Blazers run away with a victory

Jan. 24, 2008, midnight | By Christina Mullen | 13 years, 4 months ago

4x400m relay teams captures Montgomery County title

Georgetown Prep Indoor Track, Jan. 23 –

The boys' track placed sixth out of 19 teams in the Montgomery County Championship Meet, scoring a total of 41 points from sprint relays and strong individual performances. The girls' team placed sixteenth out of 21 teams, but showed great development in individual events.

Senior Brandon Hudgins started the meet off strong for the Blazers, tying for third place in the 55m hurdles preliminary race, qualifying for the finals heat. After a promising start in the finals race, however, Hudgins fell down hard on a hurdle. He managed to pick himself up to finish the race, ensuring that the team would score in that event.

Junior Jonathan Haughton also qualified for the finals heat in the 55m dash, finishing the race in fourth in a blazing 6.68 seconds. Haughton returned just one event later to place second in the 300m dash in 35.97 seconds. Senior Mohamed Mansaray finished sixth overall in the 300m dash from a slower heat in 37.16 seconds.

After a stellar outdoor track season lat year, senior co-captain Louis Varella was a favorite to win the 500m dash, but opted to sit out in order to rest his injured ankle in hopes of qualifying for states at the 4A West Regional Meet. In his absence, senior Nilan Schnure stepped up to place seventh in a time of 1:09.86. Schnure came back to place fifth in the 800m run in a time of 2:02.99.

The 4x200m relay proved to be the most exciting event of the evening. Haughton led off the race finishing several paces ahead of rival Richard Montgomery, before handing off to senior Enuma Nzesi. Nzesi gave the baton to Chris Grindley, who was neck and neck with Richard Montgomery. When Mansaray started the anchor leg, he was several steps behind Richard Montgomery, but as they rounded the final curve, Mansaray had caught their running. Richard Montgomery's anchor outleaned Mansaray for the photo finish — Richard Montgomery finishing in 1:32.83, Blair finishing in 1:32.87.

After the close loss in the 4x200m relay, the Blazers were determined to beat Richard Montgomery in the 4x400m relay. However, the two teams would not run head to head in this relay, as Richard Montgomery was placed in a slower heat. Nzesi led off the race, but finished only a few steps ahead of his competitors before handing off to Grindley. Grindley opened the gap for Schnure who continued to extend the Blazers lead before Haughton took over. Haughton rounded the final bend several seconds ahead of the next team and crossed the finish line with dominant victory, finishing in an overall time of 3:33.63, nearly three seconds ahead of Richard Montgomery.

Though the girls' teams did not place as high in the county, there were several standout performances that earned the team points. Senior co-captain Johanna Gretschel finished fourth in the 1600m run in an indoor track personal record of 5:17.72, beating the defending county champion. Gretschel also finished fourth in the 800m run before anchoring the girls' 4x400m relay team to a ninth place finish.

Senior Dorcas Olawuni and junior Amber Seals placed eleventh and ninth, respectively in the 300m dash, just barely missing the chance to score in these events, but placing higher than in previous years.

Though head coach Ralph Penn was pleased with the teams' performance, he feels that they have potential to do more. The meet was held at Georgetown Prep's new indoor track, significantly smaller than the PG Sportsplex, which required meet coordinators to limit each team to only one athlete per event with 5 wild cards to be distributed throughout the meet. "If we had more runners in more races, I'm sure we would have placed higher," Penn said.

However, Schnure remains optimistic about the team's performance and their future at the regional meet. "With a little more work, some focus from tough losses at this meet and the return of key athletes like Louis, I think we have a good shot at doing well at the regional and state meets."

The Blazers' next meet will be the 4A West Regional meet on Wed., Feb. 6, at the Baltimore Armory.

Christina Mullen. Christina Mullen, contrary to popular belief, does not have a mullet. She is an amazing beast who enjoys ballin, running and making beautiful music. Most people worship a god. Christina worships food. She partakes in powwows and picnics on a regular basis with her track … More »

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