B-CC's Ava Farrell definitely had states on her mind…indoor states, that is. In her first race of the spring season, Farrell lined up against Churchill's Lucy Srour completely fresh in the open 1600. Memories from the recent indoor state championship were at the forefront of her thoughts. She had come so close to winning her first individual state title only to lose it due to a late burst of speed by Srour. The state finish was so close that you could watch the race over and over and never be sure who won. Srour was judged to be the winner based on the photo finish after a ten minute deliberation.
With a smaller field of competitors in Wednesday's opening day tri-meet with B-CC, Churchill, and Gaithersburg, Farrell took control of the 1600m race from the start and set her own pace. Srour lurked closely behind Farrell for the first 800m in 2:42, but Farrell was able to open up some space on the third lap and eventually break free to take the win on the fourth lap for an overall time of 5:21. Srour was second in 5:26.
Later, in the 3200m race, Srour led Farrell through the half way mark in 6:03, but B-CC freshman Caroline Beakes easily hung with the leaders. Farrell began to show fatigue and faded on the following lap, but Beakes latched onto Srour and did not let go. With just 200-meters to go, Beakes turned on the burners and left Srour behind to finish in 11:46. Her final lap was in 1:16. Srour was second in 11:53.
Gaithersburg's Alexia Mitchell says that she is working harder this year and her coach, Adrian McDaniel, agrees. Unlike some sprinters McDaniel has coached in the past, Mitchell has no problem running 400's and 500's when asked. He made her the team captain as a sophomore and has seen a big difference as she leads the team by example and puts in the work.
McDaniel, who coached the Gaithersburg girls basketball team to its second straight state title this winter, says that the team is especially relying on Mitchell because two of his top girls did not come out for the team this spring. This made Mitchell's performance all the more special in the 4x200 relay.
Faced with a large deficit on the anchor leg, Mitchell maxed out her speed and won the race by a tenth of a second in 1:52.5. She later explained that she used all she had because she knew her teammates were counting on her.
In the 200-meter dash, Mitchell found herself lined up with B-CC's Brittany Wade, the indoor 800-meter state champion, who had already won the open 400m in 58.3. Mitchell found the extra lift to get past Wade at the line in about 26 seconds.
The Gaithersburg boys got a chance to measure themselves up against Churchill and proved that (unlike indoors were several key athletes sat out the season) they will be a force to be dealt with as a team this season. Although Churchill is supposed to do well in the throwing events, which will be contested on Thursday, Gaithersburg built up an insurmountable lead over B-CC and Churchill with its jumps, hurdles, and sprints.
Leading the way for Gaithersburg, Kaifa Boyce swept the hurdle races in 15.6 and 41.9 (despite a bad stutter on the final hurdle). Boyce also won the long jump in 21-08, which is a new PR, but the indoor long jump county champ only expressed his desire to break 22 feet soon.
Gaithersburg also got major contributions from sophomore Solomon Vault in the 100 and 200 and DeCourcey Gascoigne in the 400.
It's worth noting that Churchill's top sprinter, Micah Phillips-Spencer, could only run in the open 400m due to a lingering hamstring injury.
Churchill's Will Conway attempted a rare (for him) 1600/3200 double and therefore conserved his energy. The challengers did not appear interested in pressing the two-time 1600m state champ, as Conway led the field with modest, consistent lap splits of 1:09, 2:18, and 3:28. He had a four second gap on the next competitor entering the final lap, but the tight battle for second place between Churchill's David Fitzgerald and B-CC's Peter Horton actually caused Conway's lead to diminish. Horton ended up within striking distance of Conway but took second place 4:36 to 4:35. Fitzgerald took third in 4:39.
Interestingly, Horton and Fitzgerald also ran stride for stride during the 4x800 relay, each splitting approximately 2:03 just a short time before the open 1600m.
Churchill's Zach Weinstein led for nearly the entire 3200-meter race. Weinstein began to pull away from Conway on the final lap, but he did not get far enough away. With 100 meters to go, Conway was able to outrun his teammate and take the win 9:52 to 9:54.
The meet will conclude with throwing events at Churchill's venue on Thursday, but the Gaithersburg boys and B-CC girls have already secured victories.