With three days of practice time to prepare for regionals, players had to really buckle down to hit PR's during the 3A East regional meet Tuesday afternoon at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex. But not only did individuals hit their own personal mark, but bested school records as well.
"I just did my best and I broke the school record," said T.J Lyles of Wilde Lake, who placed first in the boy's 55-meter hurdles. "(It feels) great. It just felt good."
Lyles wasn't the only individual from the Wildecats that performed well Tuesday, as they recorded three first place finishes and three second place finishes.
"I think I improved my time through all the races," said Wilde Lake's Osida Smith after crossing fourth in the 55 meter hurdles. "I didn't think I would run that fast."
The big winner of the day was Jamila Brown, who cranked out two first place performances in the girls 55 and 300-meter dashes, with times of, 7.21 and 40.84, respectively.
"I did pretty good. I feel like my start is a lot better, I've been struggling with that for the majority of the season and it's nice to finally figure that out, so I just have to work on finishing," she said after running the 55 meter race. "I'm surprised, but I PR'd in my 300, which is something huge for me because I've been trying to hit 40 since my sophomore year and I'm a senior. I finally hit it so I'm really excited about that."
Atholton's Asha Washington came second behind Brown in the 55 meter dash, breaking the Raiders school record, coming in at 7.32 seconds.
Christian Saulsbury is the other first-place finisher for the Wildecats, coming in at 6.44 seconds in the 55-meter dash.
"I feel good, I had a good start, just felt like I had to go all the way through the line and no one could beat me," he said. "(I'm going to perform) a lot better (at states), just staying in shape and staying loose."
Wilde Lake also placed second in the boy's 4x200 meter relay, crossing at 1 minute and 33.92 seconds. Glenelg (1:34.21), Reservoir (1:35.17) and Mt. Hebron (1:36.14) followed to round out the top five.
There was extra attention hovering over the team after news broke that former Wilde Lake runner and last year's Howard County Indoor Track and Field Runner of the Year David Eisenhauer was arrested this past week on murder charges.
"They've been competing under very difficult conditions," said Wildecats coach Whitty Bass. "All of them, I'm not disappointed in anybody. They haven't been able to train, they got out of nowhere this event that has happened to them with a (former) teammate, so I'm impressed with them. They're tough kids.
"I always expect first place, but I'm impressed to see them doing really well. Jamila Brown, she did great. That was her best time – she floats like a bee."
The Atholton girls 4x800 relay team of Fanny Yayi, Christina Rogers, Holly Ann Huff-Edsall and Celine Pisanic also touted a first place finish Tuesday, coming in at 10 minutes and 18.16 seconds.
"All the hard work we've been putting in, the crazy outdoor running in the snow, almost getting hit by cars – it's all worth it at the end when we come in first and I see my teammates behind me," Huff-Edsall said. "I have such a good team and I'm very thankful for them."
The Raiders were the favorites heading into the 4x8 relay, but after getting out ahead early, they lost the lead for a few laps to eventual second-place Northern-Cal, but in the end Atholton proved to be 1.16 seconds faster.
"It was crazy. I honestly at first – I know we were going to do well, kill it, but I didn't expect them to come out of nowhere so that took me by surprise, but I knew to kick it in as much as I can and my teammates got me," Yayi said.
"Everyone was freaking out, but we knew we did all the hard work all the preparation," Pisanic added. "But we knew we could do it, so we just need to believe in ourselves, believe in each other and win when it comes to results."
Raiders coach Ivan Alvarado was pleased with his girls despite pacing out a little slower than they normally would, but that is to be expected with only three days to prepare after a week-off due to the snowstorm.
"They did very well. They looked a little rusty, but it's OK they brought home a regional title," he said after the win. "I was expecting Northern-Cal to be there with us, but at a much faster pace, but again, with the snow – even the boys times were off… Now in that sense (of regaining the lead) I was glad they raced the way they did. It just shows that they're able to bounce back."
The Raiders 4x2 girls relay team of Washington, Samantha Hall, Kailee Bunyard and Krystal Wood also broke the school record, coming in at 1 minute and 49.89 seconds, good for a state qualifying third place finish.
River Hill's Sydney Robinson and Mt. Hebron's Alexandra Banham took home regional titles in their respective events.
"(I feel) a little tired, I didn't run for the past week. I'm happy I finished a good race out," Banham said after coming in with a first place time of 2.26.04 in the girls 800-meters. "Just hit the last 100, keep a strong mind and finish it up strong. Hopefully getting back into training, I can hopefully break my PR (at states), but we'll see."
As for Robinson, along with placing third and qualifying for states in girls 300-meter dash, the freshman set a school record in the 500, with a time of 1 minute and 18.62 seconds.
"Run fast, run hard," she said after crossing first in the 500. "I'm very happy, to be a freshman and run a 1.18 for the first time in a regional championship – I think it's just really good. I'm excited, just excited to beat the River Hill School record for the 5."
Hawks coach Paul Hugus was very pleased with Robinson's performance and how much she improved in her first year.
"I'm very happy in the way she's progressed throughout the season so far and for her to be able to run in these events in a very high level, is a great accomplishment," he said. "I think it speaks a lot to her mental preparation and her background with youth track and I think we were able to bring her along."
Robinson led a very strong Hawks team, who had good finishes by Trent Rose, who placed second in the boys 1,600 and 3,200 meter races and Sophie Caplan who won a regional title in girls pole vault. River Hill also recorded second and third place finishes in the girl's 4x400 and 4x800 relays, respectively.
The 4x400 girls relay team of Robinson, Tiffany Wang, Jasmine Tiamfook and Brigette Wang also broke a school record Tuesday, coming in at 4 minutes and 17.95 seconds.
