Reservoir indoor track and field coach Phil Rogers doesn’t like to load his athletes up with events. Two is fine and three is “on the high side,” but rarely more than that.
The 3A East championships on Tuesday were an exception. Feeling as though his boys team could contend for a region title, Rogers asked his standout runners — specifically senior Kai Muniz and junior Talon Campbell — to increase their workload. Muniz would also run in the two-mile (3,200-meter) race, while Campbell would join the 4x400-meter relay squad in addition to running three other events.
The moves panned out for Reservoir, and so did the regional championship, the program’s first since 2013. The Gators, who scored 88.5 points, finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Atholton (62.5) and Centennial (56.5).
Muniz continued his dominant senior season with individual region titles in the 800- and 1,600 meter races, winning the latter by more than seven seconds. He also turned in a third-place finish in that 3,200-meter event to essentially give his team six bonus points. In total, his 26 individual points were more than six competitors.
The meet didn’t go as expected for Campbell, who Rogers said was battling an illness, but his performance Tuesday helped his team plenty. He finished a close second in the 300-meter sprint and earned four points with a fifth-place showing in the 500-meter dash. He also helped Reservoir take third in the 4x200-meter relay and salvage two points in the 4x400-meter event.
The Gators qualified plenty of other athletes for the 3A state meet, too. There were Sundiata Kamau and Ayomide Agbayewa in the 55-meter dash and Josh Krutz in the pole vault, where he won the event by clearing 11 feet, 3 inches.
And this all transpired without Tyler Levons, who Rogers said is one of the team’s best athletes.
“I knew that we had some guys on the team that I could ask to step up, and they did,” Rogers said. “And Talon and Kai were the two that I would like to say stepped up big time for us.”
The other individual standouts came from Centennial, which featured three event winners. Juan Parra secured a victory the 300-meter dash in 36.39 seconds and in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:07.68. And Greg Costello, similar to his approach at the county meet, smoked the competition with a superb final lap to win the 3,200-meter race (9:59.36).
Other league winners included Atholton in the 4x200-meter relay (1:32.31) and Mt. Hebron (8:21.11) in the 4x800-meter relay.
But as a whole, no team could match Reservoir’s success.
At the conclusion of the meet, Rogers made sure to locate Muniz and Campbell. Once he found him, he walked over and gave both of his athletes a hug.
“I told them I was grateful for what they did on the track and what they were able to do for their team,” Rogers said. “Without those two, we don’t win the title. It’s that simple.”
Boys team scores: 1. Reservoir (88.5 points), 2. Atholton (62.5), 3. Centennial (56.5), 4. Mt. Hebron (56.5), 13. Long Reach (8).
Atholton girls finally victorious
The Atholton girls team rarely worries about region titles, coach Ivan Alvarado said. To Alvarado and his athletes, that meet is about trying to qualify as many athletes as possible for for 3A state championships.
“And if it just so happens that the girls team ends up vying for a title, then that’s just an extra added bonus,” he said.
That’s exactly how it happened at the 3A East meet at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex on Tuesday. The Raiders’ determination to qualify for states yielded 99 points, which was only enough to put them in contention but to power them to a regional team championship on the girls side.
Alvarado believes it’s the school’s first since 2001.
Mt. Hebron (80 points) finished second, while Reservoir (52 points) took fifth.
“This year, it played out where we didn’t have to juggle pieces around,” Alvarado said. “All of our athletes, they were strong in the events that we wanted them to compete at the state level.”
En route to their 3A East title, Atholton added state qualifiers in five individual track events, all three relays and all field events (high jump, shot put and pole vault). In the shot put, the Raiders will have two state participants after Ciara Wainwright and Morgan Young finished second and third, respectively, at the region meet.
“I call them the twin powers,” Alvarado said, “because when they’re on point, they’re pretty tough to beat.”
Another standout performer was Asha Washington, who won the 55-meter dash (7.24) and finished third in the 300-meter race (42.09) behind Blaire Ridgely and winner Jaiden Ritter of Mt. Hebron. She also ran in the 4x200-meter relay, where Atholton finished runner-up to the Vikings (1:44.78).
“She’s been an absolute beast,” Alvarado said. “She’s been on fire this year. She’s really taken her craft and her dedication to another level, and I think it’s showing in her performances. She’s broken the 55-meter school record five times this season, and I think there’s another gear left.”
Other state qualifiers from the Raiders include Kailee Bunyard. She finished runner-up to Reservoir’s Adaobi Tabugbo, who missed the county championships because she was visiting family in Nigeria.
Then there was Camryn Streib, who took third in the 800-meter run (2:28.08) and sixth in the 1,600-meter run (5:26.29). Meanwhile, Madison Garrigus won the pole vault (8-06.00) and Cassidy Bunyard placed second in the high jump (4-11.00).
As for Reservoir, Imani Collins accomplished something no other Gators girls runner had for more than a decade. With her state qualifying time of 42.20 in the 300-meter dash, she broke the previous school record in the event by 11 hundredths of a second.
Rogers said the record, which Amanda Rogers set back in 2005, was one of the oldest the school had.
The Lions earned 73 points against a loaded field that included the Baltimore County champion (Dulaney), the Anne Arundel County champion (South River) and the Frederick County champion (Urbana).
“We knew it was going to be tough going in — all four of those teams, plus a handful of others were really strong — so to get second, we were happy with,” coach Zachary Dickerson said. “We wanted to win. We wanted to wanted to stay with Dulaney knowing they were a strong team. It’s a little frustrating coming up a little bit short, but we had a lot of guys qualify for states, and looking forward to that race in two weeks.”
Howard senior Kenny Accardi talks after the Lions dominated the county championships on Jan. 29.
The state qualifiers included Jayo Adegboyo (fourth, 55-meter dash), Kenny Accardi (fourth, 300-meter dash), Glenn Mayora (third, 500-meter dash), Nick Deamer (fifth, 1,600-meter race; third, 3,200-meter race), the 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays and Eric Okoye (high jump). The quartet of Accardi, Adegboyo, Maroya and Anthony Reid won a regional championship in the 4x200-meter relay with a time of 1:38.95.
Dickerson believes his team has qualified enough participants to “put up a good chunk of points” at the state meet, which will be held Feb. 20 at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex.
“I think we’re in the mix for a top 3 finish,” Dickerson said, “and if we can squeak out a first or second, that’d be great.”