Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Feb. 27, 2007

Sinclair sisters earn bronze in 800 and 1600 at Indoor State Championship

by Johanna Gretschel, Online Managing Editor

Senior sisters Ashlyn and Halsey Sinclair capped off their high school indoor track careers with one bronze medal each, in the 800m and 1600m races respectively, at the 4A/3A Maryland State Championship. For the first time in their four years at Blair, the twins were joined at the state competition by two boys' relay teams, who ran the 4x200m and 4x400m, placing eleventh and tenth respectively.

Head Coach Mike Fleming was pleased with the boys' effort at their first state meet and expressed confidence that the relay teams will be back at states for the outdoor track championship, as did junior Brandon Hudgins and senior Victor Mba-Jones. "We'll be back," Hudgins said.

Ashlyn Sinclair began her 800m race in the front pack of runners and at the 200m mark, she moved into third position behind Whitman's Leslie Morrison and Roosevelt's Tasha Stanley. The three moved ahead from the main pack, and Sinclair passed into second and then into first position about halfway through the race. Morrison soon took control of the lead again and Stanley unleashed a powerful kick to pass Sinclair in the last 100m and ultimately win. Stanley's winning time was 2:15.54 and Morrison was right behind in 2:15.56. Sinclair took third in 2:19.06

Halsey Sinclair ran the 1600m about 10m behind the two leaders, Roosevelt's Marika Walker and Whitman's Morgane Gay, for the majority of the race. Severna Park runner Julie Gardner's attempts to challenge Sinclair during the first stages of the race proved futile as Sinclair pulled away around the 450m mark without a response from Gardner. Sinclair maintained her position through the rest of the race, finishing third in a time of 5:11.61. Walker won the race and established a new state record of 5:00.59, Gay finished second in 5:03.37 and Gardner was a distant fifth in a time of 5:24.32.
Senior Halsey Sinclair runs a strong pace during the 3200m race at the 4A/3A Maryland Indoor State Championship. Johanna Gretschel
Senior Halsey Sinclair runs a strong pace during the 3200m race at the 4A/3A Maryland Indoor State Championship.

Halsey Sinclair ran the beginning of the 3200m run only a stride behind Walker. The two led a pack of five girls who stayed close together, passing through the 800m mark at 2:41. Quince Orchard's Cara Harrison passed Sinclair to take second position behind Walker around the 1200m point. Walker and Harrison pulled away from the rest of the pack and continued to increase their lead throughout the race, leaving Sinclair to fend for third with Churchill's Louise Hannallah. The two passed through the mile in 5:32 and ran close together until Hannallah began her kick with about 250m left in the race. Sinclair was not able to stay with her, but claimed fourth place in 11:19.56. Walker won the race in 10:54.38, Harrison placed second in 11:00.86 and Hannallah was third in 11:12.48.

The boys' 4x200m relay got off to a rough start when the relay's first leg, Mba-Jones, dropped the baton while attempting to hand it off to junior Hudgins. The boys ultimately completed the hand-off, but outside of the required exchange zone, resulting in what they thought was a disqualification. Sophomore Jonathon Haughton and junior captain Louis Varella continued the race for the Blazers and made up some ground to put the team's overall time at 1:35.67. After the race, officials told the team they were disqualified. However, the decision was reversed for unknown reasons, giving the Blazers eleventh place in the event.

Hudgins said he was nervous when waiting to receive the baton from Mba-Jones. He started running too early, missing the baton. Once he realized they had completed the transaction outside of the exchange zone, Hudgins said he figured the team had been disqualified and in his frustration, did not run as fast. "I nearly stopped because [I thought] we got disqualified. I got frustrated," he said.

The boys' 4x400m relay fared better, finishing fourth in their heat and tenth overall with a time of 3:33.52, despite Varella getting spiked in the thigh during his anchor leg. A metal spike from the shoe of a runner on an opposing team tore Varella's skin. "I didn't even notice it," he said. "Too much adrenaline."

The boys were disappointed with the results, but were glad to have the opportunity to run at the state level. Mba-Jones said they had underestimated their competition. "The competition was much harder than we thought it would be," he said.

Fleming was proud of the boys' effort despite their disappointment and said the meet was a positive experience. "Naturally, we were disappointed with the four by two, but like I say, it happens to the best of us. It's a learning experience."

Ashlyn and Halsey Sinclair will be competing at Nike Indoor Nationals at the PG Sportsplex on March 11.

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  • Jon B on March 1, 2007 at 12:45 AM
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