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Mount de Sales’ Whittaker sisters put on show at MIAA/IAAM indoor track championships

For Mount de Sales’ Isabella and Juliette Whittaker, the cross country season ended in dramatically different fashion. For Isabella, it was simply her fourth and final season and one in which she built her conditioning to prepare for the track seasons. Juliette, on the other hand, earned All-America honors after finishing 13th at the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego.

Regardless of how the fall ended, the pair showed they were in top form Friday at the MIAA/IAAM championships, winning a combined six individual events, including a record-setting performance.

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Juliette started her day by helping the 3,200-meter relay team to victory, before cruising to comfortable wins in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs. Having run the fastest 1-mile time in the country thus far this winter when she ran a personal best 4:44.75 to win the Hispanic Games in New York, Whittaker used Friday’s race to prep for the bigger national events she intends to compete in later this season, including the Millrose Games and New Balance Indoor Nationals.

Her whole season has really been boosted by her performance in November in cross country at the Foot Locker Nationals.

“She ran a very smart race there,” Mount de Sales coach Steve Weber said. “She has just been on fire. The conditioning there and now added with the speed is just producing tremendous races. Tonight is really for her to score points because that’s the way this meet runs. She will have clear training up until Feb. 1 for MD/DC private school championships, where she will run an 800 to help tune up for Millrose.”

For Isabella, cross country reaffirmed it wasn’t her favorite sport but the conditioning has served her well as she has won every event she has competed in this year, including winning the 200 and 400 meters at the Hispanic Games in New York.

THESE ARE NOT VERIFIED SPELLINGS. Coco Vanderveer of McDonogh hands off to Hannah Shields in the 4x800M relay during the 2020 IAAM/MIAA indoor track championships at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex Fri., Jan. 17, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
THESE ARE NOT VERIFIED SPELLINGS. Coco Vanderveer of McDonogh hands off to Hannah Shields in the 4x800M relay during the 2020 IAAM/MIAA indoor track championships at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex Fri., Jan. 17, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

At Friday’s championships, she won the 55 dash in 7.20 seconds and the 300 dash in 42.10 but saved her best work for the 500 dash, winning in 1:12.67 and smashing the previous conference record of 1:15.28 set by Sydney Hayes of McDonogh in 2013. No one else in the country has run the 500 meters in under 1:13 this season.

“For Bella, she had been a little bit stuck,” Weber said. “So that 1:12.67, that was tremendous. She didn’t have to do that. She’s really done well, she ran cross country, which she didn’t like. She has really found her way now.”

The pair helped Mount de Sales to a second-placeteam finish in the conference. The dominance of the Whittaker sisters was no match for the depth of Maryvale, which won with a score of 159.5-116 despite having only one winner, Tara Coyne (high jump).

“This is the most depth I’ve ever had on a team,” Maryvale coach Jason Miller said. “We won the high jump and then everything else was second, thirds and we scored three in almost every single event. They brought their A game today.”

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After winning three straight years prior to losing to McDonogh last year, the Lions were eager to start a new streak this year.

“Last year I knew we were kind of rebuilding a little bit but I knew that we would have opportunities in these next couple of years,” Miller said. “The girls are young, they are hungry and they are going to keep working for it.”

McDonogh’s Nyla Cherry won both the 55 hurdles and the long jump while helping the 800 meter relay team to victory as well.

Other winners included Emily Baranoski of John Carroll (pole vault), Orianna Moore of Pallotti (shot put) and Maelynn Ugokwe of Bryn Mawr (triple jump).

Last year Calvert Hall won its first MIAA Conference championship in indoor track.

Thanks to strong performances by Owen Johnson, Sean Tucker and Ty Trinh among others, the Cardinals were able to retain their title with ease, defeating second place Gilman, 163.83-109.5.

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Tucker was the first to start accruing big points, defending his 55 dash title from last season in 6.46 seconds before running a strong second leg in the 800 relay to help the Cardinals take a full 10 points in that event as well.

