Kaos Williams sat casually on the Quince Orchard High School grass, chatting with a few teammates with his gray hoodie pulled over his head. When the student directing the high jump called his name, he stripped off the sweatshirt and his baggy shorts to ensure no extra clothing clipped the bar, bounced a few times and made his approach, floating well over the 6-foot-0 height.
“He makes it look so easy,” muttered a parent onlooker at Saturday's Quince Orchard Cougar Relays.
Really, that parent had no idea how just easy the event has come for the Clarksburg senior, who was competing in his second ever track meet. Williams would eventually go on to edge Quince Orchard's Jack O'Keefe for first place while teammate and good friend Matthew Adedeji, who missed a 6-foot clearance by no more than a fingernail, rooted from just beyond.
“I mean, I just don't think too much,” Williams said. “I just try to go, get to my goal, and then keep going from there.”
Quince Orchard's boys won the team title with 66 points while Middletown won the girls side (56).
A basketball player over winter, jumping is nothing new to Williams. After the hoops season came to a close, Adedeji cajoled his teammate into trying out the high jump and, more out of boredom than anything, Williams complied.
“My younger teammates helped me learn the form and stuff,” he said. “I already knew I had the jumping ability, but the only thing was my form and they kind of helped me learn my form and everything.”
While Williams was making a 6-foot-2 clearance look as nonchalant as a warm-up layup line, Gwen Shaw and the Thomas S. Wootton 800-meter relay team were making it as difficult as possible on their Bowie counterparts.
Bowie's Taylor Williams took the baton on the final leg with a seemingly insurmountable lead and, making the turn into the final stretch, appeared as if the meet record — set last year by Northwest — would be the only competition to be had. But Shaw, one of the top hurdlers and sprinters in the state who, fittingly enough, was wearing a Flash sweatshirt when not racing, charged around the corner, eating up enormous swaths of track while Williams labored home.
Shaw's kick in the final 100 meters had more than a handful of boys wondering aloud if she could beat their teammates, but the Bulldogs — comprised of Lexus Ramsey, Latrease Magwood, Jazmine Wiggs and Williams — held on for far and away the most thrilling finish of the day, which came down to less than a tenth of a second combined between Wootton, Bowie and South Hagerstown.
“We — our four-by-two — we hold ourselves to high standards,” Magwood said.
Added Ramsey: “She got it, and it's OK even if she don't got it, it's good. I just do it for conditioning, and I'm tired.”
Bowie was also a pretty heavy favorite to take home the 1,600-relay, seeded a full second better than Our Lady of Good Counsel, but it wound up being Middletown — comprised of Natalie Smith, Megan Kelly, Zoe Wolfe and Stephanie Bidle — that crossed first.
“This is the most competition we've had all year,” Smith said. “We chased whoever was in front of us.”
Wootton's Josh Trzeciak, the reigning outdoor Runner of the Year and defending Class 4A 800-meter champ, had a strong showing in his first meet of the season, beating Linganore's Patrick Duboyce and Good Counsel's Collin Crilly in the mile. He also made a strong case for an entry into the Penn Relays.
The other half of the two-headed Wootton hurdling monster, Sylvia Deppen, set a new top mark in the 300-hurdles, finishing in 44.4 seconds and lowering the previous season-best in Maryland, set by Frederick Douglass' Modesty Lorick, by more than a second.
Northwest's vaunted relays weren't quite as dominant as usual, winning just one, but in the relay they did win, they sizzled. The Jaguars flew for a 9 minute, 45.1 second performance in the 3,200-relay, beating second-place Middletown by 14 seconds and setting a new Maryland season best by seven seconds.
Clarksburg High jumpers Naja McAdam and Alexus Pyles continued their strong debuts to the outdoor season, each clearing 5-02, finishing second and third respectively, and helping the Coyotes to a second place finish.
Claudia Ababio appears to be picking up where Eleanor Roosevelt's Alexus Scott left off in challenging Bowie's Antonella Taylor. The duo competed in the discus and shot put with Ababio taking the shot and Taylor taking the discus, while the loser in each finished second. Ababio's throw of 42-04 in the shot put is the new No. 1 throw in Maryland.
The Linganore and Wootton boys 1,600 sprint medley relay teams closed the seven hour meet in speedy fashion, with the Lancers racing ahead for a 3:38.2 time and the Patriots finishing in 3:40.1. Both obliterated the previous top time in the state, which was set by Mt. Hebron at 3:43.52.
