Blazers running out of steam

Jan. 13, 2003, midnight | By Sherri Geng | 18 years ago

The Blair indoor track and field teams fell through with a disappointing performance at the MCPS Invitational Meet at the PG Sportsplex on Saturday, January 11. A frustratingly small turnout left Blazers struggling to push forward, with only five strong runners anchoring the undersized team.

Blair competed in a total of six events but made no advances into the final rounds.

Of the girls' team were junior sprinter Jamie Kovach in the 55-meter, and senior distance-runner Laurel Jefferson in the 3200-meter and the 1-mile. Kovach finished fourth in her heat with a time of 8.09 seconds, while Jefferson ran times of 12:31.03 in the 3200-meter and 5:40 in the mile. Jefferson placed fourth in her 3200-meter heat, and sixth in her 1-mile heat, both with marginally decent scores that failed to propel her past the preliminaries.

Senior sprinter Braind Djenodjilmen of the boys' team placed third in his heat, with a 6.9-second finish in the boys' 55-meter. Senior distance-runner Matt Sheldon ran a 10:54.90 in the 3200-meter, while junior Esey Kidane finished the 1-mile with a 5:20.27. Sheldon placed 12th and Kidane seventh in their respective heats, rounding out a poor record for the Blazers to-date.

The teams' performance at the meet reflected a frustrating string of disappointments, for those both on and off the track. "I'm not happy with that meet," says Coach Elaine Murray. "They ran okay, and just okay, but I expected them to do much better."

Murray worries that the team suffers from a lack of commitment, with a consistently low turnout at both practices and meets. "It's always been a weakness," Murray remarks of the team. "Running takes work, it takes effort, it takes a little bit of pain. And they want the glory, but they can't take the pain."

The team, on the other hand, is concerned about the waning amount of runners. "There aren't enough people to carry the team over," points out Sheldon. Djenodjilmen agrees. "We just need some younger runners who can take over if we go down," he says.

According to Murray, only a handful of runners actually show up regularly for practices. And of those who do attend, very few are willing to push themselves past their thresholds. "It's always, 'I can't do this' or 'My foot hurts,'" she says. "That's what's frustrating – they have to take this seriously."

In the upshot of this past meet, Murray has abandoned all hope for the remainder of the season. "I'm just so frustrated," she admits. "I like to win, and I want somebody to come home with a gold medal and ribbons." She predicts the County Championships on Monday will be the team's last meet. "We're just going to go to show up," she says simply. "That's about all there is left to it."

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