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County Championship Preview
By: Kevin Milsted

Between May 1 and May 6, conducted an online poll to find out the county championship fan favorites. Participants were instructed to select their favorites in each event and rank the top teams for the outdoor county championship meet. 76 valid submissions were received, but voters were not required to vote for every category.

Below you will find the results. The county champion favorites are listed with the percentage of votes they received.

Event Name, School % Name, School %
100m Jalen Walker, Northwest 26.3 Bethany White, Magruder 46.8
200m Jalen Walker, Northwest 33.3 Bethany White, Magruder 46.8
400m Malik Keels, Paint Branch 33.9 India Knight, Northwest 45.9
800m Joshua Trzeciak, Wootton 59.6 Brittney Wade, B-CC 65.6
1600m Will Conway, Churchill 47.4 Lucy Srour, Churchill 39.3
3200m Will Bertrand, Clarksburg 36.8 Caroline Guiot, Whitman 58.3
110/100m Hurdles Elad Covaliu, W. Johnson 42.1 Gwen Shaw, Wootton 64.5
300m Hurdles Elad Covaliu, W. Johnson 58.9 Gwen Shaw, Wootton 71.0
4x100 Paint Branch 45.6 Northwest 83.9
4x200 Watkins Mill 45.6 Northwest 87.1
4x400 Northwest 50.9 Wootton 50.0
4x800 Walter Johnson 56.4 Northwest 40.0
High Jump Mamadou Doukoure, Gaithersburg 35.7 Hayley Henshaw, Northwest 35.5
Long Jump Kaifa Boyce, Gaithersburg 60.7 Casey Dowling, Wootton 45.9
Triple Jump Kaifa Boyce, Gaithersburg 58.2 Sierra Isaac, Q. Orchard 29.5
Shot Put Nadim Elhage, Churchill 71.4 Virginia Owusu-Mainoo, SV 41.9
Discus Nadim Elhage, Churchill 42.9 Virginia Owusu-Mainoo, SV 54.8
Top Scorer Kaifa Boyce, Gaithersburg 30.8 Gwen Shaw, Wootton 51.7

Avg Answer Avg Answer
Tie Breakers Winning Boys 4x400 Time 3:25.21 Winning Girls 4x400 Time 3:57.42
Tie Breaker How many individual records will be tied or broken? 3.2

Rk Boys School Poll Points Rk Girls School Poll Points
1 Clarksburg 350 1 Northwest 420
2 Quince Orchard 328 2 Wootton 351
3 Churchill 275 3 B-CC 298
4 Gaithersburg 243 4 Clarksburg 238
5 Walter Johnson 225 5 Richard Montgomery 218
6 Wootton 180 6 Quince Orchard 163
7 Watkins Mill 159 7 Whitman 158
8 Northwest 139 8 Churchill 154
9 Paint Branch 124 9 Walter Johnson 128
10 Richard Montgomery 119 10 Magruder 96

Avg Answer Avg Answer
Tie Breakers Winning Boys Team Score 83.4 Winning Girls Team Score 89.5

MoCoRunning Boys Analysis

Hopefully it won't be any pressure on the youngster, but the majority of MoCoRunning fans voted for Northwest freshman Jalen Walker to win the 100m and 200m. This vote of confidence from the fans comes after his eye-popping, county-leading performances of 11.04 and 22.04 at the Darius Ray Invitational. Given his times so far this season, there is a reasonable chance that he could win one or both races; however, the defending county champs Micah Phillips-Spencer of Churchill (100m) and William Yougnia of Watkins Mill (200m) will be set on defending their titles. Phillips-Spencer was limited to races 200-meters and longer due to injury until this past weekend where he ran his first full-speed 100m of the year, matching Walker's 11.04. Yougnia has yet to record an open 200m with automatic timing this season but Yougnia has been contributing to the fast relay times coming from WM.

Entering the county championship, 500m county champ Malik Keels of Paint Branch leads all MCPS athletes in the 400m with automatic timing (50.11) although RM's David Hamilton defeated Keels in a dual meet in April with a time of 49.7h. Paul Joseph of Clarksburg and Chris Gardner of Kennedy both defeated Hamilton in a tight race at the Coyote Invitational, so the 400 should be one of the most exciting and unpredicatable races.

We don't know at this stage which events Clarksburg's Paul Joseph will compete in, but we do know that he could win just about any event he enters. He is currently second in MCPS using automatic timing in the 200, 400, and 300-meter hurdles. He is also capable of winning the long and triple jump or a couple relays. Of course all of this factors into the team battle, which we will get back to later.

Joseph's time of 39.57 in the 300-meter hurdles is particularly scary given how new he is to the event. WJ's Elad Covaliu (15.00/38.9) was voted by fans as the favorite in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles and RM's Nick Hu has been just a fraction of a second behind Covaliu all season. With Joseph jumping into the mix, the 300-meter hurdles is going to be a tight battle. The long-standing meet record of 39.0 is once again at risk of going down, but we say that almost every year.

