.

Naami Wagner of Northwood followed up her 9-06 3A West regional mark in the pole vault with a second place state finish in 9-06.

Two county girls cleared 34 feet in the 3A shot put with QO's Leah Lang hitting 34-04.50 and Blake's Rachel Porzel hitting 34-02.

Samuel Asiamah of Einstein hit a personal best time of 7.86 in taking third place in the 3A hurdles.


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