Even in a race where one of its runners froze and another suffered a bloody shin, the Gaithersburg High School boys' track and field relay team still finished first.
Competing at Saturday's 42nd annual Judge Charles W. Woodward Relays at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, the team of Kayuza Kelvin Masanja, Vicco Bedell, Solomon Vault and Danniel Belay overcame a mix-up — caused by a surprise whistle blown to clear the track — to take first place in the 1,600 sprint medley (3 minutes, 35.98 seconds).
“That shows no matter what is trying to stop us, we can always pick ourselves back up and finish up strong,” Kelvin Masanja said.
Gaithersburg came within four seconds of breaking the 1,600 sprint medley meet record in spite of the whistle that left the runners confused and caused a temporary stoppage. Bedell took a spike to the shin on the hand-off following the whistle and was forced to miss the 1,600 relay, but still managed to help his team win the event.
The Trojans' 400-relay team (Bedell, Jamal Leonard, Xaviyer Mosley and Vault) took first place (42.95), as did the 800-relay team (Bedell, Leonard, Vault, Kelvin Masanja), with a time of 1:29.06.
“It's just been chemistry,” Gaithersburg coach Adrian McDaniel said. “They push each other and work hard, so when one's slacking, they push to get it together. It's great team chemistry, they encourage each other.”
The Paint Branch girls' team beat out Charles H. Flowers to take first place in the annual event.
“It's just really exciting for me to work with people I'm close to and be progressing like this,” said Adassa Phillips, who helped the Panthers win the 1,600 relay (3:59.80) and the 800-relay (1:43.52).
The girls broke a meet record in the 800-relay, which was previously set by Paint Branch in 1995.
“They're the type of athletes where we put a plan in place and they're willing to commit to executing it,” Paint Branch coach Dessalyn Dillard said.
The Paint Branch boys' team finished atop all Montgomery County schools, tying with Gilman for second place. The Panthers took first in the 1,600 relay (3:23.33) while Devonte Johnson recorded the top shot put throw (50 feet, 10 inches) and Isaiah White had the top discus throw (134-3).
“Across the board, we had a solid performance from our guys group,” Dillard said. “We knew it coming in, it was just a matter of them living up to what's on paper.”
Other top performers include Flowers sophomore Daiysa Burrell, who recorded personal bests in the shot put (30-0.5) and discus (110-3) and teamed up with Alanna Hunt to take first place in the girls' shot put and discus relay events.
“It's been going really well,” Burrell said. “Last year I wasn't expecting to come this far, this year I'm just trying to do better than what I did last year, and it's been showing.”
Walter Johnson's girls' distance medley team (Kiernan Keller, Tiffani Davis, Victoria Gregorio and Jasmine Garrett) finished first (12:35.95) and broke a meet record set in 2011.
Richard Montgomery's boys' 3,200-relay team (Emmanuel Porquin, Matt Agboola, Adam Jung and Stephen Alexander) took first place (7:52.14), missing the meet record by .32 seconds. That same lineup broke the meet record in the 6,400 relay (17:59.30), finishing in second place behind Severna Park.