Fan votes were nearly split between Will Conway and Joshua Trzeciak in the 800m and 1600m, with Trzeciak coming out the favorite in the 800 and Conway the favorite in the 1600. Trzeciak took two out of three epic 1600-meter battles from Conway this season, but Conway won the fastest of the three races and holds the county lead at 4:16.1. In all of those cases, Trzeciak was able to bounce back and have an excellent second race including a county-leading 01:57.18 800m at the Viking Invitational.

Our cross country county champ Evan Laratta from Quince Orchard recently took over the county lead in the 3200 with a 09:40.75 at the Nike Spring Invitational, but about a month ago it was Will Bertrand of Clarksburg who looked the best when he stepped off a plane from Europe after spring break and knocked out a 4:27/9:42 double over Laratta in a tri-meet.

Paint Branch leads MCPS in the 4x100 this year with a 44.09, but Einstein just jumped onto the scene with their first complete effort of the year at the Katie Jenkins Invitational with a 44.48 and Gaithersburg is right there with a 44.58. While they only clocked a 44.7h early in the year, the Northwest boys may be a threat to win every relay, too.

The Francis Scott Key Relay results show Clarksburg winning the 4x200 in 01:29.47, but I am told that the time should properly be attributed to Watkins Mill who won that race and also won the Blue Ridge Relays 4x200 in 1:29.9. Like with all the relays, Northwest will be challenging to win the 4x200 with a season best 01:30.3.

While I've said that Northwest is in the hunt to win each relay, they were appropriately voted by fans as the outright favorites to win the 4x400. Their season best time of 03:23.3 came early in the year at the Cougar Relays. It will be interesting to see how they and Richard Montgomery (03:26.82) have improved since March.

We have been spoiled for the last several years with numerous sub-8:00 performances in the 4x800. No team has gone sub-8:00 this year, but several teams are close enough to each other that the meet should start off with an exciting 4x800, even if it is not of the sub-8:00 variety. WJ owns the top MCPS time at 8:06.67.

On to the field events...we have five guys tied with the county lead in the high jump at 6-00. Derrell Howard of Clarksburg and Mamadou Doukoure of Gaithersburg have been the most consistent over the last two years, but the high jump appears to be very much up-for-grabs (no pun intended).

Kaifa Boyce of Gaithersburg has been Mr. Consistent this year and currently owns the county lead in the long jump (21-10.75) and triple jump (45-00.25). It is reasonable that fans voted him as athlete most likely to accumulate the most individual points. He did so at the indoor county championship afterall. Boyce will face a number of challengers in the horizontal jumps including (but not limited to) QO's Elliott Davis and Clarksburg's Paul Joseph.

Churchill's Nadim Elhage has not been the dominant force he was indoors when he plowed through his competition to win county, region, and state titles in the shot put; however, he still holds the county lead in the shot put with a mark of 49-07.00. His absence from the shot put at the Katie Jenkins Invitational was ominous. Nobody in MoCo has cleared 50 feet this season, but several including Brandon McDowell of QO (48-08) are right there with Elhage in the upper-40's range.

Elhage started off the year about where he left off in the discus (147-07), but others have made improvements to the point that Elhage may not be the best bet to win the county title. Patrick Schlosser of Watkins Mill now has two marks over 150 feet, Samuel Adedeji has consistently been in the 140's, and even Churchill sophomore David Kaplan is now throwing with the best in the state (145-10).

We just learned that Churchill's Kyle Beatty is the new county champion in the pole vault (10-06). B-CC was the only other team to have a boy clear opening height which brings us to the team battle.

The 10 point lead gives Churchill an advantage up front (probably an advantage that few people anticipated). Churchill is the defending outdoor county champion until somebody knocks them off, but the poll results show that Clarksburg and QO are favored at the top.

Without a doubt, Clarksburg and Quince Orchard cover all of the events better than every team in the county. QO won the indoor county title, but Clarksburg looked unbeatable when they opened the outdoor season with a 50+ point win at the Coyote Invitational. Quince Orchard showed that it closed the gap in a dual meet between the two teams that came down to the final race (4x400). Clarksburg won the 4x400 after a dropped baton by a QO runner and hence won the dual meet by just four points. Fans and coaches alike are expecting another chess match and all-out effort between the two teams.

I can't argue with the ten boys teams that the fans voted into the top ten here, but the order could go in any direction. Clarksburg and QO seem to have the fewest weaknesses, but the other eight teams listed certainly have strengths where they can grab big chunks of points.

MoCoRunning Girls Analysis

The short sprints during the indoor track season were decided by some great races between Magruder's Bethany White and Northwest's Camry Torian, but so far this outdoor season, Northwest's freshman Kennedy Knight seems to be emerging as a dominant force and possibly surpassing Torian as the top short sprinter at Northwest. With that said, it is difficult to predict exactly how Northwest will distribute its athletes in its quest to win the team title, but it seems very likely that we will see White of Magruder attempt to win the 100m and 200m. She leads the county in both events with times of 12.04 and 24.46 from the Darius Ray Invitational.

