Rival high school girls track and field teams in Montgomery County and across the state should take notice.
For the first time in quite a while, the Richard Montgomery girls are solid across the board, and coach Davy Rogers said he believes his team is getting better.
“They run their hearts off for each other, especially on the relays” Rogers said. “This is the best group of girls since we started 10 years ago. We’ve had some good girls, but not this many at one time.”
Perhaps the biggest component of the Rockets’ upside is their youth. With middle distance runner Elena De La Paz the lone senior on the team, the numerous juniors, sophomores and freshmen have the team primed for future success.
“We have a lot of talent on our team and when we motivate each other, we can definitely improve,” said junior hurdler Marilyn Rodriguez, who Rogers said has been the team’s most valuable runner this season. “The improvement that we’ve made from last year to this year has been exponential. I think by next year, we can really kick it into high gear.”
The results paint a picture in line with Rodriguez’s comments. Look at the leader board link on Mocorunning.com and see the Rockets posting top-10 times in nearly all of the relays. They possess the second-fastest sprint medley time (4 minutes, 26.14 seconds), third-best 800-meter relay (1:43.98) and top-10 times in the 400, 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
Two weeks ago, the Rockets finished sixth in the Montgomery County Championships and improved on that mark with a fifth-place finish at the 4A West Region Championships last week.
The Rockets don’t need much but themselves. The energy that pushes their improvement comes from within.
“It’s all about teamwork for us,” junior captain Dasia Adams said. “I always feel like I don’t want my team to be mad at me so I just run my hardest for them. At the end of the day I just do it for them. I am the captain for the team and I always motivate them to do their best and we push off each other all the time.”
Rogers pointed out an example that illustrates the abundant altruism that defines the team.
“Our 200 runner [Adams] went out and ran a killer leadoff in the [800 relay]. Then she turns around and doesn’t run so well in the open 200,” Rogers said. “I think they run more for their teammates than themselves.”
The Rockets use team unity to fuel performance.
“Having your teammates motivated and trying to win for you just motivates you to try harder and be the best in your event and to just keep pushing forward and make it to the top,” Rodriguez said. “We all sacrifice sleeping and kind of doing homework sometimes to stay at practice and get those extra runs through for whatever events you’re in. Sometimes you have that momentum when you have to run anchor leg for the [1,600 relay] and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do it’ and they’re like, ‘We need you’ and you have to do it.”
“I think summer training and the cross country season has really brought the team together,” sophomore Grace Hangar said. “I met my best friend in cross country last year. She’s in the International Baccalaureate program. I meet a lot of my friends from the track team.”
Rogers said the team plans to install some extra measures into its training regimen. That along with the talent and the formula the coaches already have in place has Rogers thinking big for the future.
“I think that they know that they’re good but we just keep telling them how much better they can be with a little bit of extra work with summer training, with the weight room in the fall,” Rogers said. “They see what some of these other teams are doing like Northwest and Wootton. They started young and continued to build. They know that they can’t stop working and that’s a good thing. The possibilities for what this group can do are endless. We’re looking to make a move for the state championship next year.”