- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
LANDOVER — It was all about the double up on Saturday afternoon at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex during the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference indoor track and field championships.
North Point Eagles senior jumper Danielle Baker won the high jump and triple jump gold medals, but that was only one double championship for the Eagles team.
With a team score of 106, the North Point girls won its second-straight SMAC championship ahead of second-place Thomas Stone with 93 points and third-place Leonardtown with 75 points. Huntingtown (71) and La Plata (47) rounded out the girls top five.
The Huntingtown Hurricanes boys won the SMAC title with 114.5 points, ahead of North Point with 112 points. Stone (66), Lackey (50) and Westlake (40) rounded out the boys top five boys finishers.
For Baker, who also placed second overall in the long jump and just shy of triple gold, coming into the SMAC championship was different than any other meet because of the cut down of practices due to weather, also evidenced by the meet’s start time being pushed back from 8 a.m. to noon.
“It feels really good,” Baker said of her golds, “especially since we haven’t practiced in a while, due to the whole snow thing. I just gave it my all [by] working with my natural talent and knowing what I can do.”
On her coming just short of a third gold medal, Baker added, jokingly, “I wanted three, but, you know, things happen.”
North Point head coach Debbie Hall watched as Mercedes Tillman (300) and the Eagles’ 800-meter relay team also won SMAC gold medals en route to the team title.
“This was a total team effort,” Hall said. “They all worked hard and did their parts. I am very proud of all of them, every single one of them. I am proud of every freshman, every sophomore, every junior and every senior.”
Stone senior Rachel Halmon won the 800 run in 2 minutes 25.78 seconds, and the Cougars’ 1,600-relay team of Miranda Wood, Jasmin Daniels, Kolbi Sims and Halmon set a new SMAC record in the event, finishing in 4:07.46 to earn gold and help the Cougars earn second overall.
Leonardtown senior Heidi Reed won gold in the 1,600 in 5:31.92, helping the Raiders earn third overall. Huntingtown’s Shania Collins (500) won gold, and the Hurricanes girls 3,200-relay team of Sarah Osborne, Stephanie Athens, Clarke Hooper and Kaliyah Gorman set a new SMAC record in its gold-medal winning race, helping the Hurricanes to fourth.
La Plata pulled off a double of its own as April Sherrice Williams (long jump) and Paige DeMent (shot put) each won respective gold medals.
Despite battling illness that admittedly affected her breathing, Lackey senior Alexis Murry won two gold medals in the 55 dash and 55 hurdles.
“My breathing was off, so I just took deep breaths really slow and drunk water when I got [back] up there,” she said of dealing with her cold.
“It feels really good. It feels really good because I really wanted the . I didn’t get it, but this feels better than earlier.”
Calvert’s Courtney Mattson won gold in the 3,200 run.
The doubling up continued on the boys side, with Huntingtown senior Quajae Jones earning gold in the long jump and 55 hurdles, setting a new SMAC record in 7.57 seconds, breaking the 2008 record of Huntingtown graduate Zach Ray (7.62).
Jones was the major catalyst behind the Hurricanes earning the SMAC team trophy.
“It feels good to build up a team that can bring home a championship such as SMAC and possible regionals,” Jones said.
Huntingtown head coach Valerie Harrington was elated after the final scores were tallied and totaled.
“You know what, we were waiting for this,” Harrington said. “We’ve been wanting a SMAC championship banner to hang in the gym, so this is very exciting. I thought the guys might have a chance to do it and I knew it would be close. ... I am just proud of the whole team and how they did.”
Chris Jones of the second-place North Point boys team took double gold after winning the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
“I think it was my brother, [Patrick],” Jones said. “Sometimes, I go out a little too slow, but he took it out [fast] and helped me along a little bit for the first half ... because I finish well.”
The North Point 800- and 3,200-relay teams and Chey Harris (high jump) also earned gold medals, helping the Eagles to place second.
The Stone boys placed third overall on the strength of a 300 dash gold medal from sophomore Juwuan Briscoe and a 1,600-relay gold medal from the foursome of Vaughn Walker, Daylon Sims, Raymond Robinson and Briscoe.
Lackey earned fourth overall aided by a Markael Jenkins gold in the 55 dash, and Westlake earned fifth helped by a gold from freshman Camari Murray in the 500 dash.
Leonardtown finished with two golds after Will Liebler (800) and Daltyn Earl (shot put) won their respective events.
“It’s great, and I have been trying to throw as far as I can the entire year,” Earl admitted. “Practicing with the team has really helped out a lot, and it’s been great. We’ve all been working hard and getting better.”
Patuxent’s Ishmael Kamara earned gold in the triple jump.