|Sam's 3a/4a West Picks|
|By: Sam Epstein|
If the weather Gods are kind and don't dump too much snow Tuesday, we should see a fast showing at the PG Sportsplex for the 3A/4A West Regional Meet.
Starting off with the girls 4x800, expect a two-team showdown between Whitman and Churchill with Whitman junior Leslie Morrison anchoring the squad to victory. Rounding out the top four should be Quince Orchard and Walter Johnson, though with a good race, both Northwest and Magruder could make it to States.
In the boys 4x8, the race will be mainly on time, as the 8:26.7 automatic qualifier leaves up to 9 teams in the mix. Quince Orchard is the favorite in this race, as Chris Moen is not running on the 4x8 for Walter Johnson. However, after Quince Orchard, it gets muddled, with Richard Montgomery, Wootton, Sherwood, Churchill, Walter Johnson, Whitman, Gaithersburg and potentially BCC all in the mix. If Regionals is run at PG, expect 6 or so teams to qualify.
In the girls 300m dash, expect the Decruise sisters from RM to make top 4, joined by Najjiyya Franklin-Huff from Thomas Johnson and either Sonia Gill of Quince Orchard or Alyssa Jewell of Gaithersburg. However, the auto qualifying time has caused some controversy, and if it remains at 44.0, expect a slew of girls to qualify as 11 girls went under that mark at the Mongtomery County Championships.
For the boys 300m dash, both Brendan Etzel and Patrick Pinchinat from RM could win, with the race for the 3rd and 4th spots being a battle between Jamal-deen Olatunde of Sherwood, Shean Cain of Gaithersburg, and Louis Varella or Blair, with Quadell Spratley a notable absence from the heat sheets.
Leslie Morrison should win the girls 500m dash, followed by Grace Reinhalter of Einstein, and Ashlyn Sinclair of Blair. That fourth spot could be won by Katie Wolf of Churchill, Becky Thompson of Thomas Johnson, or Jenny McCoy of Walter Johnson. Expect a hard race for those final spots.
The boys 500m dash should be a tightly contested race as some of Moco's best will finally be placed in the same heat. County Champion Wil Zahorodny, Brian Sickles of RM, Evan Whetsell of Churchill, Antonio Palmer of Gaithersburg, Jon Ryan of RM, Nicholas South of Paint Branch and Alex Gary of Einstein should all be in the mix for those four spots, though with fast heats, 5 or 6 athletes could hit the 1:08.00 qualifying time. Cedric Dana is not planning on competing in the 500.
Leslie Morrison is again the favorite, this time in the 800m run, after recording splits of 2:14 multiple times this season in the 4x8 and with her 2:17.96 run at the County Championship. The race for the next three spots should be intense as many runners will be racing their third or fourth event of the day, with Whitman's Morgane Gay, Blair's Ashyln Sinclair, Wootton's Veronica Salcido, Northwest's Kathy Aherne, WJ's Stephanie Alberico, and Churchill's Maryam Fikri all capable of hitting the 2:26.3 qualifying time.
The boys 800m race should be equally as exciting, with Chris Moen from WJ, Chris Boyd and Cedric Dana from Wootton, Elias Tousley from BCC, Evan Whetsell from Churchill, Reagan Lynch and David Laratta from Quince Orchard, Antonio Palmer from Gaithersburg, Alex Gary from Einstein, and Jared Schneider from WJ all capable of hitting the 2:03.3 qualfiying time. Jordan Sawadogo from Springbrook, the runner-up at Counties, is a notable absence from the field.
In the girls 1600, County Champion Morgane Gay from Whitman is the favorite after posting a 5:04 mile at Virginia Tech. In close pursuit should be Halsey Sinclair from Blair and Louise Hannallah from Churchill. Fourth place should be a battle between Wootton's Veronica Salcido and Jessie Rubin, Churchill's Maryam Fikri, Magruder's Laura McCary and Courtney Whalen, RM's Sarah Britton, and Whitman's Debbie Isen as all finished at 5:25 or faster at the County Championships and could potentially hit the 5:22.7 qualifying time.
For the boys 1600, Mr. 4:16 Chris Moen from WJ should add another win to his resume, though he will have to fight it out with a fast pack that will include BCC's Elias Tousley, Sherwood's Chris Barnard and Tommy Mullings, and Wootton's Chris Boyd. RM's Ben Hoyt, BCC's Alex Prevost and Gaithersburg's Sam Boimov all could potentially make it in under the 4:36.0 qualifying time.
