The Northwest girls completed its first day of competition at the state championship on top of the 4A standings with 24 points. 20 of those points came from victories in the two relay races: the 4x800 and 4x200. The other four points came from fifth place finish by Kendra Meredith in the triple jump in 35-06.50.
The 4x800 relay was somewhat of a come-from-behind race for Northwest after Sula Ndousse-Fetter stumbled at the start and needed to make up ground. Gaby Go maintained position on the second leg and India Knight took over the lead with roughly a 2:16 split. She handed a cushion to Naomi Sheppard who secured the victory in a season-best county-leading time of 9:20.44. Each girl ran a personal best or at least a season best.
Everything was going well for Northwest on the 4x200 relay until a strange handoff on the third exchange between India Knight and Camry Torian set Northwest back almost ten meters behind Bowie. Torian ran with everything she had to pass Bowie and win the race by nearly a half second in 1:39.43. In the words of Coach Youngblood, Torian "never ran so fast in her life."
1:39.43 was the fastest 4x200 relay time by a Montgomery County team during the regular season (not including the outdoor national championship) since at least the year 2000. The 2010 Northwest squad ran fastest at nationals, but only ran 1:41.88 to win the state title that year.
Whitman is actually in second place in the 4A standings after the Friday competition thanks to a second place finish by Whitman's 4x800 in 9:23.93 and a 3200m victory by Caroline Guiot in a personal best 11:16.93. Freshman Lela Walter tacked on two points with a seventh place 3200m finish. The Whitman girls team collectively decided not to participate on the final day of competition due to prom.
Guiot was complimentary of the Northwest 4x800 relay, saying that they ran a great race and that Whitman surprised themselves with the times they ran this year (9:25.85 victory at regionals and 9:23.93 today at states).
In the time between the 4x800 and 3200m, Guiot didn't really have much trouble recovering. She took the lead after the first lap of the race and controlled the pace until just after 1600m in about 5:45. At that point, she was passed by an opponent, but she felt that it was too early to fight it and just went along with the race.
She was back in first place with about three laps to go, thinking that was about the time she needed to begin pressing the pace to drain the kick out of B-CC's Caroline Beakes.
She compared this year's outdoor county championship 3200 to the cross country county championship in the fall in which she lost a close race to Churchill's Lucy Srour. She adjusted her strategy in subsequent races to account for Srour's strong kick and went on to win regional and state titles.
After losing to Beakes in the 3200 at the outdoor county championship, she gained a respect for Beakes' strong kick and decided to press the pace much earlier.
The pack thinned out quickly after the fifth lap. Among the other runners, Beakes had also fallen off of Guiot's increased pace. Beakes did ultimately have a hard kick, but Guiot's strategy worked perfectly as Beakes found herself four seconds behind Guiot at the finish.
Clarksburg's Will Bertrand found himself in the toughest race he had been in all year. What looked to be yet another duel between Bertrand and QO's Evan Laratta turned into something very different on the penultimate lap. As Laratta fell behind Bertrand, Perry Hall's Vincent Ciattei moved up and latched onto Bertrand. With 150-meters to go, Ciattei made his move into the lead and Bertrand did not have the leg speed to match.
Bertrand said that he thought he had it going down the back stretch but that Ciattei's kick was too much. Ciattei had closed in about 61 seconds whereas Bertrand had a decent final lap of 65 seconds.
The Watkins Mill boys clocked a county-leading time of 1:28.27 in the 4x200, finishing third in the 3A classification. Anyone who stuck around until the very end of the day on Friday got to witness history as the Wise High School boys broke the state meet record of 1:26.40 with a time of 1:26.25. Track announcer Al Smith was right on top of that as usual.
The Poolesville athletes fared well on Day 1 of the state championship with school records in both the boys and girls 3200. Freshman Claire Beautz clocked a third place time of 11:21.28 and sophomore Chase Weaverling clocked a third place time of 9:32.94. Both athletes move up to #2 on Mocorunning's "since 2006" leaderboards for their respective grade levels. The Poolesville girls also smashed their season best 4x800 time of 9:51.51.