Churchill spread its athletes all over the place on Monday afternoon and the result was 93 points across thirteen events to win the indoor county title.
In several instances, the Churchill boys found themselves outside of their comfort zones. For example, Robert Bowis ran the 55-meter dash for the first time and scored points. Coach Scott Silverstein gave Alex Kim the option whether he wanted to run the 500 or focus on the 800. Kim ran and scored in both events.
Zach Weinstein made a rare appearance in the 4x800 relay, risking fatigue later in the meet in the open 3200. Weinstein helped the 4x8 relay score and went on to win the 3200.
It seemed like one of those days where everything just seemed to go their way.
Weinstein said that they had been working on short-rest repeats to help with recovery. In doing so he felt he was more prepared to successfully run multiple races within a matter of hours. Although he said he was tired with 500m to go, he made a move into first place and battled Quince Orchard's Conor Spaulding for two laps and took the victory in 9:45.08. He didn't think too much of the double. He felt that he and everyone else was just doing what it took to score as many points as possible.
Bowis echoed that sentiment. He was fine competing in four events and ultimately scored 17 solo points in addition to a relay victory, but also wanted to prove his speed individually. Up until fairly recently, he said he was not sure if he wanted to run in college. When he began contacting coaches, he found that they were not getting back to him and one coach told him he probably was not fast enough to walk on (based on last year's times). With a new 300m PR of 35.85 and a county title, he may now have more of a case to make to potential college coaches.
The boys 55-meter dash was wide open this year with no star seniors in the field. It was fitting that Churchill junior Micah Phillips-Spencer took the win in 6.60 with Bowis not far behind in fifth (6.80). Bowis and Phillips-Spencer teamed up with Remington Smith and Zack Raker to easily win the 4x200 relay in 1:31.89, which was the third fastest time by a Montgomery County School on a flat indoor track in the last five years and the fastest on any indoor track since 2008. The county meet record stands at 1:31.5h.
Tyler Albers surprised coaches in placing fourth in the high jump with a leap of 5-10. Churchill also received valuable points from John Rhee in the hurdles, Will Conway in the 800 and 1600, and Nadim Elhage in the shot put.
Churchill did not win the county title completely unchallenged. Quince Orchard was the other team hopeful and ultimately racked up 73 points for second place. Coach Pelkey said that they made mistakes, but he wasn't sure if it was 20 points worth of mistakes and praised Churchill for a great day. One such mistake may have been Darius Lewis's false start in the 55-meter finals which could have directly affected Churchill's score. Still there were plenty of commendable seconds, thirds, and fourths to go around for Quince Orchard, especially for Eric Bishop whose 14 points in the hurdles and field were among the most individual points scored by a boy in the meet.
Northwest's Sheldon Trotman was the biggest male individual point scorer of the meet with 21 points. He won county titles in the long jump (personal best 21-02.50) and triple jump (44-01.50). The additional point came from an eighth place finish in the 55-meter hurdles. Trotman, by his own admission, misses a lot of practice due to a job working at NIST but stays in shape by working a lot of drills on his own. With no long jump and triple jump at the state meet, he is thinking about trying the high jump at the regional meet.
Richard Montgomery's Sam Martin accomplished what he set out to do in winning the open 800 and 1600, but it was far from easy. He led for most of the 1600 before making a move to create separation on the final lap. WJ's Nick Regan matched his move and pushed to the finish line. Martin held on for the win in a thrilling finish, 4:29.16 to 4:29.23.
Martin again led in the open 800, but a tight back stuck close after a 60 second first quarter. A large pack was still tight when Martin came through the 600m mark in 1:32. He had a slight lead before Quince Orchard's Drew Lehner pushed up to the front off the final turn and pushed all the way to the finish line. Martin won in 2:02.18 to 2:02.55.
With David Hamilton out of town, Richard Montgomery knew they would not be in contention for the team title and let Martin focus on his individual events. Coach Davy Rogers explained last year they did a lot of team running and wanted to give Sam an opportunity to run some good individual times. Martin, Hamilton, and the whole RM crew are looking to drop more fast times this weekend at Virginia Tech.
Nnamdi Edokobi of Richard Montgomery was originally a basketball player that was persuaded to come out for the outdoor track team and throw discus in the spring. It didn't take long before his original coach, Matt Quinn, had him throwing shot. Now with a full year of shot put experience, his new coach, Matt Miller who won three shot put state titles with RM not long ago, has Edokobi doing more running and explosive strength workouts. Edokobi likes that Miller was a champion for RM and is still young. Miller says it is not so much the change in workouts, but the change in mentality that has resulted in more consistency this season. Miller has him believing that all the work is done in practice before the meets. Edokobi said he was confident he would be the county champion and walked away feeling good about the winning throw of 48-02.50, but it is just a step to bigger things later in the season.
Of all the Montgomery County sprinters who have been under 51 seconds in the open 400m, Kemol Anderson from Kennedy is the only one who ran cross country this fall. With a stronger base, we have seen him running the 4x800 relay and open 500's this season for the first time. A hard-from-the-gun front-running strategy resulted in a 1:08.21 500 and his first county title.
Damiete Roberts from Watkins Mill went from second in his preliminary heat to a new personal best time of 7.98 to win the 55-meter hurdle county title. He is the first public school runner under eight seconds this season.
Zach Fetters from Gaithersburg won the high jump county title, but with a mark of only 6-02, his quest to clear 6-06 remains for another day. His three scratches in the shot put cut his day especially short.
The 4x800 relay began with some bold runs from the 3A schools Blake, Watkins Mill, and Kennedy, but Walter Johnson's Josh Ellis pulled into the lead for the first handoff in 2:03. Sherwood's Kyle Tockman and Quince Orchard's Evan Laratta handed off just a moment later. WJ's Nick Fowler continued to lead the race for his leg and handed off in 4:11 for a split of about 2:08. Again Sherwood and Quince Orchard were right behind. WJ's Nick Regan separated from all but Quince Orchard with a 2:03 split. Quince Orchard's Drew Lehner hunted down WJ's Alex Willett on the first of four laps on the anchor leg. With Lehner sitting on him for three laps, Willett looked doomed, but Willett was able to shake loose on the final lap to win the race in 8:13.86.
The biggest upset of the meet came in the 4x400 relay. In the pre-meet poll on mocorunning.com, B-CC was not even considered an option to win the event and nobody voted for "other." When asked how they came out of nowhere to win it, they responded that they had been working on it. Having not shown a strong 4x4 team yet this season, Fredy Nzekele, Trevor Stephens, Nana Twum Agyire, and Terrence James pulled a fast one on Montgomery County. The race was won in 3:35.81.