The Washington Post
W. Springfield freshman gets historic win on mat
Elaina Primozic remembers getting blasted by a comebacker when pitching in a softball game. As she crumpled to the ground and onlookers cringed at what looked like a nasty injury, Primozic’s first instinct was to grab the ball and throw it to first.
“You go to the whistle. Just because something hurts doesn’t mean you stop,” Primozic said.
That type of competitive attitude has served Primozic well.
On Saturday, the West Springfield freshman, who was also the starting goalkeeper for the Spartans’ field hockey team, closed the season by winning the 156pound title at the first Virginia High School League girls’ championships. She was the only D.c.-area wrestler to win a title at Unity Reed High in Manassas; Sophia Cardoza Flores of Justice took second at 225.
Primozic started wrestling in fourth grade but missed the past two seasons because of the pandemic and injuries, so she became a manager when she arrived at West Springfield for her freshman year. It only took about a week for her to email Coach Pat Smith, who gladly welcomed her to the team.
Events such as Saturday’s state meet create more avenues for girls to get involved more quickly in high school wrestling.
“It feels like our sport is becoming real because a lot of times in the past it was like you were the ‘unofficial’ champion,” said Christina Pericli, a senior at Robinson who has been wrestling since her freshman year and placed sixth among 127-pounders. “Seeing so many people show up made it feel so real. We deserve to compete and get equal recognition to the boys.”
— Shane Connuck
Indoor track and field
After transferring to Dematha in January, shot putter Caleb Barley immediately got to work with his new team to change his throwing technique.
Barley first learned the event using the glide method; common for beginners, it involves a backward hop before a turn to launch the put. Now a junior, Barley knows new personal records will require new strategies, so this season he has focused on a different throwing method: the spin.
“When you’re spinning, if something shifts just slightly, you can end up getting completely thrown off balance,” Barley said. “So it gets really frustrating ... but once you start to get it, you start noticing a lot of big changes in your distances.”
So far, despite the added pressure of practicing new techniques during competition, Barley’s training has provided big results.
At a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference invitational at George Mason University on Saturday, Barley won the shot put with a throw of 51 feet 4 inches, a personal record and nearly six feet farther than the next-best thrower.
He’s confident that continued practice on the spin will lead to even bigger numbers. Barley has his sights set on 55 feet when he competes at New Balance Indoor Nationals in Boston next week, and he expects to grow from there during the outdoor season.
“Once I got in the ring,” Barley said, “everything going through my mind was just, ‘Go fast, stay balanced and launch the ball.’ ”
— Aaron Credeur
After Rockville’s boys clinched their first Maryland 3A/2A/1A title in program history Saturday at Eppley Recreation Center in College Park, the Rams passed around silver and gold markers. One by one, the members of the team signed their names on the back of the wooden trophy, marks of their contributions to an unprecedented season.
“It’s their trophy — they won it,” Coach Jim Castonguay said. “So they put their names on it.”
Rockville’s 318-point finish at the meet was enough to push past rival Poolesville, which had won the meet each of the previous 10 seasons. The Falcons finished in second place with 306 points.
Senior Toby Barnett, an Indiana commit, did his job in his final high school meet, lapping half of his heat in the 500-yard freestyle to win one of two individual state titles on the evening. His brother, freshman Brig Barnett, won the 200 freestyle in 1:43.18, and junior Linus Ament won the 200 individual medley in 1:56.90.
“All eight of the boys that swam contributed points. They all contributed vital aspects [to the win],” Castonguay said.
Saturday’s win brought Rockville’s first state championship in any sport since 1996. For the first time in more than two decades, the school will get the chance to add a state title to its trophy cabinet.