Pearl Watts' Report
(Meet announcer Pearl Watts also covers HS track for the
Journal newspapers in northern Virginia)
While there were some top notch early season performances by Northern
Region individuals and teams at the Fifth Annual Friends of Indoor Track
(F.I.T.) Relays at the George Mason Fieldhouse on Saturday, athletes from
outside the region provided many of the highlights of note.
In boys field event action, Allen Simms of suburban Maryland's Eleanor
Roosevelt High was the meet's only double winner in taking both the long jump
and triple jump.
In the long jump, Simms did not seize the lead in the three attempt finals
until his final leap of the day with an effort of 22 feet, 11 inches to just
edge out by one quarter of an inch Rico Lloyd of Potomac (Va.) who had
recorded a mark of 22-10.75 earlier during the three attempt trials.
After winning that late morning event, Simms then came back in
mid-afternoon to break Cleveland McClory of West Potomac's 1995 meet record
of 48-1.5 in the triple jump with a superb mark of 50-0. Simms, a senior who
is headed for George Mason University next year, improved on his personal
best ever of 49-11 which he recorded outdoors last year and which made him
the number ten performer in the nation for the 1998-99 school year.
Middletown (Md.) junior Greg McCormick also had a fine day in equalling
Doug Humphrey of West Springfield's 1995 record in the high jump with his win
at 6-8 and McCormick then went over to the other side of Mason's infield to
finish second in the pole vault at 12-9.
The vault was won by Atlee's Val Osipenko at 13-3 to establish another meet
record while the other field event of the day saw Lake Braddock's Ernest
Hunter capture the shot put with a distance of 47-6.5.
Also, although Stonewall Jackson's Frank Tolen did not win an event, he
certainly should be a factor at the Northwest Region and AAA state level with
his runnerup finishes in the high jump (6-6) and triple jump (46-0) and third
place in the long jump at 22-5.25.
In the boys running events, the region had a good day with Patriot District
rivals Robinson, West Potomac and Lake Braddock taking three of the four
varsity level relay races.
In the distance medley relay (1,200 meters; 400; 800; 1,600) the Robinson
quartet of Andrew Dunnum, Greg Hermandorfer, Dan Marzluff and Brian Dumm were
the winners in 10 minutes, 45.2 seconds. Dunnum of the Rams led off in 3:17
for his 1,200 leg. That put his squad among a trio of teams fighting for
second place behind McLean after James Small of the Highlanders had burst out
of the lead pack after an opening 800 in 2:09 to record an excellent time of
3:09 for his 1,200 split to give McLean the early lead.
Robinson maintained its position through Hermandorfer's 400 (:55) and then
took the lead for good after Marzluff moved away from the field with his 1:58
carry for the 800. Brian Dumm then went 4:35 on the 1,600 leg for the Rams as
they won by almost six seconds over the West Springfield team which made up a
lot of ground on the rest of the field on Eric Callender's (800) and Neil
Suri's (1,600) legs.
West Potomac's 4x200 relay was only seeded in the middle of the pack among
the approximately forty teams entered in the event but their team of Marques
Coffie, Jermie Harris, Jerry Harris and Jamaal Mills had clear sailing
throughout in their five team section to win in 1:32.8 to just edge out High
Point's (Md.) 1:33.0 clocking from an earlier, higher seeded section.
Lake Braddock came very close to their school indoor record and also the
FIT Relays record in the 4x400 with their team of Frank Francois, Tim Oliver,
Brad Caldwell and Ashley Simmons winning in 3:26.6. The Bruins, like West
Potomac, won their event although they were not entered in the top seeded
section and it helped to atone for a dropped baton during their 4x200
exchange earlier in the day.
West Potomac took second in the 4x400 at 3:28.2 as they and Lake Braddock
look like they will have some tight contests later in the season in the
The tightest contest of the day though was the 4x800 relay with Suitland
(Md.) prevailing in 8:15.9 in a race that was thrilling the entire way. Seven
schools were in contention and traded the lead throughout the first three
legs before T.C. Williams' Busayo Ojumu took over on the anchor for the
Titans and held the lead for the first 400 meters.
Ojumu was then passed by Suitland anchor Shannon Hughes on the third lap
around the 200 meter unbanked track and Ojumu and Hughes fought for the lead
with Robinson then moving into the picture entering the final lap with Dan
Marzluff. Those three teams then vied for the lead down the final backstretch
only to have Lake Braddock enter the fray with Tim Oliver (sub 1:57 anchor
leg) providing the excitement.
Hughes of Suitland had enough left down the homestretch to give his team
the win in 8:15.9 with Lake Braddock ultimately getting second in 8:16.6
while T.C. Williams held on for third (8:17.6) and Robinson finished fourth
In girls field event action, meet records were set in three of the five
events. Centreville's Charlotte LaRoche captured the pole vault at 10-3 to
break the record of 10-0 set last year by Natalie Dye of Middletown. In so
doing, LaRoche bested defending indoor and outdoor state champion Carrie
Bennett of Hayfield who also went a meet record height of 10-3 but finished
second on the basis of misses to LaRoche.
Defending outdoor state champion India Odum of Hayfield picked up where she
left off last year in taking the shot put in a meet record of 41-0.5 to erase
the 1995 standard 40-4 set by Robinson's Kristy Martin. West Potomac's
Jessica Bolton placed third at 36-7 for a state meet automatic qualifier as
the Patriot District took five of the first eight spots with automatic
regional meet qualifiying efforts or better for those five Patriot putters.
The other meet record was set by junior Jennifer Nelms of Spotsylvania in
the high jump with an excellent early season effort of 5-8 to better Gigi
Miller of Gar-Field's 1996 mark of 5-6. The slender but smooth Nelms was also
the National Scholastic outdoor champion at 5-10.5 last year and she
defeated, among others, Jefferson's Krystle Moss who equalled the previous
record of 5-6 in finishing second.
The other field event winners were Jefferson's Nikki Woodhouse in the
triple jump (37-2.75) and Caroline Harvey of Atlee in the long jump (18-8.25)
with McLean senior Ayanna Alexander finishing second in both the long jump
(17-7.5) and triple jump (37-0).
In the running events Jefferson set a meet record in the 4x800 relay and
Lake Braddock easily captured the distance medley relay.
Jefferson's foursome of Andrea Lopez, Kathy O'Malley, Aparna Nancherla and
Kelley Otstott ran 9:43.2 to take down Manchester's 1996 mark of 9:44.3 with
Ostott providing the main impetus with her 2:18 split on the anchor leg.
Hayfield also ran an automatic state qualifier at 9:51.8 anchored by senior
Lake Braddock came close to Jefferson's 1997 meet mark of 12:25.6 with
their victory in the DMR by almost twenty seconds at 12:27.9. The Bruins led
off with Heather McCarthy on the 1,200 and then followed with Shawnette Adams
in the 400 and sophomore Regent Salimbangon for the 800.
Salimbangon then gaver the baton to cross country Foot Locker Finalist Erin
Swain and the Lake Braddock senior did not disappoint in recording splits of
:71; 2:26 and 3:45 enroute to her final 1,600 time of 5:03 to easily take the
The other varsity relays were won by Eleanor Roosevelt in the 4x400 at
4:03.5 with T.C. Williams a strong second in 4:05.7 and by Largo (Md.) in the
4x200 at 1:44.4 with T.C. Williams once again the top regional team with
their fourth place finish in 1:48.2.