The Blake High School girls team is loaded with sprinters. Five girls recorded hand-timed 200-meter performances of 26.0 or faster this year. Three girls
recorded open 400-meter performances under 59 seconds this season.
Frequently that talent is evident in the relays such as when Blake won its 4x400-meter relay heat at the Penn Relays in 3:54.96, the fastest time by an MCPS
team since Blake's 2015 team which featured all-time MoCo greats, Martha Sam and Sarah Moore. On other occasions, Blake caught bad breaks, such as when it
recorded a top-ten all-time state meet performance in the indoor 4x400 (3:57.34) but was bested by a great team from Franklin High School by two-tenths of a
"After the indoor season," said Geligne Franklin, who was a part of the heartbreaking 4x4 loss at the indoor state meet, "We wanted to come out here and show
everybody just how good we were. We wanted everybody to know that our relays in general weren't at their peak and that we could do so much better. We were
training so much harder to be so much faster and I really think that we showed what we were made of today."
Sometimes, Blake's performances can look puzzling from the outside. At least part of that is due to one of the team's top runners, Noelani Phillips, not
competing on Saturdays for religious purposes. During the 4x200-meter relay on Friday, Phillips contributed to the win in a fine time of 1:42.52. On Saturday,
during the 4x400-meter relay, Phillips was out and one of the team's top 100-meter sprinters, Cyan Peoples, was in. Blake came away with the 4x4 victory in
3:58.09, even if that was slightly slower than what they ran at the indoor state meet.
"I know that we can do well no matter what, even if we have alternates on our relay so it didn't really surprise me," said Serena Harrison, who anchored the
team to victory with a 58.4 split according to trackmeet.io.
"Basically our goal was to come in here," said Kenya Allison, "...It was time for us to peak and do our very best. We wanted to drop time in everything we did
whether it was open or relay. And we wanted to push ourselves and get ready for nationals."
So there is a strategy to Blake High School's sometimes anomalous ways. Even if the Bengals are not loading up on every event at every meet...even if they are
not competing at MCPS meets week-in and week-out...the Blake track team approaches the season with goals attached to the state meet and New Balance
"Everyone," said team captain Kenya Allison, "Geligne Franklin, Cyan Peoples, Tahira Bakare, Serena Harrison, and Noelani Phillips: we're all going to
nationals coming up in June and we're really excited. This just showed what we can accomplish...We're all excited to go and run at nationals and represent