While Thomas S. Wootton High School junior Gwen Shaw grabbed the highest individual honors at the Montgomery County Championship meet on May 9, contributions from teammates such as Casey Dowling were not lost on Shaw or Patriots coach Kellie Redmond.Wootton topped three-time defending county champion Northwest, 86 to 78 1/2 to win the girls team title.
“Our team deserves [the championship], it was a team effort,” said Shaw, who was named the female athlete of the meet after winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and running with the first-place 800 and 1,600 relay teams. “The two seniors on our [1,600 relay] have been fighting Northwest longer than I have. We've been trying to get [the title] from them for so long.”
Dowling helped boost Wootton's drive to the title with a long jump championship (18 feet), and a second-place showing in the triple jump (36-2). She also helped the 1,600 relay squad claim the top spot.
“We always look for good performances from everyone, and the goal is to get the best performances late in the season,” Redmond said.
Rivalry lives on: The Clarksburg and Quince Orchard boys kept their friendly rivalry going by splitting for the team title with 85 points each. Earlier in the season, the Coyotes nipped the Cougars to capture the regular season division crown by winning the last event in their meet, the 1,600 relay, as a QO runner fell late in the race after getting tangled up with a Clarksburg athlete.
“I told the guys, the trophy says champions, not co-champions,” Clarksburg coach Scott Mathias said. “We had a lot of kids step up, our guys in the throws had a lot of personal bests. “[Sprinter-jumper] Paul Joseph had a really big day, he was doing four individual events. [Distance runner] Will Bertram was great. Our (second place) 4X8[00 relay] sort of set the tone for us. They ran seven seconds fast than we've ever run before, so that got the team pumped up.”
Pelkey and his team are used to the battle that both schools have had this year in more than one sport. Quince Orchard tied for the county title despite not having anyone finish in first place. The Cougars had six second-place finishers.
“It was the same way in indoor track, heck, the two football teams played a double-overtime game. The kids even joked after the meet that we should decide this meet by racing each other on the football field,” Pelkey said with a laugh. “We both have similar teams, very deep teams, and that's why we are always so close. The name of the game in track and field is having depth, and both teams have that.”
Andrew Ankrah notched second-place showings in the 110 and 300 hurdles for the Cougars, while Even Laratta finished second in the 3,200 and third in the 800.
Jumper leads QO: Quince Orchard's Sierra Isaac scored more than half of her team's 49 points as she battled rainy conditions in the county championship meet. Isaac won the high jump and triple jump and took third in the long jump. The Cougars were fifth in the girls team standings.
“She's been an anchor for our team all year,” QO coach Seann Pelkey said. “This was the one meet where she was nervous. I'm just glad she was able to pull off what she did. She went into this meet with high expectations, and with the weather and all, the conditions weren't the best. I know the last thing I'd want to do on a day like that is to jump into a cold pit of sand after already jumping in another event. But she came through for us.”
Covaliu has big day: Walter Johnson's boys team placed fourth in the team standings, with a huge performance from male athlete of the meet Elad Covaliu, who swept the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles in 15:11 seconds and 39:33 seconds, respectively. He also completed a busy day by running on the Wildcats' 400 and 800 relay teams.
“I knew I was seeded first for both [events], so I just came out here and just wanted to get the job done,” said Covaliu, who has signed a letter of intent to play football at the College of Holy Cross next season with plans to run for the Crusaders track team. “I felt really good coming into the meet, I felt great all day. I was just ready to come out here and perform.”
Upset in the 100: The boys 100 meters saw an upset when Watkins Mill’s Patrick Schlosser ran past favorites Jalen White of Northwest and Marvin Oduro of Paint Branch. Schlosser finished in a time of 11.15 seconds, just ahead of White's 11.16.
Schlosser, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior, who also finished fourth in the discus with a heave of 137 feet, was the starting quarterback for the Watkins Mill football team last fall as well as a guard on the basketball team.
“He had only run the 100 one other time this year, but I knew what we had in him," Watkins Mill coach Kevin Watson said. “He's run against Will [Yougnia] in practice and he was right on his shoulder. We saved Will for the 200, so I knew if I put Patrick in the 100, we'd be OK.”
Yougnia won the 200 in 22.5 seconds. Watson noted that the rainy conditions in last week’s meet may have kept Schlosser from recording a second county meet title in the discus.
“He's thrown 154 feet before, but that rain really got to him,” Watson said. “He's a great overall athlete. [He's] very coachable, works out every day, listens very well. He can do so many things. I could put him in the high jump, he throws the shot, and he can do hurdles as well.”
Postseason continues: County track and field teams will compete in their respective region meets this week. The 4A West meet is scheduled for 4 p.m. today and Thursday at Walt Whitman High. Frederick County’s Tuscarora High will play host to the 3A West championships on the same days and times, while Winters Mill of Carroll County will be the 2A West venue at 4 p.m. Thursday 10 a.m. Saturday.
The state meet is slated for May 24-26 at Morgan State University in Baltimore.