The Reservoir boys indoor track team may not be the strongest when it comes to sprints and hurdles, but after the results at the 2013 Ivan Walker Memorial Howard County Championship meet, the Gators proved that they are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in the field events.
Reservoir was dominate in the center of the track at the Prince George’s Sports Complex Jan. 23, collecting 80 points between the jumps, pole vault and shot put to help the team defeat Howard, 131-106.50, and win the overall team crown.
“I'm one of those math guys, so going into the meet I did the projections,” Reservoir coach Phil Rogers said. "Howard crushed us on the track in retrospect, but our field is really what did it for us. We’ve always had strong throwers and a couple good jumpers. But this year we had phenomenal group of jumpers and vaulters, and our throwers stepped up.”
The Gators received first-place victories by Olumide Akinbinu (high jump), Gibrill Sheriff (long jump) and Evan Rector (pole vault). Bryan Sosoo and Alex Alli finished in second- and third-place, respectively, in the triple jump, while Kyle Kroll was second in the pole vault and Folarin Onifade finished third in the shot.
“We came in knowing that we had an advantage over all of the other teams in the field events,” said Sosoo, who also earned points for his team in the long jump. “So we wanted to just continue to do what we’ve been doing all season.”
Reservoir’s only gold medal on the track came from the 4x800 relay team (Mike Peprah, Teddy LaFemina, Timmy Usher and Tristan King), which Rogers believed was a good omen.
“The 4x800 and the middle distance has always been my baby,” Rogers said. “I’ve prided myself on a good tradition there. I told them anything less than first is a disappointment, and every one of them ran excellent race plans. Overall, I think that really set the tone for the meet.”
The second place Lions had the majority of their success on the track. Zack Black (55 dash), Josh Peoples (300) and Danny Rau (3,200) all won gold, while the 4x400 relay squad of Peoples, Fadil Tejan, Terrell Charles and Justin Marsh took the title in the evening’s final event.
“I really haven’t been having a great season so far, but I came into the (55 race) looking to win it,” Black said. “I knew I had the ability to win and I just ran as fast as I could. When I got to about five meters to the end, I leaned and I was pretty sure I had it but it was definitely a close race.”
Heading into arguably the most exciting event – the 4x200 relay – Howard held a slim, 89.5-88.5, edge over Reservoir. During the relay, the Lions’ second leg got tangled up with a runner from Long Reach and the baton was dislodged – automatically disqualifying Howard.
“We’ve been rivals (with Long Reach) in every sport,” said Zack Dickerson, who coaches Howard along with Anthony Elliott. “I didn’t see what happened but I know the teams have been jawing back-and-forth, in good spirit. Obviously that (4x200 race) hurt a little bit but we’re going to try to make up some points.”
Coming into the relay, the Lions held the best time of the winter in the 4x200. The possible 10 points earned from winning that race still would not be enough for Howard, however, as several field events had yet to be decided.
Nevertheless, the disqualification left a bad taste in Howard’s mouth.
“We would have had that race,” Black said.
Wilde Lake's Tim Virostek was the only multiple event winner among the boys, taking home titles in the 500 (1:05.87) and 800 (1:58.39), respectively.
“It feels really good to win this event,” Virostek said after winning the 500, a race he began running just this season. “I am a distance runner but I have some natural speed. The endurance that I have really helps in these races.”
River Hill’s Chris Heydrick was the only other repeat winner from last season – Virostek defended his 800 crown – earning his second 1,600 gold in as many tries with a 4 minute, 37 second time.
“I thought this was a very good chance for me to win again,” Heydrick said. “I went into the race and kind of knew that I could take most of these guys. I wanted to take the pace out slow and at about 600 (meters), just go.”
Other title winners included Long Reach's Rob Carter (55 hurdles), Atholton's Jordan Palmer (triple jump) and Mt. Hebron's Jeffrey Chavis (shot put). Carter was also a member of Long Reach’s gold medal winning 4x200 relay team along with Tosin Oweyole, Eric Thomas and Brian Crandell.
To read a roundup of the girls winners, click here.
For complete results, click here.