Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Largo boys earn long-awaited title

Oxon Hill girls also prove victorious

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Raphael Talisman⁄The Gazette
Largo’s Anthony Makel makes a strong leap in the long jump at last week’s county championship meet at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.
Every team in sports has the goal of beating the best. Two teams got to do exactly that on Thursday as the defending champions were dethroned at the Prince George’s County Indoor Track Championships at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.

The Oxon Hill girls (102 points) and Largo boys (76 points) captured county team titles, ending a streak of three consecutive county championship sweeps by the Eleanor Roosevelt girls and boys.

The Largo boys set a milestone of their own as this was the first boys’ team to win a county title in coach Darryl Hamilton’s 14 years with the program. The victory was an example of a team-wide effort, as the Largo did not win a single individual event or relay competition but had enough high finishes to hold off Roosevelt (69 points).

Hamilton and the Lions were elated when the announcement of the team’s championship was made, but Hamilton wanted to give most of the credit to his assistant coaches.

‘‘It’s been a long time coming,” said Largo assistant and former athlete Onyachi Chuku. ‘‘We told them at the beginning of the year that they could win if they come out with the attitude that they could walk away with the county title.”

Longtime county track and field coach, teacher and former Parkdale High athletic director Dave Sellers said he could not remember the last time the Largo boys won a county championship.

The Oxon Hill girls won in decisive fashion. Deseree King’s individual titles in the 500-meter run (1 minute, 15.5 seconds) and 800 (2:19.6) led the way and earned her the meet’s most outstanding performer honors for girls’ track events.

Clippers’ coach Walter Cross talked about the relevance of the team’s triumph.

‘‘We have a bunch of young girls that put in hard work and came through,” Cross said of his team, which bested defending champion Eleanor Roosevelt (90 points). ‘‘It was a tough team battle, but the coaches that were here before me [Rick Williams and Derrell Quick] put together the foundation of this team and I have been fortunate enough to see the team finally pull it out.”

As for the individuals, the day belonged to Henry A. Wise senior Ernest Cooper on the boys’ side, as he was named most oustanding performer for track events.

Cooper won the 55 hurdles (8.07 seconds) and the 300 (35.93 seconds) and led the Pumas’ 800 relay team to a second-place finish.

Fairmont Heights senior Vanessa Henry was named the girls’ most outstanding performer for field events as she claimed the shot put title with a throw of 40 feet, 7.50 inches, more than 5 feet ahead of second-place Mikelle Leigh (35-2.50) of Largo.

High Point senior Leslie Murray was named the boys’ most outstanding performer for field events with his county record-breaking leap of 22 feet, 8.25 inches in the long jump. The mark bested former Suitland High star Deyon Williams’ record jump of 22-4. Murray also won the boys’ 500 (1:06.1) and captured second place in the high jump (5-10).

While the rest of the county may not have been aware, Bowie juniors Casandra Bolden and Adrienne Tolson knew they could be a dominant tandem in the 55-meter hurdles.

The two have placed in the top three in virtually every meet and invitational they have participated in this season. At the county championships, Bolden finished first and Tolson took second. They hope to carry over their momentum to 4A East Region championships, set for Tuesday at the Baltimore Armory.

“They both have been doing tremendous this season,“ Bulldogs’ coach Rick Andrulonis said. “They’re both juniors and both have put in a lot of hard work to get to where they are this season. I’m so proud of them.“

Bowie’s quartet of Tosin Babatundi, Dennis Thomas, Cyrus Britt and Emanuel Noumossie combined to win the boys’ 800 relay at the county championships and are taking aim at a spot in the state championships.

DuVal senior Ade Adeokun could be a sleeper contender in the 55 dash, as he finished second at the county championships.

The Flowers’ girls finished third overall as a team with 86 points. Oxon Hill’s girls (127 points) and the Largo girls (144 points) won the Division I (Class 4A) and the Division II (Class 3A⁄2A⁄1A) championships, respectively.

The High Point boys finished third overall as a team with 50 points, while the Wise boys (86 points) and the Largo boys (166 points) won the Division I and the Division II championships, respectively.

E-mail Terron Hampton at