Ekpone takes three events at Mont­gomery In­vi­ta­tional

North­west star takes gold in 55M dash, 400, 4x200 re­lay

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports - BY CARL LIT­TLE lit­tlec@wash­post.com

Olivia Ekponewon­three events at the Mont­gomery In­vi­ta­tional on Satur­day in Lan­dover, show­ing yet again why she was one of the most sought-af­ter re­cruits in the coun­try.

Watch­ing Ekpone cir­cle the 200-me­ter track at the Prince Ge­orge’s Sports & Learn­ing Com­plex on Satur­day, it’s easy to see why she was so cov­eted. The North­west se­nior, who has com­mit­ted to two-time de­fend­ing NCAA out­door cham­pion Texas A&M, started the day with a vic­tory in the 55-me­ter dash, freez­ing the clock in 6.96 sec­onds, a per­sonal best to tie the meet record.

“I haven’t done any speed work what­so­ever,” said Ekpone, who is just the third girl in the coun­try to break seven sec­onds. “I feel very happy.”

She won the 400 a short while later. Ekpone made a com­pet­i­tive field look rather or­di­nary as she crossed in 56.79, 1.5 sec­onds faster than run­ner-up Alexis Franklin of OldMill.

The near-ca­pac­ity crowd got as loud as it had been all day dur­ing the 4x200 re­lay. It erupted into full-throated whoops soon af­ter Ekpone grabbed the ba­ton for the last leg of the race. She rock­eted from sec­ond place into first on the back­stretch be­fore kick­ing home and de­liv­er­ing the win. Britt Eck­er­strom, In­dia Knight, Sheri­dan Allen and Ekpone took gold in 1 minute 44.11 sec­onds.

The meet started on a more somber note. A moment of si­lence­wa­sob­servedin me­mory of Alex Popeck. Popeck, a ju­nior at Sher­wood and a mem­ber of theWar­riors’ track team, died Fri­day from in­juries suf­fered dur­ing a car ac­ci­dent on Dec. 12. He was 17. Mem­bers of Sher­wood’s track team wore black shirts dur­ing the meet to mark the pass­ing of their friend and team­mate.

Ekpone’s wasn’t the only na­tion­al­lyper­for­mance. The track in Lan­dover is a fast sur­face — it played host to Nike Indoor Na­tion­als from 2001 un­til the meet­was­moved­toBos­tonin2009 — and Eck­er­strom took ad­van­tage. She breezed to vic­tory in the in­vi­ta­tional 500 in 1:15.07, a meet record and the No. 1 time in the coun­try.

Champ Page was hardly out­done. The Wise ju­nior led the boys’ 500from­start tofin­ish, with­stand­ing a late charge from DeMatha’s ThomasGaither be­fore win­ning in 1:05.74. That time is the sec­ond­fastest boys’ time in the nation.

The boys from An­nan­dale fared well. John Jenk­ins was the No. 2 seed headed into the 55 hur­dles fi­nal, but the se­nior won con­vinc­ingly in 7.44, a meet record. Se­nior team­mate Joel Hois­ing­ton was equally dom­i­nant in the field. He won the shot put with 52 feet 9.75 inches, a toss more than three feet fur­therthanhis near­est­com­peti­tor.

Kennedy se­nior Thea La­Fond missed all three of her high jump at­tempts at 5-10, but won the com­pe­ti­tion with 5-8, earn­ing a share of the meet record. La­Fond was so over­come with joy that, af­ter get­ting up off the mat, she buried her face in her hands. Her pre­vi­ous best­mark­was 5-5. “I wasn’t ex­pect­ing this,” La­Fond said.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.