George C. Marshall High School’s indoor track and field team started the season on the right foot, with numerous individual titles and the boys placing second overall, at Episcopal High School’s quad meet on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Junior Lance Cheng literally jumped out in front, taking wins in the pits of the long and triple jumps despite battling ankle pain. Cheng secured his third event title of the day, turning in a personal best in the 55m hurdles and qualifying for the Liberty District finals in the process.
Fellow junior Oscar Olazo, an All-Regional performer in middle distance, showcased his speed by taking the 500m dash title, hitting the Liberty District qualification mark for the event in the process. Olazo was key to the Statesmen’s success, placing second in the 300m dash, and providing a strong lead-off leg on the winning 4x400m relay.
The second leg of the winning relay, Patrick Roddy, dropped nearly half a second in the 55m dash and also turned in a personal best in the 55m hurdles. He was followed in the race by freshman Akkarin Chorachaturaphak, who ran a strong third leg for the Statesmen, as well as turning in a personal best performance in the 500m dash.
The winning relay team was anchored by triple-jump runner-up Matthew Musise. The junior had a stellar day, achieving personal bests in every event, long jump, triple jump, 55m dash, and 300m dash.
Also contributing to the Statesmen’s second place finish, (district rival WT Woodson captured the team title,) was junior Michael Born who captured runner-up honors in the high jump and fifth in the long jump in his first career meet.
Sophomore Alexander Saures, fourth in the shot put, and junior William Haugh, who was second in the 1000m, also contributed to the team’s all around effort.
Despite a few noteworthy absences due to the SATs, the individual efforts of the boys squad helped propel the Statesmen squad to 60 total points, just two shy of team- champion, Woodson.
The girls meet was equally thrilling, featuring the debut of highly touted freshman Brittany Johnson. She did not disappoint, going in the race as an unseeded selection and coming out with the top spot, after running an impressive 55m dash. Johnson followed that up with runner-up performances in both the high jump and long jump events.
The Lady Statesmen also captured the first event on the day, the 4×800 relay, with a team of sophomores Chandler Dennison and Tara Cappiello, newcomer Crystal Courtner and multiple District Champion and All-State athlete Jacqueline Hargrove.
Dennison also took runner-up honors in the 300m dash, while last year’s Outstanding Freshman of the Year, Cappiello, dropped nearly four seconds to clinch second in the 500m dash.
Johnson wasn’t the only newcomer to make her mark on the Statesmen team as reigning cross-country Freshman of the Year Breslin Toole captured two fourth-place finishes in the 1000m and 1600m run. Toole’s impressive performances put her only four seconds off Cappiello’s debut performance, which last year propelled her to the regional championship.
Rounding out the scorers for the Statesmen Saturday morning was Courtner, whose first meet successes continued as she placed third in the 500m dash, and senior Gabriela Rangel-Lafuente who took fifth in the 300m dash.
Both squads hope to build on these early season performances as they travel to George Mason University for the George Mason Invitational tournament meet this Saturday, December 9, at 9:15 a.m.