Be superhuman. Is that so much to ask?
Northwest High School indoor track and field coach Robert Youngblood’s message to the Jaguar boys prior to Tuesday’s Class 4A state meet held at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex was quite simple: Basically, they had to perform above their capabilities.
“I made a judgement call, I told the guys, I put them in the right events and if they do a superhuman job, this is not out of reach,” Youngblood said.
That is exactly what the Northwest boys did. Personal best after personal best resulted in the Jaguar boys’ first-ever indoor track state championship. The win followed up last spring’s first outdoor state title.
Just three points separated first from third place Tuesday. Northwest, which finished fourth in the meet-finale 1,600-meter relay despite competing in the “slow” heat, edged this winter’s Montgomery County champion Paint Branch by two points, 48-46. Prince George’s County’s Bowie (45 points), which stepped outside the shadow of the defending champion Bulldog girls in 2014 for the first time in recent history, and Eleanor Roosevelt (30) finished third and fifth, respectively. Anne Arundel County’s Severna Park (37) placed fourth.
“We weren’t supposed to win,” an emotional Youngblood said. “It was supposed to be between Paint Branch, Bowie and Oxon Hill. It’s incredible. ... It takes a total commitment. A lot of kids between events go chill on the bleachers. Our kids line the railing, they’re cheering for our 4x4 in the slow heat. It’s that commitment toward each other [that wins state titles].”
Anne Arundel County’s South River won its first girls’ championship Monday with a 43.50-34.50 edge over Clarksburg in second. James H. Blake (34), Winston Churchill (32) and Walter Johnson (27) rounded out the top five.
Coyotes coach Scott Mathias said he was extremely proud of the way his four-athlete girls’ contingent won almost every possible point it could to earn the runner-up position.
The Class 3A championship, which was held concurrently Monday night, was won by the Long Reach (Howard County) boys and Huntingtown (Calvert County) girls. The Seneca Valley girls’ sixth-place finish was the only top 10 result from either Montgomery or Prince George’s counties.
Northwest got crucial wins from Diego Zarate (1,600-meter run) and Austin Castleberry (high jump) Monday. Clarksburg’s Claudia Ababio won the shot put and Alexus Pyles the 55-meter hurdles.
Other individual winners from Montgomery County Monday included, Walt Whitman’s Clare Severe (800-meter run, 3,200-meter relay), Walter Johnson’s Kieran Keller (1,600-meter run), Blake’s Martha Sam (300-meter dash), Col. Zadok Magruder’s Bethany White (55-meter dash) and Paint Branch’s Devonte Johnson (shot put).
Check out www.mpssaa.org for full results.