1. William Bertrand, Clarksburg (32:09.8). 2. Ryan Forsyth, Severna Park (32:26.3). 3. David Levine, Wootton (31:07.2).
1. Josh Trzeciak, Wootton (4:20.2). 2. Collin Crilly, Good Counsel (4:23.0). 3. Patrick DuBoyce, Linganore (4:25.6).
1. Aaron Tian, Wootton (40.4). 2. Andrew Ankrah, Quince Orchard (40.7). 3. Garrett Fanshawe, Severna Park (40.8).
1. Gaithersburg (44.2). 2. Bowie (44.3). 3. Quince Orchard (44.6).
1. Bowie (1:32.1). 2. Northwest (1:32.2). 3. Gaithersburg (1:32.9).
1. Gaithersburg (3:30.2). 2. Broadneck (3:32.6). 3. Williamsport (3:33.6).
1. Severna Park (8:11). 2. Good Counsel (8:14.9). 3. Paint Branch (8:16.7).
1,600 Sprint Medley
1. Linganore (3:38.2). 2. Wootton (3:40.1). 3. Gaithersburg (3:44.9).
1. Severna Park (10:43.5). 2. Northwest (10:56.5). 3. Paint Branch (10:57.9).
1. Williamsport (1:06.5). 2. Gaithersburg (1:09.7). 3. Quince Orchard (1:11.0).
1. Kaos Williams, Clarksburg (6-02). 2. Jack O'Keefe, Quince Orchard (6-02). 3. Christian Bikim, Quince Orchard (6-00).
1. Danny Stringer, Severna Park (13-06). 2. Robert Carroll, Damascus (12-00). 3. Brandon Kline, Williamsport (11-06).
1. Elliot Davis, Quince Orchard (20-10). 2. Matthew Seifu, Sidwell Friends (20-09). 3. Sytta Barry, Paint Branch (20-05).
1. Elliot Davis, Quince Orchard (45-09.25). 2. Matthew Adedeji, Clarksburg (41-00.50). 3. Sytta Barry, Paint Branch (25-05).
1. Andrew Volz, South Hagerstown (50-02). 2. Devonte Johnson, Paint Branch (47-04.50). 3. Dan Stokes, South Hagerstown (45-05).
1. Caroline Beakes, B-CC (26-08.5). 2. Nora McUmber, B-CC (26:57.3). 3. Lucie Noall, Clarksburg (25:38.9).
1. Helen Webster, B-CC (5:25.2). 2. Sydney Almeida, Springbrook (5:26.5). 3. Abby Fry, B-CC (5:27.6).
1. Sylvia Deppen, Wootton (44.4). 2. Megan Kelly, Middletown (45.4). 3. Hayley Freeman, South Hagerstown (46.6).
1. South Hagerstown (50.7). 2. Northwest (51.2). 3. Gaithersburg (51.6).
1. Bowie (1:44.7). 2. Wootton (1:44.7). 3. South Hagerstown (1:44.8).
1. Middletown (4:08.4). 2. Paint Branch (4:11.2). 3. Bowie (4:11.5).
1. Northwest (9:45.1). 2. Middletown (9:59.2). 3. Quince Orchard (10:01.2).
1,600 Sprint Medley
1. Wootton (4:24). 2. C.H. Flowers (4:30.3). 3. Paint Branch (4:33.8).
1. B-CC (13:01.9). 2. Northwest (13:21.6). 3. Severna Park (13:28.2).
1. Churchill (1:08.8). 2. Wootton (1:09.8). 3. Middletown (1:11.1).
1. Stacey Christy, Williamsport (5-04). 2. Naja McAdam, Clarksburg (5-02). 3. Alexus Pyles, Clarksburg (5-02).
1. Emma Staisloff, Severna Park (11-00). 2. Brittani Shawen, Severna Park (8-06). 3. Catherine Panasenkov, Quince Orchard (8-00).
1. Leondra Correia, Northwest (16-11.50). 2. Fanny Chen, Churchill (16-05). 3. Laila Ismail, B-CC (15-09).
1. Kenyetta Louis, Bowie (34-008). 2. Alexus Pyles, Clarksburg (34-04). 3. Samantha Johnson, Linganore (32-06).
1. Claudia Ababio, Clarksburg (42-04). 2. Antonella Taylor, Bowie (40-03). 3. Paige Bussard, Middletown (35-00.50).
1. Antonella Taylor, Bowie (126-04). 2. Claudia Ababio, Clarksburg (112-03). 3. Tiffany Cancel, Clarksburg (109-10).
1. Quince Orchard (66)
2. Northwest (41)
3. Gaithersburg (40)
1. Middletown (56)
2. Clarksburg (54)
3. Wootton (49)