Deep Creek squeakes by without relay-ance, Menchville only needs point scoring machine Lewis to secu

FARIFAX, VA -- Form does not always hold true in track and field but certainly did this past Saturday as the Eastern Region put forth a dominating performance at the AAA championships at the GMU Fieldhouse. In a couple of early season meets in December, the CNU Showcase in Newport News and the Metro Run and Walk Invitational in Prince George's MD, teams from the Tidewater area sent an early season message with particularly strong showings.

Their potential held throughout the less than wonderful winter weather that engulfed the state as Eastern Region schools took the top four and seven of the first nine team spots on the girls side and the Deep Creek boys were able to survive two serious mishaps in relay events to defend their title.

The girls team title went to Menchville as senior Yvette Lewis put on one of the most impressive performances in state meet history, outscoring all the other girls teams by herself in racking up 48 of the Monarchs' 61 team winning points. Peninsula District rival Bethel was second to Menchville with 47 points followed by Beach District schools Western Branch (39) and Salem (35.5). Northern Region champion Lake Braddock was the top area school in fifth place at 35.5 points with South Lakes tieing Hickory for sixth place with 26 points. The Eastern Region then took the next two spots with Tallwood (24) and Kellam (23) while Northwest Region co-champ Gar-Field rounded out the top ten with 21 points.

Lewis of Menchville recorded her outstanding total of 48 points by winning the 55 meter hurdles in 8.19 seconds to just edge her senior teammate Jelyn Quick's 8.20 and also winning the triple jump at 41 feet, 4.75 inches, which currently ranks her as the number three performer in the nation. Lewis also took home three second place medals in the 55 dash (7.19), high jump (5-4) and the long jump (18-5.75) with senior Amy Seward of Salem (18-10.75) winning that event for the third year in a row.

Lewis also finished fifth in the 300 dash (41.50) to finalize her 48 points in team scoring at the state meet which is through eight places on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Also, the state of Virginia is one of the few states in the country which does not go by National Federation rules which allow an athlete to compete in four events; whether they are all running events, all field events, or a combination thereof. Instead, Virginia allows for a maximum of three running events (only two if the other event is the 3,200 run) but an unlimited number of field events.

Defending girls state team champion Lake Braddock once again received strong performances in the field events to gain their fifth place finish as sophomore Ashley Haislip won the girls high jump at 5-4, senior Kathleen Muehleib was second in the shot put (40-7.5) and senior Cristina Zuniga fifth in the pole vault (10-0).

South Lakes was led by senior Adrienne Mayo, who had a hand in 15 of the Seahawks' points with a third place in the long jump (18-0.5), fourth in the triple jump (37-7.75) and Mayo also ran a leg on the fifth place 4x200 relay for South Lakes.

Gar-Field's top performer was senior Tiffany Evans, who won the shot put by over five feet with a seasonal best of 45-8 to currently rank third in the nation in that event. There were two other area winners as Westfield senior Kathryn Pettine set a new state meet record in the pole vault with a personal best effort of 11-4 and West Springfield senior Huma Husain came from behind in the last 50 meters to win the 1,000 run in a personal best of 2:57.79 with Herndon junior Heather Fisher coming on strong at the end to nab second place (2:58.53). Husain also recorded the fastest split of the day in the 4x800 relay of 2:15.9 to help the Spartans to second place (9:29.91) with pre-race favorite Kellam solid throughout on all four legs in winning with a time of 9:22.32.

Other top performances were turned in by Jennifer Boyd of Hickory, who easily vanquished the fields in both the 1,600 (4:55.80) and 3,200 (10:51.03) runs and by Tallwood junior Faraign Giles and Western Branch senior Leslie Treherne in the 500 dash. In one of the most exciting races of the day, Treherne was out extremely fast and hit the 300 meter mark at 42.0 with a comfortable lead. Treherne still held the lead coming off the final turn of GMU's 200 meter unbanked track but Giles was closing. Giles finally overtook Treherne 20 meters from the finish to win in 1:13.32 to move to number seven all time nationally in the event while Treherne's second place time of 1:13.92 put her number 13 all time in the 500 dash.

