BALTIMORE — Northwest High School’s dreams of a second consecutive Maryland 4A girls indoor track and field championship gained momentum Thursday night at the 4A West Region championships.
The Jaguars cruised to the region title with 87.5 points at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.
“I wasn’t there for the county meet, my wife [Alexia] was there so it kind of took away from our performances because we usually work as a tandem to help motivate the girls,” Jaguars’ coach David Knight said of the team’s narrow victory at the Montgomery County Championships. “We worked hard in practice the last couple of weeks with the mission to separate [from other teams].”
On the boys side, Quince Orchard followed its county championship by winning the region title with 86 points.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Cougars coach Sean Pelkey. “This team has never gone into the [region] meet as a favorite before. To come into this facility and know that everyone is looking at you, everyone wants to beat you and give you their best, you have to answer that challenge. It was a total team effort.”
In the marquee race of the meet, the senior trio of Walter Johnson’s Josh Ellis, Quince Orchard’s Evan Laratta and Winston Churchill’s William Conway squared off for bragging rights in the 1,600 meters.
The day belonged to Laratta, who led nearly throughout to win with a time of 4 minutes, 36.18 seconds.
“The track was really slippery so I didn’t want to wait to kick because I probably wouldn’t have been able to beat out the other guys,” Laratta said.
Clarksburg’s boys team finished in second place, just four points behind Quince Orchard. The Coyotes got a first-place finish from the team of Jaydeep Dhanak, Asanka Ekanayake, Dewayne Johnson and Laurent Mundela in the boys 3,200 relay (10:22.52). Clarksburg’s Paul Joseph won the 300 with a time of 38.51 seconds. He is eager for the upcoming state championship meet (Feb. 21 at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex in Landover) where he will get to square off against two of the nation’s best, Henry A. Wise senior Champ Page II and Suitland junior Taivon Jacobs.
“I haven’t had the chance the race against them yet and I know they’re very good, but I think I have a chance to compete with them,” Joseph said.
Paint Branch finished in third place in the boys standings. Manyo Nkiri, Malik Keels, Tyler Nelson and Marvin Oduro won the 800 relay in 1:38.83. The Panthers also won the 1,600 relay in the final race of the night (3:42.6).
Winston Churchill finished in fourth place, as senior Nadim Elhage dominated the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 9 inches, Zachary Weinstein won the 3,200 (9:59.93) and Williams Conway controlled the pace in the 800 to win in 2:08.24.
Magruder seniors Javier Nieto (8.16 seconds) and Ato Pinkrah (6.81) won the 55 hurdles and 55 dash, respectively. Quince Orchard sophomore Elliott Davis won the high jump with an impressive leap of 5-10. Richard Montgomery High senior David Hamilton pulled away on the final turn to win the 500 title with a time of 1:11.92.
On the girls side, Katerina Lake, Dana Eckerstrom, Camry Torian and India Knight helped Northwest to its first-place finish by winning the 800 relay (1:52.22). Torian also won the 300 (43.32). The Northwest 1,600 relay team of Tiara Wellman, Kennedy Knight, Eckerstrom and Lake also took first place (4:16.60.6).
Bethesda-Chevy Chase took second in the girls team standings. The Barons got first-place finishes from senior Ava Farrell in the 1,600 (5:26.82) and senior Brittney Wade in the girls 800 (2:29.66).
“It was really scary for a minute because toward the end I thought to myself that I really wanted to win so I just had to get in front of people and I wanted to stay away from passing on the curves and wasting energy,” Wade said. “I just went hard on the straight-aways and took control of the race.”
Wade, Caroline Leuba, Laura Nakasaka and Hailey Jester teamed to give B-CC a win in the 3,200 relay (8:47.98).
Clarksburg finished third, led by senior Bailee Freeman, who won the high jump (5-2).
Thursday evening was a first for Walt Whitman senior Madeleine Entwistle, who won the 55 hurdles with a time of 9.01 seconds.
“I’m feeling awesome because this is the first time I’ve won [this season] in hurdles so my hard work really paid off and hopefully can carry to states,” Entwistle said.
Caroline Guiot gave Whitman another win in the 3,200, finishing in 12:10. Springbrook senior Udeme Akpaete won the 500 (1:20.50). Magruder’s Bethany White was dominant in winning the 55 dash (7.4 seconds). Richard Montgomery senior Neneoma Edokobi won the shot put with a throw of 34-2.
4A West Region Indoor Track and Field Championships
1. Northwest 87.5 points
2. Bethesda-Chevy Chase 56 points
3. Clarksburg 50 points
4. Thomas Wootton - 38 points
1. Quince Orchard 86 points
2. Clarksburg 82 points
3. Paint Branch 49 points
4. Winston Churchill 48 points