For the indoor track and field athletes, the goal is getting to states. In its first official meet, the team showed that the feat could be within reach for runners on both the boys’ and girls’ squads.
The Patriots finished in the top 25 repeatedly in both the boys’ and girls’ events, finding the most success in the sprints. Sophomore Keith Cartwright finished 15th in the 55-meter dash and 20th in the 300-meter dash, while junior Ana Scherf and freshman Mia Waller finished 22nd and 24th in the 55-meter dash, respectively, and Shireen Chavoshi was 17th in the 300-meter dash. Two Patriots, senior Samuel Li and sophomore Nicole Deprey, finished just outside the top 25 in the 500-meter event. The best relay by the team was the girls’ 4×200 meter, which placed eighth out of 22 teams.
On the distance side, no runners placed in the top 25 but all three leaders in the distance events, sophomores Richard Qiao, Lucia Splittgerber and Jaiden Shah all set massive personal records. Splittgerber, later named one of the two Athletes of the Week by the coaches, dropped 50 seconds off her previous mile time, while Qiao (5:08 in the 1600 meter) and Shah (11:32 in 3200, a personal record by 35 seconds) also chopped time off their personal bests. The team was shorthanded and will return many of its top runners, such as seniors Troy Davis and Gwen Klein, later in the season.
“I had a great performance,” Shah said of his 3200 race. “I’d been trying to get a personal record for a while and didn’t get it during outdoor track. To have such a big personal record on my first indoor race is great.”
The field team also made an impact, placing three athletes in the top 20 of their respective events. Senior Agbo Akor was just outside the top 10 in the high jump, senior Dominic Chow, senior Nicholas Chui and sophomore Dimagi Kottage finished eighth, 12th and 15th in the long jump, respectively, and senior Kaylin Moorer was 16th in the shot put. Chow’s performance earned him a share of Athlete of the Week honors by setting a personal record with a jump of 19’2”, an improvement of an inch over his outdoor track and field personal best.
Despite not finishing among the leaders, the team views the first meet as a positive. “There’s a lot of promise for people to qualify for regionals,” coach Matthew Davis said. “This could be our biggest team ever that we take to regionals.”
Over the next couple weeks, the coaches plan to bump up the intensity to prepare for the more meaningful meets. “We haven’t done anything at race pace, so we’re going to start doing more stuff at race pace, which will significantly improve performance,” Davis said.
The team will look to improve on its performance on Dec. 27 in another competition of MCPS schools. Until then, the athletes will have to put in the time and effort to boost their hopes of state contention.