Lake Braddock's Melanie Akwule will be relied on for big points in not only the hurdles as the returning Northern Region runner-up, but also as one of the top seeds in the 55 meter dash, long jump, and triple jump. (Photo by Ted Plunkett)
Oakton senior Joe Lorusso has been rolling in the distance races this winter with personal bests in the 1000 (2:30.15) and 1600 (4:16.23). He will be attempting a tough triple on Saturday with a 4x800 prior to both as it is guarantee he will be on the relay with Oakton having yet to achieve the state qualifying standard in the relay event. (Photo by Tom Hoerner)
Patriot District champion Lake Braddock will be among the favorites on both the boys and girls side for the Northern Region Indoor Track and Field Championships, scheduled for this Saturday, February 23 at the George Mason University Fieldhouse; barring inclement weather.
The Lake Braddock girls appear to have Concorde District champion Westfield as their closest competition with T.C. Williams also a strong factor and with West Potomac and Robinson having good shots at finishing among the top five in the team scoring.
The boys team for the Bruins looks to have an extremely strong challenge from National District titleist Edison with Westfield, South Lakes and Oakton also in contention for the top spot.
The meet is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. with field event competition in the boys long jump, girls shot put and girls long jump. Running event trials start at 12:00 p.m. for the girls and boys 55 meter hurdles and 55 dash events while running event finals are slated to begin at 1:00 p.m. in team scoring through eight places on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Lake Braddock appears capable of scoring in 14 of the 15 events with the lone exception the 300 dash. The biggest point scorer for the Bruins is senior Melanie Akwule, who comes in as the top seed in the 55 meter hurdles after finishing second at the regional meet last year in that event. Akwule is also among the top seeds in the long jump, triple jump and 55 dash.
Lake Braddock also has the top seed in the 500 dash with freshman Becca Sinichko, is led in the distance events by sophomore Liana Epstein and hardly ever misses an opportunity to maximize points in the trio of relay events.
Westfield will probably face an uphill battle following the field events in trying to catch Lake Braddock but will be very strong in the 500; 1000 and 1,600 runs, as well as being top seeded in both the 4x800 and 4x400 relays, led by their senior threesome of Tasia Potasinski, Brittany Sevachko and Kerry Hartman.
Westfield should also score well in the shot put with sophomore Kaylin Newman and will also look for points from senior Haley Boone in the 55 hurdles and high jump.
T.C. Williams could well have the leading individual point producer of the meet in Tynita Butts. The Titans junior is the defending champion in both the high jump and long jump and comes into the meet as the top performer in those events, thus far this season.
Butts also comes into the meet with the fastest time in the 55 dash after finishing second in that event last year. T.C. also has the top seed in the pole vault with senior Eva Baker and should also get points in the shot put from senior Amanda Hopson and in the 1,000 run from junior Erika Weidman.
West Potomac will rely mainly on the talents of senior Kat Lee, who is among the top seeds in a quartet of events; the long jump, triple jump, pole vault and 55 dash and the Wolverines also have the defending champ in the 3,200 run in senior Elizabeth Heath.
Robinson has sophomore Audrey Barry coming off an impressive showing at the Concorde District championships with Barry slated for duty in the 55 dash, 500 dash and anchoring the 4x400 relay and the Rams also have the top seed in the shot put with senior Jessie Echard.
Defending champions also returning from last year's indoor regional meet include Jordan Grant of Centreville in the 300 dash and Hayfield's Jasmine Jones in the 55 hurdles.
Others to watch in the field events include Yorktown senior Jaclyn Smith in the triple jump, Mount Vernon junior Elizabeth Ball in the shot put and Langley senior Morgan Danner in the pole vault.
In the running events, some of the top performers include Edison junior Shekyira Mann in the 55 dash; W.T. Woodson in the 4x200; West Springfield in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays; Chantilly junior Lia DiValentin in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs; Oakton senior Hallie Eillerts in the 1,000 run; Chantilly freshman Amira Idris in the 300 dash and Herndon junior Hiruni Wijayaratne in the 1,600 run.
Lake Braddock had a very solid showing in capturing the Patriot District crown two weeks ago and the Bruins hope that will springboard them into an equally nice effort at the regional meet.
Lake Braddock does not appear to have the same surge in the field events as they have in some past years, but should still get on the board with senior Keon Robinson in the long and triple jumps and junior Michael Santano in the high jump.
Santano also comes in as the number two seed in the 55 hurdles and was last year's runnerup as well and the Bruins also will count heavily on senior Chris Letson in the 500 dash, 300 dash and 4x400 relay in order to come out on top.
Edison cruised to the National District title but will have to step it up a notch if they are to win their first regional title, either indoors or outdoors, in 30 years.
The Eagles are not without talent and should be able to outscore Lake Braddock in the field events with senior Ade Titcombe the top seed in the triple jump by more than three feet and Edison also has senior Bernard Butler as the number two seed in the shot put.
On the track, Edison has junior twins Leoule Degfae and Tihut Degfae as part of the top seeded 4x800 and 4x400 relays with both Le and Ti also counted on for big points in the 1,000 run.
The Eagles also will depend on Ade Titcombe in the 55 dash, 4x400 relay and also the 4x200 relay where Edison comes in as the top seed, but with the five teams in the top seeded section only separated by six tenths of a second in what should be one of the pivotal events of the meet.
Defending team champion Westfield will also be in the mix. The Bulldogs are capable of scoring in all five of the field events led by senior David Skahn in all three jumping events and by their senior shot put tandem of Branden Holmberg and Ty Ruland.
In the running events, Westfield's top performer is junior Matt Anderson in the 500 dash and 300 dash and the Bulldogs should also have additional sprint points from junior Matt Davis.
South Lakes is also a factor with plenty of sprint points from among senior Nick Vaughn, sophomore Adrian Vaughn and juniors Mike Harrell and Vince Brown with Brown also the top seed in the 55 hurdles.
Oakton may not score a point in any of the field events or sprints but can still foresee a top five team finish due to their strength in the distance events with senior Joe LoRusso leading the way in the 1,600 run; 1,000 run and 4x800 relay and with added distance points from junior twins Brian Hendricks and Neal Hendricks.
T.C. Williams may come away with the most points in the field events with top seeded seniors Frank Afriye in the shot put and Tommy Clark in the pole vault along with junior Jamal Ford, one of the most improved athletes this season who is the top seed in the high jump and could place in the long jump and shot put as well.
Others to watch in the field events include another set of twins in juniors Wesley Sun and Curtis Sun of Chantilly in the pole vault and Herndon senior Russell Green in the long jump, triple jump and high jump.
On the track, notables include senior Keeven Kuate Konga of McLean in the 55 hurdles; Fairfax sophomore David Ladd and Chantilly senior Ray Urruttia in the 55 dash; Marshall senior Oscar Olazo Nostades in the 1,000 run; Langley senior Chris Yi in the 300 dash, 4x200 and 4x400 relays and Jefferson seniors Brian Landry and Evan Heflin in the 3,200 run.