Montgomery County track fans have come to expect phenomenal performances out of
Bullis when the big national championship meets come around. The boys and girls
squads have pulled in their fair share of All-American honors, freshman national
titles, and emerging elite titles. When it comes to the Penn Relays, Bullis squads
are year-in and year-out one of the USA's greatest hopes to take on the Jamaicans.
But believe it or not, Bullis had still never pulled in a true high school
national title at New Balance Indoor or New Balance Outdoor Nationals until
Sunday. Leah Phillips, Lauryn Harris, Masai Russell, and Shaniya Hall claimed the
school's first national title in record-breaking fashion. The quartet dominated
the race by holding a commanding lead from start to finish and breaking the New
Balance Indoor Nationals meet record set the previous year (3:40.28) with a time
of 3:39.70. They were just two seconds off the US high school national indoor
record. The team averaged under 55 seconds per runner and their splits according
to the official results were as follows: 55.52, 54.76, 54.62, 54.80.
The list of female indoor national champions from Montgomery County schools is a
very short list. There is Sally Glynn, the 1994 and 1995 indoor national two mile
champion from Walter Johnson High School. There is the Bullis girls 4x4 relay in
2017. In between that long stretch without a female indoor national
champion from Montgomery County, Thea LaFond of Kennedy High School won the New
Balance Outdoor National title in the triple jump in 2011.
That's it. Winning national titles is hard to do.
Bullis's record-breaking accolades at the 2017 New Balance Indoor Nationals
extends beyond the 4x4. Bullis's Sprint Medley Relay time of 4:05.80 (8th) was an
all-time indoor Montgomery County record. Bullis's Shuttle Hurdle Relay time of
(31.88) would have been an all-time Montgomery County record if not for their
early season performance of 31.61 at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic. Cierra
Pyles jumped 18-10.50 in winning the emerging elite long jump, which is Montgomery
County's all-time greatest indoor mark.
The Bullis boys surely had aspirations to win a national crown, but without their
top star, Eric Allen, they came up a little short in the 4x200m relay. Their
1:27.33 was the fastest preliminary time, but they fell to third place in 1:28.08
without Eric Allen in the finals. Their finish garnered All-American honors.
Montgomery County now boasts two freshly-crowned freshman national champions.
Bullis freshman Ashton Allen probably would have been a freshman national champion
in the 60-meter hurdles if that was an event, but the hurdles was not offered as a
freshman event (he certainly is Montgomery County's all-time greatest freshman
hurdler with a 60m hurdle performance of 8.14 earlier this season). Instead, Allen
settled for the 400-meter dash freshman national title in which he set a new meet
record with a time of 49.00. Needless to say, that was a Montgomery County all-
time record for a freshman and one of the greatest all-time performances indoors
for an athlete of any grade. Richard Montgomery's freshman, Seydi Sall, who is
already one of Montgomery County's all-time greatest athletes in the 500m (1:05.34
at Virginia Tech), took second place in that same race behind Allen, nipping his
opponent at the line 50.43 to 50.44, but another runner from an earlier heat
claimed the second spot overall with a time of 50.30.
On the girls' side of that same event, Shaniya Hall's 56.34 400m was good for
runner-up position. The freshman 400m champion broke the meet record ahead of her
with a time of 55.55.
Richard Montgomery High School freshman Garrett Suhr dropped the hammer in the
second half of the freshman national mile race. He ran with the pack through the
halfway point in about 2:20. To the unfortunate soundtrack of a clueless announcer
calling him "Jack Wilson," Suhr surged ahead of the field and closed the second
half in 2:06 for the final 800m and 59 seconds for the final 400 meters. His
winning time of 4:26.50 was a little shy of his Virginia Tech Invitational time of
4:23.25 (1600m). We can only hope that soon enough, the whole nation knows his
The last note on freshmen: Churchill's Nicholas Karyianis finished twelfth in boys
freshman mile with a time of 4:36.00. Many would call Andrew Palmer of Whitman a
legend in his time, but he ran just 4:36.21 at indoor nationals during his
freshman year in 2007.
Josh Netterville of Northwest High School ended his high school track career at
New Balance Indoor Nationals. He clocked 6.90 in the 60m prelim and finished 13th
overall. In the 200m, he improved on his personal best with a time of 22.27.
Eric Allen of Bullis clocked 6.85 in the prelim of the 60m, but he did not finish
his 200-meter prelim race and did not compete for the remainder of the meet. It
was a disappointing nationals meet for both Allen and Good Counsel's Darnell Pratt
who was DQ'd in the opening heats of the 200m.
Taylor Wright of Northwest High School improved on her personal best in the 60m
dash with a time of 7.67 (7.12 converted 55m), and she jumped 5-05 in the high
Ashley Seymour's 24.70 was the fastest county time in the girls 200m and Masai
Russell's 55.85 just missed winning the emerging elite 400m dash.
Alexis Postell's 8.70 moved her into the second round of the 60m hurdles where she
finished 20th overall.
Two-milers Ryan Lockett and Abigail Green had successful outings. The Poolesville
and Walter Johnson juniors each set indoor personal bests with times of 9:23.01
and 10:42.71 respectively.
This arm chair coverage was made possible by the video coverage of