The girls 55m dash should be a three-way fight between the Decruise sisters of RM and Audrey Gairepy-Bogui of Churchill. However, Najjiyya Franklin-Huff and Cenarda Jackson of TJ, Alyssa Jewell and Simone Harris of Gaithersburg, and Suzanne Falk of Wootton should all be in the mix for the fourth spot.
The boys 55m dash should see RM's Patrick Pinchinat and Brendan Etzel qualifying, but the next two spots will be between Dan Atwood of Gaithersburg, Myco Paulo of Watkins Mill, Salifu Cham of Einstein, Kevin Rooths of Northwest, Jamal Olatunde of Sherwood, and Ken Chen of Churchill.
Audrey Gariepy-Bogui of Churchill should win the 55m hurdles, followed by Shaakira Raheem of Einstein and Tara Okusaga of Northwest. The race for fourth should be between Brooke Beal of TJ, Monica Gerald of Blake, Christine Walsh of WJ, and Jessie Weaver of RM.
Tyler Jackson of RM is the favorite in the 55m hurdles, with Jose Lopez of Magruder, Aaron Greene of Northwest, Tim Moore of TJ, Anthony Pace of RM, Jared Sanders of Damascus, and Sam Weeks of Damascus all contenders.
The girls 3200 should be an interesting race between many of the 1600 contenders, with Louise Hannallah from Churchill, Halsey Sinclair of Blair, and Morgane Gay of Whitman back in battle. The three should be joined by Cara Harrison of Quince Orchard, Debbie Isen of Whitman, Erin McManus of Churchill and Luyang Liu of RM.
The boys 3200 should be a tactical affair among Chris Bowie of BCC, Tommy Mullings and Chris Barnard of Sherwood, Will Palmer of Whitman, and the surprising Chris Boyd of Wootton, who ran a 9:53 all alone at Georgetown Prep a week ago. Neal Darmody might join the five and sneak under the 10:05.1 qualifying time.
Churchill and Richard Montgomery should duke it out in the girls 4x200, with Walter Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Einstein, Wootton, and Quince Orchard in the mix for the third and fourth spots.
Richard Montgomery should dominate the boys 4x200, followed by Magruder, Blair, Paint Branch, Watkins Mill, Damascus and Northwest, with all teams capable of hitting the 1:35 qualifier.
In the girls 4x400, expect Churchill and Einstein to qualify, followed by either Damascus, Northwest, Richard Montgomery, Walter Johnson or Thomas Johnson. With the 4:11.8 qualifier, 5 or 6 teams may advance.
For the boys 4x400, Richard Montgomery should continue its sprint relay dominance, with the next three spots going to either Blair, Magruder, Paint Branch, Damascus or Churchill.
The girls shot put should come down to Emily Vannoy of Thomas Johnson, Arleigh Rose of Sherwood, Octavia Knight and Corinne Talley of Blake, and Brianna Fulton of RM.
On the guys side, Sean Stanley of Gaithersburg comes in as the favorite, with Alex Payton and Stephan Lazerou of RM, Charlie Grimsley of WJ, Chase Williams of Northwest, and Uchenna Ahagotu of Springbrook fighting for the next three spots.
Audrey Gariepy-Bogui of Churchill should win the high jump, and will be followed by Chelsea Rienks of Damascus, Maxann Teller of TJ, Alejandra Martinez of Churchill, Monica Gerald of Blake, or Jennifer Roche of WJ.
Jamal Currica of Damasucs is, excuse the pun, leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in the high jump. Fighting for the next three spots will be Kalgeri Robinson of Magruder, Dayon Arrington of Paint Branch, Willie Blaszkiewsc of TJ, and Aaron Greene of Northwest
In the girls pole vault, all the three girls need to do to qualify is make the 7'0 opening height. The three girls are Megan Cahill and Kelsey Igo of TJ, and Elena Pavlova of Quince Orchard.
The boys pole vault should be a little more interesting with Tom Hoyt of RM facing off against three duos: Greg Conte and Artem Panasenkov of QO, Charles Lord and Eric Artusio of TJ, and Kevin Mok and Ben Lee of Springbrook.
Overall, the 3A/4A West Regionals should be fast and close, with many of Montgomery County's best going up against the athletes of Thomas Johnson. In the team competition, Churchill should fend off Richard Montgomery and Whitman to win the team title while Richard Montgomery should win the boys title over Gaithersburg and Northwest who will be hit the hardest from the absence of the long jump and triple jump.