Again, without knowing exactly who is entered in which events, we have to speculate that Wootton's Gwen Shaw (55.97h) will not run the 400 and will instead focus on the hurdles and the relays. It seems likely, then, that the open 400m/800m comes down to India Knight (57.50/2:19.50; previously 56.52/2:14.92) and Brittney Wade (58.3/2:12.26).

The 1600 is anybody's guess with Wootton's Grace Corbett (previously 5:04) returning to past form and indoor state champ Lucy Srour and state runner-up Ava Farrell likely in the race. We haven't forgotten Chelsie Pennello's impressive victory at the Coyote Invitational and subsequent PR of 5:17, nor have we missed the emergence of Whitman freshman Clare Severe (5:18.34).

Whitman's Caroline Guiot has taken on all challengers in the 3200 this year and still has the best time in the county this year by 15 seconds (11:17.13).

As previously mentioned, we expect Wootton's Gwen Shaw to focus on the hurdles and she has looked darn near unbeatable this year with times of 14.82/44.1h/1:01.71. If anybody is close to her down the stretch it might be teammate Sylvia Deppen or WJ's Laura Shaw.

Northwest has the fastest county relay times in the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x800, and they proved at the Cougar Relays that they can do it all in one day. The 4x400 is where it gets interesting because it is the last event of the day and the first time since the Cougar Relays that Northwest will get its rematch against Wootton. The two teams ran 3:53.8 and 3:55.7 the last time they met, with Wootton coming out on top. The county meet record set just last year is 3:49.48.

Sierra Isaac and Hayley Henshaw lead Montgomery County this season in the high jump (5-02). Clarksburg's Bailee Freeman has only cleared 4-10 so far, but she has cleared 5-04 multiple times in the past.

Isaac also ranks third in the county in the long jump (17-04.00) and first in the triple jump (37-07.75) this season. If she has a good day, Isaac certainly seems like she will be a candidate for one of the performers of the meet. Kendra Meredith of Northwest and Casey Dowling of Wootton have also been strong in the horizontal jumps this season.

Seneca Valley's Virginia Owusu-Mainoo is having a typically strong season, but she must be feeling the pressure from Clarksburg's Claudia Ababio and RM's Nneoma Edokobi, both of whom have grabbed victories from Owusu-Mainoo in the shot put this year. The Clarksburg sophomore is the current county leader with a mark of 38-00.

Owusu-Mainoo is the county leader in the discus (117-11), but Anna Ucheomumu of Einstein has a season best within two feet of Owusu-Mainoo. Ozioma Edokobi of RM and Ababio are also improving with a marks over 100 feet this season.

We now know that Quince Orchard's Catherine Panasenkov is the county champion in the pole vault which gives QO a boost in the standings, but everyone and their pet lizard is expecting the girls' team battle to come down to Northwest and Wootton. Northwest grabbed 8 points from the pole vault while Wootton will start the meet on Wednesday with no points.

Northwest has now won four track county titles in a row (combining indoor and outdoor track) and appears poised to repeat (five-peat?). Their sprints and relays are dominant. More points will come in the distance events and Kendra Meredith gives Northwest a strong presence in the long and triple jump. The hurdles and throwing events are the only weakness for Northwest, but who was expecting them to score 8 points in the pole vault?

Wootton will certainly cash in with double trouble in the hurdles (Shaw/Deppen) and Casey Dowling and Elaine Chen in the long and triple. Wootton is going to get some in the mid-distance and distance.

Wouldn't it be grand for us spectators if the team battle came down to the 4x400? Will both teams hold out all of their best athletes until the end? Could the teams improve on their 3:53/3:55 season bests from the Cougar Relays after a long day?

Who else stands a chance to contend for the county team title? Well Clarksburg gave Northwest a scare indoors, B-CC is undeniably stacked in the longer events, and Richard Montgomery impressively won multiple invitationals this year in addition to winning Division II. The voters in Mocorunning's prediction poll certainly had a good grasp on the best teams and 75+ fans can't be wrong. The team battle should come down to Northwest and Wootton.


2012-05-08 06:55:03

Jalen Walker to win the 100 and 200 lmao really?

2012-05-08 07:58:07

Who is Laura Shaw of WJ? ....awk

not awk
2012-05-08 12:15:34

she is a legit hurdler and triple jumper.

2012-05-08 13:52:49

Laura Dally, Kevin means...

2012-05-10 18:47:54

Since I couldn't comment on the results... Does anyone else think the second heat of the girl's mile and first heat of the boy's miles were a bit unfair, due to the fact the wind didn't hit the first heat of girls to slow down their times, nor the other two heats of guys?? I think the wind came in EXACTLY at the girls second section? Also no one seemed to have pushed the pace in the 1600m until the last lap. That girl's second heat went a bit wrong? Any comments? Ideas? CONSTRUCTIVE criticism?

2012-05-11 13:21:45

At a championship meet you run to win. The wind makes it more of a tactical affair and actually made the miles a bit more entertaining.

2012-05-12 07:48:57

Interesting yes. But I feel like there was still an advantage given to the first heat of girls. Examples are Abbey Daley who finished ninth or eighth rather than her usual fourth, and girl's in heat one beat a lot of girls in heat two. Same with the guys in heat one, slower times made their gap bigger.

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