"(Rose's performance) was a little bit of a controlled effort, we ran him in the 1,600 and he qualified on time. He was running roughly a 4.40 pace and that was his goal," Hugus said. "He knew that (Northern-Cal's Matt) Bennett was going to be a challenge to handle today, so really today was to check a box and get to states.
"Sophie Caplan qualified in the high jump and (pole vault), so she'll qualify in two events (also). Jasmine (Tiamfook) qualified in two events, our girl's 4x8 qualified and that was a little surprising because of their seedtime. We had a nice group of kids that qualified."
Atholton's James Wassel and Reservoir's Lola Alli were the only two other Howard County athletes that placed first in a field event, as Wassel cleared 11-feet in boys pole vault, while Alli threw a 32-09.50 in the girls shot put.
Gators coach Phil Rodgers was happy for Alli, whom he said was one of the few athletes on his team that put in the extra effort during the snow-break last week.
"I mean we're in the same boat than everyone else with the snow and a week without practice, but the kids that put in the time, they showed up today and it was great to see," Rodgers said. "I really commend those kids. Kai Muniz is a sophomore who ran well in the mile that ran great. Jake Carson, a junior that really pulled for us in the boy's 4x800, Calvin Sosu and a couple of the older guys in the sprints did a great job. Lola Alli, one of our throwers, she's been working out all break and she did a really great job. The kids that we saw consistently that was kind of getting back to us and letting us know they were working out, or (asking) what the work outs were or reporting – those were the ones that seemed to step up and do well today."
After a dissapointing sixth place finish in the girl's 4x800 meter relay earlier in the day, Reservoir bounced back and placed second in the girl's 4x2 relay, crossing in a time of 1 minute and 49.32 seconds.
"Our 4x8 girls, three of the four girls ran their PR's or ran at their PR, the other one has been sick for the last four days and she didn't want to let the team down," Rodgers said. "I can blame myself for that, because I had a girl in the mile that had a 10 second PR in the mile today, but she's my alternate for the 4x8 and I made a judgement call and right call or wrong call I don't know. It was a difference of only a few seconds. I think we could have been in that 4x8 to qualify for states and be in contention for the team title for that, but you win some or lose some.
"On the boys side we made some strategic calls to keep athletes as fresh as possible, because we know we have to run some of our best times to try and get in. And the nice thing about my boys 4x4 is that they are all pure guts guys, they will throw their heart on the track, so we'll see what happens."
The Gators ended up placing second in the both the boy's 4x8 and 4x4 relay. In the 4x4 they came in with a time of 3 minutes and 38.07 seconds, followed by Glenelg (3:38.72), Mt. Hebron (3:40.36) and Wilde Lake (3:40.67) to round out the top five in that event.
Other notables individual performances include, a second place finish by the Gladiators Jared Allen (300 meters), third place finishes by Glenelg's Miles Mowbray (500 meters), Long Reach's Chris Flowers (55 meter hurdles), the Vikings Justin Johnson (500 and 800 meters), Mathew Wingate (pole vault) and Julia Shanley (high jump), fourth place finishes by Centennial's Ashley Mazer (3,200 meters), the Lightning's Aaron Souza (high jump) and an eighth place finish by Hammond's Jordan Lomax in the high jump.
2A East roundup
Oakland Mills boasted two first place finishes Monday at the 2A East regional championships, while Marriotts Ridge saw one top finisher on the day at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.
The Mustangs Micah Meekins crossed a full second faster than the second place finisher to take the 2A region title in the 300 meter dash with a time of 40.24, while the Scorpions Brit Lang topped the girls 500-meter with a time of 1 minute and 20.41 seconds, nearly three seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Oakland Mills also won the boys 4x800 meter relay, clocking in with a time of 8 minutes and 42.54 seconds and nearly claimed a first place finish in the girls 4x2 relay, but paced .37 seconds slower for a second place time of 1 minute and 49.42 seconds.
Lang boasted two second place finishes in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters races, while on the boys side, Kelsey White placed second in the boys 500 meters with a time of 1 minute and 7.28 seconds, just a bit faster than teammate Jared Nguyen (1:10.77) who came in third.
The Scorpions also finished second in the boys 4x400 meter relay, and third in the girls 4x8 and boys 4x2 meter relays, while Cameron Vereen placed third in the 55-meter dash.
As for Marriotts Ridge, Ibrahim Jirdeh placed the highest individual time in any event on the boys side, coming in sixth with a time of 4 minutes and 45.24 seconds in the 1,600 meter race, while Meekins crossed fourth in the girls 500 with a time of 1 minute and 24.01 seconds.
4A East roundup
Overall Howard showed well in the 4A East regional championships Wednesday at the Baltimore Armory, but no event was as impressive as its 1-2-3 finish in the boys 3,200 meter race.
Nicholas Deamer claimed the 3,200 regional crown, crossing with a time of 10 minutes and 19.28 seconds, but he was closely followed by teammates Gavin Reynolds (10:34.36) and Brian Goulet (10:39.86), respectively.
The Lions had impressive finishes in both the girls 3,200 and 800-meter races, placing two in the top-four in each event. Courtney Mann (2:29.31) and Taylor Jaranyi (2:33.09) finished third and fourth, respectively in the 800, while Emily Magoon (12:26.69) and Emily Hawkins (12:30.88) crossed second and fourth, respectively in the 3,200.
In the boys 800 meter race, Howard crossed one after another, with Erik Jenks (2:06.16) placing sixth, Rupam Mondal (2:07.41) seventh and Joseph Lapointe (2:08.31) eighth.
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The Lions also placed fifth in the girls 4x200 relay, while Theo Braimoh was Howard's best field performer, taking second in the boys high jump.