Individual records set while relay teams maintain speed at key regional meet
PG County Sports Complex, Jan. 12 -
Coming off a stunning outdoor season last year, the Blair sprint squad had their jets cooled in the Montgomery County Invitational track meet, one of the most important indoor meets in the region. While the relay teams failed to live up to their ambitions, many personal records were set at this key meet, an excellent indicator for regional and even state finishes. "You can really run a personal best at this meet because you get up for it and know all the best runners are going to be here," said assistant coach Mike Fleming.
After running the grueling mile race, Gretschel jumped back in a few hours later and placed fourth in the girl's 800m run despite finishing third in her heat. She felt as though both of these races taught her valuable lessons. "They were learning experiences for me. If I had started to kick earlier I could have placed higher, but that's something I'll take with me to my next race" said Gretschel.
Another personal record was set Saturday evening by senior Nilan Schnure who placed sixth in the boy's 800m run. Schnure ran an impeccable race, starting off in the middle of the pack and picking off runners one-by-one as he flew around the 200m track. Although at points looking as though he might break two minutes, he still managed to drop two seconds off his previous indoor record.
Later in the night the boys 400m relay team (Schnure, senior Enuma Nzesi, junior Chris Grindley, junior Jonathan Haughton) sped their way into first in the county and sixth overall. Despite the absence of their fastest 400m runner, senior captain Lewis Varella, the squad managed to maintain last year's tenth place finish time from states. "It was a bit hectic with Lewis not running, but we still did a decent job. The teams that beat us we could potentially beat," said Schnure.
A different key sprint squad, the boys 200m relay team (Haughton, Enuma Nzesi, Grindley, senior Mohamed Mansaray) blazed to a sixth overall finish at the meet and second in the county. After putting together an impressive effort and maintaining second through their heat, the team's rhythm got off-track during an unexpected twist in the final leg. While Mansaray was bearing down on the finish line another runner elbowed and kicked him, causing Mansaray to break his focus and speedy stride with a split second look at the perpetrator. "I'm positive we could have done better, especially since Mohamed was hurt," said Nzesi.
Despite the high placing, the coaches disagreed on the success of the meet. According to Fleming, "all the runners performed at a level they should be at this time of the season." But head coach Ralph Penn was somewhat disappointed by the results. "We need to show up to practice," he said. "I would like to think we can go far at states, but it all depends on how healthy we stay."
Some runners were more optimistic, believing that they could place very well not just at counties and regionals but also at states. "I know we're going to dominate, but if Lewis doesn't come back we're going to have to step it up" said Nzesi. Haughton agreed, "I see us finishing first in both counties and regionals [for 400m and 200m boys' relay]."
The Blazers' next meet will be the Montgomery County Championship meet on Tues., Jan. 22, at the PG County Sports Complex.
Lucas Alvarado-Farrar. Lucas is half Honduran and half American, but all Mexican. He is a New York native and naturally a fan of the Bronx Bombers. Lucas is a senior in CAP, plays soccer and runs track, and likes pretty much any sports activity. He is fond … More »