Other top local performances were turned in by Gar-Field's Afua Amponsah who fell after crashing the final hurdle in the 55 hurdle trials and failed to qualify for the finals after coming in as the top seed, but came back to claim third in the 55 dash (7.24) and fourth in the 300 dash (41.40) and Forest Park's Beth Fahey was second in the 3,200 run (11:10.50) with Yorktown's Katie Read third (11:23.32).

On the boys side, defending indoor and outdoor state champion Deep Creek survived a botched handoff in the 4x200 relay and did not finish the 4x400 relay, events in which they were the top seeded squads coming in with a potential total of 20 points, and still were deep enough to take the title with 34 points.

Deep Creek stayed afloat on the strength of Derron Flood's win in the 500 dash (1:04.09) with Atlee's Anthony Easter second in 1:04.36 as they posted the top two times in the nation in their race along with Deep Creek's Desmond Perkins coming in as the seventh seed in the 1,000 run and responding with a clutch second place finish (2:30.59); top seeded John Hyman coming on late to capture the 300 dash (35.28) and Antwain Carey's fourth place in the 55 dash (6.47).

Great Bridge was second with 31 points mainly on their field event prowess as they got 18 points by going one-two in the pole vault with senior Brian Webb (15-4) and junior Daniel Brennan (14-6) and scored their other 13 points in the shot put led by senior James Nixon's runnerup finish (55-10.5). Thomas Dale and Colonial Forge tied for third place with each scoring 28 points. Distance ace Alex Tatu provided the bulk of the points for Thomas Dale in easily winning the 1,600 run at 4:23.80 after just a 2:19 opening 800 meters and Tatu came back an hour later to win the 1,000 in a nation leading time of 2:28.45. Colonial Forge was led by junior twins Jerome Miller and Jason Miller as they combined for 20 points keyed by Jerome's win in the high jump at 6-8 and a very good effort at 6-10.

The top Northern Virginia finishers were Lake Braddock and Jefferson as they tied for fifth with 25 points apiece. Lake Braddock's Craig Gallimore equaled his personal best in the 55 hurdles at 7.41 to finish second to Petersburg senior Terry Thornton (7.38) and Gallimore anchored the squad which included Dan Wilson, Gilbert Elston and Shawn Harrison to victory in the 4x400 relay (3:23.24) with the Northern Region sweeping the top three spots as T.C. Williams was second (3:24.33) and Westfield third (3:24.62).

Jefferson, the current AAA cross country team champions, have kept up the distance prowess on the track as they scored 21 points in the 3,200 run with senior Keith Bechtol the winner in a very evenly paced 9:22.84; junior Christo Landry surviving a fall midway in the race in which he got back on his feet in seventh place and moved up to ultimately finish second (9:25.46) and junior Chris Mocko added a sixth place (9:41.91).

There was just one state meet record broken on the boys side and it was in the 4x800 relay as the West Springfield senior quartet of Tim Kwak, Joe McMahon, John Cook (1:56.8 split) and anchor Jeff Day (1:55.0) took almost four seconds off the 1999 record set by T.C.Williams to win in what is currently the second fastest time in the country at 7:51.96.

There were two other local winning performances turned in by pre-meet favorites as Robinson's Steve Huntzinger won his second consecutive shot put title, this time by almost five feet at 60-8.75 and Potomac's Joe Robinson, the national leader in the 55 dash at 6.26, who won his specialty this past Saturday at 6.32.

There were also solid state field event marks turned in by Madison's Justin Loda in the pole vault (3rd; 14-0), Langley's Nick Crumpton was third in the triple jump (45-8.25) and Reynold Smith of Forest Park was runnerup in the triple jump (45-9.75) and third in the long jump (22-6.25) with John Bailey of Colonial Heights the winner of both horizontal jumps (22-11.75; 46-3.5). On the track, Gar-Field's Darren Garrigan was third in the 55 dash (6.42), as were Oakton junior Kris Cruz in the 1,600 run (4:26.96) and Steve Hoogland in the 3,200 run (9:27.01) while Herndon senior Steve Gillard placed third in the 500 dash (1:05.82) and second in the 300 dash (35.37) and Marshall junior Anthony Weaver stepped it up a notch to finish third in the 300 dash (35.46) and fifth in the 500 (1:06.03).