Tara Coyne clears the 5'2" high jump to win for Maryvale Prep during the 2020 IAAM/MIAA indoor track championships at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex Fri., Jan. 17, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Tara Coyne clears the 5'2" high jump to win for Maryvale Prep during the 2020 IAAM/MIAA indoor track championships at Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex Fri., Jan. 17, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)(Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

“The competition was good, we had some really tough opponents,” Tucker said. “We have been practicing handoffs and practicing with my teammates to get faster and faster and then come out in these championships looking to do what we have been practicing. The most important thing for me today is for the team to win and make sure we defend our championship.”

Owen Johnson, who guided the Cardinal cross country team title by winning the individual championship, echoed that sentiment with both his words and his actions, winning the 1,600 meters and edging teammate Andrew Myers to win the 3,200 as well.

“That’d be great, that’s the goal right now but we won’t be satisfied there, because that’s just one piece to the puzzle,” Johnson said. “We talked about winning in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. We know we have the firepower to do it so I have one more race today and if we finish it off, it’s on to the next one.”

Trinh’s victory in the triple jump was the final piece of the indoor puzzle for Calvert Hall but there were other noteworthy performances on the boys side as a conference record fell and another was matched.

Spencer Pett of McDonogh won the 800 in 1:56.24, besting the previous record of 1:58.05 set by Matt Boulden of Archbishop Curley in 2015. Owen Pett of McDonogh also won the 500 meters for the Eagles.

Ian Hoffman of Archbishop Curley and Brandon Shin of Archbishop Spalding each cleared 13 feet, 6 inches on the pole vault, tying the record set in 2006 by Dominic Devaud of Archbishop Curley. Hoffman won the event by clearing it in less jumps while teammate Samuel Burke won the shot put. The Cavaliers won the 3,200 relay.

Other winners on the night included Donnie Young (long jump) and JB Brooks (55 hurdles) of Gilman, Kai Herbert of Mount St. Joseph in the high jump and Carl Hicks of St. Vincent Pallotti in the 300.

Notre Dame Prep was the IAAM B Conference champion with 140 points, nine points ahead of second place Catholic.

TEAM SCORES

Boys: 1, Calvert Hall, 163.83; 2, Gilman, 109.5; 3, Mount St. Joseph, 69.83; 4, McDonogh, 55.5; 5, Archbishop Spalding, 55.

Girls: 1, Maryvale Prep, 159.5; 2, Mount de Sales, 116; 3, McDonogh, 106.5; 4, Roland Park, 78; 5, Bryn Mawr, 48.

A Conference winners

Boys: 55 dash: Tucker (CH), 6.46; 55 hurdles: Brooks (GIL), 7.68; 3,200 relay: Archbishop Spalding, 8:07.60; Shot: Burke (AC), 50-06.75; 800 relay: Calvert Hall, 1:33.30; 1,600: Johnson (CH), 4:22.89; Long Jump: Young (GIL), 21-04.75; 500: O. Pett (MCD), 1:09.07; 300: Hicks (SVP), 35.45; 800: S. Pett (MCD), 1:56.24 (Conference Record); High Jump: Herbert (MSJ), 6-00; Pole Vault: Hoffman (AC), 13-06; 3,200: Johnson (CH), 9:35.11; Triple Jump: Trinh (CH), 45-05.50

Girls: 55 dash: I. Whittaker (MDS), 7.20; 55 hurdles: Cherry (MCD), 8.95; 3,200 relay: Mount de Sales, 10:14.85; Pole Vault: Baranoski (JC), 9-00; 800 relay: McDonogh, 1:47.92; 1,600: J. Whittaker (MDS), 5:29.53; Long: Cherry (MCD), 16-04; 500: I. Whittaker (MDS), 1:12.67 (conference record): 800: J. Whittaker (MDS), 2:25.01; 300: I. Whittaker (MDS), 42.10; Shot Put: Moore (SVP), 37-02.50; Triple Jump: Ugokwe (BM), 34-10.50; 3,200: J. Whittaker (MDS), 11:51.28

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