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County Championship Preview
By: Kevin Milsted

Between January 16 and January 21, conducted an open online poll. 54 valid votes were used. Below you will find the results. The county champion favorites are listed with the percentage of people that voted for them.

Event Name, School % Name, School %
55m Dash William Yougnia, Watkins Mill 30.4 Bethany White, Magruder
Camry Torian, Northwest
55m Hurdles Darius Lewis, Seneca Valley 60.9 Gwen Shaw, Wootton 37.5
300m Micah Phillips-Spencer, Churchill 43.5 Camry Torian, Northwest
DeeDee Akpaete, Springbrook
500m David Hamilton, R. Montgomery 66.7 DeeDee Akpaete, Springbrook 48.8
800m Will Conway, Churchill 46.7 Brittney Wade, B-CC 45.2
1600m Will Conway, Churchill 44.2 Lucy Srour, Churchill 39.5
3200m Josh Ellis, Walter Johnson 31.1 Caroline Guiot, Whitman 47.6
4x200 Watkins Mill 56.5 Northwest 88.4
4x400 Richard Montgomery 52.2 Northwest 97.7
4x800 Walter Johnson 60.9 Northwest 78.6
High Jump Derrell Howard, Clarksburg 34.8 Bailee Freeman, Clarksburg 53.7
Long Jump Paul Joseph, Clarksburg 45.7 Casey Dowling, Wootton 61.0
Triple Jump Tyler Nelson, Paint Branch 47.8 Sierra Isaac, Quince Orchard 36.6
Shot Put Nadim Elhage, Churchill 68.9 Virginia Owusu-Mainoo, SV 56.1
Top Scorer Darius Lewis, Seneca Valley 22.5 India Knight, Northwest 23.8

Tie Breaker Questions
Winning 4x4 Time 3:32.85 4:07.15
Winning Team Scores 73 75

Rk Boys School Poll Points Rk Girls School Poll Points
1 Clarksburg 294 1 Northwest 361
2 Churchill 287 2 Wootton 247
3 Quince Orchard 242 3 Clarksburg 235
4 Watkins Mill 222 4 B-CC 204
5 W. Johnson 180 5 Quince Orchard 145
6 Paint Branch 145 6 Magruder 134
7 R. Montgomery 134 7 Churchill 124
8 Magruder 103 8 Whitman 115
9 Seneca Valley 87 9 W. Johnson 100
10 Northwest 56 10 Damascus 96

Boys Analysis

The Churchill boys team has some giants, but as the season unfolded, it became apparent that it will be an uphill battle for Churchill to defend its county title. Clarksburg has revealed its ability to cover all of the events with a strong all-around team. This was demonstrated when Clarksburg won MCPS Meet #1 and #2; however, Clarksburg had a few nagging problems at the Montgomery Invitational that if not resolved before the county meet will allow other teams to stay in the fight.

Clarksburg's strength starts with Paul Joseph who had a monster long jump of 21-05.50 at the Montgomery Invitational and will likely be in contention to win the triple jump and help the relays. Seneca's Darius Lewis can ironically still help his old team Quince Orchard if he can get the best of Joseph in the long jump.

Derrell Howard will do Clarksburg a favor if he wins the high jump as fans have predicted him to do. He has jumped 6 feet, but jumped only 5-08 at the Montgomery Invitational.

Churchill can neutralize Clarksburg in the sprints if Micah-Phillips Spencer comes away with more points than Barry Solomon. Solomon, who did not run in the 300 at the Montgomery Invitational because of a hamstring issue, is critical to Clarksburg's success. Of course Watkins Mill's William Yougnia will be in contention to win the 55m and the 300m.

Expect Churchill to go for major point grabs in the distance events between Will Conawy, Zach Weinstein, and freshman David Fitzgerald. Quince Orchard will spread itself thin to score big points in the distance events. Expect heavy work loads from Evan Laratta, Evan Burnham, and Alborz Fakhari. Of course Clarksburg has a distance weapon in Will Bertrand, but Bertrand had asthma issues at the Montgomery Invitational and could not perform his best. Josh Ellis of Walter Johnson never seriously ran the 3200 before this season but has consistently run in the 9:30's this year and is favored to win at least one county title, potentially his first county title since sophomore year.

Could the team title come down to the shot put? It will certainly play a role in the final standings. Churchill's Nadim Elhage is the favorite with multiple throws over fifty feet this season, but QO's Brandon McDowell has been knocking on the door and Clarksburg has a contender in Jeff Morrison.

The relays are a wildcard this year. Because of the new MPSSAA rule which requires athletes to have verifiable performances to enter the region meet, relays have not been a priority for most teams. Therefore, we probably have not seen the best relays that most teams have to offer. Expect this meet to produce the fastest relay times of the year.

Girls Analysis

You can see from the poll that the Northwest girls are still favored to win the county title with Wootton on its heels. There is a good reason for this: Northwest and Wootton are very good teams. I want to offer a scenario that nobody seems to have thought of: a Clarksburg sweep.

Northwest deserves to be considered the favorites; it is the defending champion and has unmatched depth in the sprints and relays. Clarksburg, on the other hand, can hit hard with Bailee Freeman in the hurdles and jumps and Claudia Ababio in the shot put. Clarksburg also has an edge over Northwest in the distance events if Abbey Daley runs several races and has a good day. It is not unthinkable to imagine the Clarksburg boys and girls walking away from the county championship with two team titles.

Camry Torian of Northwest has been an all-star this year in her first season of indoor track: her fast starts are well-suited for the 55-meter dash. Interestingly, Mocorunning's poll ended with Torian tieing in both the 55-meter dash and 300-meter dash. An equal number of fans like Magruder's Bethany White to win the 55m and Springbrook's Udeme Akpaete to win the 300m. Of course you can expect Kennedy and India Knight to be big point scorers in those events as well.

Will we see India Knight run the 800m? We have not seen it often this year (and a performance list still has not been released). Knight is likely the only runner who can challenge B-CC's Brittney Wade in the 800m.

Who will take over as queen of the track in the absence of Olivia Ekpone? Torian? White? Knight? Akpaete? Wade? We have some exciting races in store for 55m through 800m.

The 1600 and 3200 should be more of Srour vs. Guiot, an exciting little rivalry that has been ongoing since cross country season.

The most intriguing race of the day is the 55-meter hurdles. Wootton's Gwen Shaw has gotten the better of WJ's Laura Dally a few times this season, but Dally is currently on top after a career-best performance (8.53) at the Montgomery Invitational. Of course Wootton's Sylvia Deppen will be right there to challenge for the title.

Wootton's Casey Dowling has been unbeatable in the long jump this year with a season best mark of 17-07. She along with Elaine Chen will help Wootton keep pace in the team standings by limiting the points of Freeman of Clarksburg and Quince Orchard's Sierra Isaac.

It's hard to believe that Seneca Valley's Virginia Owusu-Mainoo does not have a county title in the shot put, but that is the case as she enters her final indoor county meet. She has always had strong opponents and there is no guarantee that she comes away with the title this year as sophomore Ababio of Clarksburg has thrown 36-04, a few inches shy of Owusu-Mainoo's season best.


2012-01-22 00:32:05

Northwest all the way

2012-01-22 23:20:03

good write up. like always should be a fantastic meet. thanks kp for the hard work

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