The Northwest High School boys track and field team scored a total of 10 points during last year’s state championship meet. That landed the Jaguars in 24th place. Had somebody predicted a Northwest 4A state title this year, the first thought would have been that they must be speaking of the always powerful girls.
But at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday at Morgan State University, coach Robert Youngblood was informed that his boys had just secured the Maryland 4A team title, beating out county rival Clarksburg, which had swept the county and region championships prior to this past weekend. And an hour later, he stood smiling with his teammates, a trophy that seemed most improbable last year, shimmering in his hands this year.
“I told the guys, they followed the lead of these girls,” Youngblood said. “The girls have been successful for years and they liked what they were doing and they bought into what I was telling them. Dahri [Jahn-Richardson] leading the sophomores through cross country and indoor, these guys showing up for throws — I don’t know, they all bought in.”
Northwest earned 68 points, finishing ahead of Clarksburg’s 51.5. Gaithersburg finished third.
In the girls team standings, Bowie cruised to the team title ahead of second-place Wootton. Bethesda-Chevy Chase finished fourth.
From the outset the Jags hopped on the back of sprinter Jalen Walker, who came through in sublime fashion, and the sophomore carried them all the way throughout their precipitous ascent. Walker, who scored five of those 10 points last year, won the individual 100 (10.95 seconds), 200 (22.26), led off the silver medalist 800 relay team (1 minute, 32.70 seconds) and then secured the school’s first ever boys team title by anchoring the victorious 1,600 relay (3:26.30).
“I told the guys, I said ‘Jalen is not a gimme,’” Youngblood said. “Even though he did pull it off.”
Added Walker: “I was shaking. I was shaking. Winning the one and two, the four-by-four, everything…. Northwest. You got to look for Northwest the next couple years, because we’re not going to slow down.”
Josh McDonald provided a huge boost in the 400, chasing winner Dorian Claggett all the way down to the final meter before taking second in 50.20 seconds and earning an invaluable eight points. The senior had previously led off the fifth place 3,200 relay team (8:15.27) which added another four points to the team total and rounded his meet out by granting Walker a comfortable lead in the 1,600 relay. And finally, as the sun was setting in Baltimore, the results of the last event was announced: Brandon Young had thrown a discus 138 feet, 5 inches, further than anybody in the state, good for another 10 points. That’s the stamp on the team state title.
“The Knights had it pointed in the right direction,” Youngblood said of former coaches David and Alexia Knight. They moved to Texas after last season. “I just tweaked it here and there and they’re state champs. Can you believe that?”
At last week’s 4A West Region championships, you were more likely to hear Thomas S. Wootton’s Gwen Shaw hacking up a lung than voicing a discernible sentence. Her breaths came in hoarse gasps. She labored through finishes that she typically cruises on. She was more bent on qualifying than hitting personal records — the most obvious sign she wasn’t quite right.
“Not quite, getting there,” she said of her recovery. “I started some antibiotics, got an inhaler, getting better slowly but surely. Doctors aren’t sure, they think it was tracheitis or laryngitis but they’re not quite sure what it was.”
Whatever it was that was draining Shaw at Col. Zadok Magruder last week didn’t carry over to Morgan State this weekend. The Louisville-bound senior remained undefeated on the year in the 100 hurdles, winning in 14.42 seconds to claim her first state crown in that event. She then followed that up with a neck-and-neck victory over Bowie’s Janice George in the 400 (56.60 seconds to 56.74); earned a bronze in her new event, the 200 (24.80) and anchored the Patriots second place 1,600 relay team (3:58.14).
“I knew I had to go out strong to stay up with Janice but she started leading me about halfway down and I had a moment of doubt whether or not I could pull it back,” Shaw admitted of her 400 race. “But I gave it everything I had and was like ‘The 400 is my race, the 200 doesn’t matter as much’ so I just gave it everything I could.”
Teammate Sylvia Deppen, meanwhile, captured the longer half of the hurdling events, winning the 300 meters in 45.59 seconds. She also tacked on a fifth place in the 100 hurdles (15.12), a silver in the 100 (12.15) and added a leg on the 1,600 relay.
Montgomery County’s other winners
Walt Whitman’s Clare Severe will go home to Montgomery County adorning a pair of gold medals. She took a wire-to-wire victory in the 1,600 (5:05.34) and later picked up a second in the 800 (2:17.27) with one of her signature kicks.
Poolesville’s Chase Weaverling, who won the 3,200 on Thursday’s drizzly meet, added his second top finish of the weekend in the 1,600, finishing in 4:24.50 to beat Edgewood’s Lenier Tucker by less than a second.
Elliott Davis was the lone male highlight from Quince Orchard, winning the triple jump with his bound of 45 feet, 6.75 inches to squeak past Old Mill’s Trevon Edwards by 1.75 inches.
Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association
State track and field championships
Class 4A girls
1. Bowie 92; 2. Thomas S. Wootton 64; 3. North Point 50; 4. Bethesda-Chevy Chase 39; 5. Leonardtown 33; 6. Walt Whitman 30; 7. Clarksburg 29; 8. Oxon Hill 26; 8. Richard Montgomery 26; 10. Northwest 25.5.
Class 4A boys
1. Northwest 68; 2. Clarksburg 51.5; 3. Henry A. Wise 44; 4. Gaithersburg 42; 5. Perry Hall 33; 6. Thomas S. Wootton 32; 7. North Point 31; 8. Quince Orchard 29.5; 9. Oxon Hill 29; 10. James H. Blake 28; 10. Old Mill 28; 10. Severna Park 28.
Class 3A girls
1. Thomas Stone 55; 2. Howard 54; 3. Milford Mill 48.5; 4. Huntingtown 47; 5. Linganore 39.5; 6. Aberdeen 39; 7. South Hagerstown 37; 8. Urbana 36; 9. La Plata 32; 10. Tuscarora.
Class 3A boys
1. Mount Hebron 58; 2. Hereford 55; 3. Digital Harbor 43; 4. Tuscarora 41; 4. Watkins Mill 41; 6. Howard; 7. Linganore 33; 7. Thomas Stone 33; 9. Centennial 31; 9. Baltimore City College 31.
Class 2A girls
1. Oakdale 89; 2. Middletown 77; 3. Largo 74; 3. Liberty 74; Frederick Douglass (PG) 45; 6. Harford Technical 43; 6. Henry E. Lackey 43; 8. South Carroll 37; 9. Century 29; 10. Long Reach.
Class 2A boys
1. Century 111; 2. Long Reach 62; 3. Edgewood 51; 4. Frederick Douglass (PG) 41; 5. Oakdale 33; 5. Largo 33; 5. Liberty 33; 5. Patuxent 33; 9. Fallston 24; 10. Poolesville 23.
Class 1A boys
1. Perryville 95.5; 2. Boonsboro 90; 3. Pikesville 83. 9. Forestville 21.