HYATTSVILLE — Montgomery County schools faced hurdles – pun intended – and some of the state’s finest track athletes on Tuesday night, and while many county schools won, the Northwest Jaguars returned home as boys track and field state champion for the fifth straight year.
The Jaguars were a common sight in the top three of many events on Tuesday night, and placed first in five events.
Seniors Khaloni Mganga ran the 55-meter dash in 6.44 seconds, Chase Osborne completed the 800m in 1:58.01 and Editta Pessima joined them in first place with a 8.09 second 55m hurdle. Junior Taylor Wright doubled down on the victories and placed first in the high jump by reaching the 5-06 mark and running a 40.96 second 300m dash, contributing to Northwest’s haul.
“We got people that are determined to make this a program, it’s not a team. That’s why, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, never happened,” said Northwest head coach Robert Youngblood about his track athletes’ performance.
The victories suffered some missteps along the way; according to Youngblood, the Jaguars’ girls’ squad only had four members. The Jaguars boys’4x800m run was also disqualified.
“I was definitely an underdog this year, people weren’t counting me in, I got sick in the middle of the season” said Osborne. “Today, I guess I was the most determined.”
Aside from the Jaguars, other Montgomery County schools also managed to finish in the top three. The Walter Johnson girls became state champions with their combined score of 53, while the Northwest girls were three points shy of competing for the runner-up position with Severna Park, and took third place overall.
Aside from the Jaguars, sophomore Garrett Suhr of the Richard Montgomery Rockets placed first in the 1600m run with a time of 4:21.47, but lost the 800m run by fractions of a second to the Jaguars’ Osborne.
Senior Adam Nakasaka of the B-CC Barons was at the top of the 3200m standings with a time of 9:26.21, and helped the Barons grab first place in the 4x800m relay race. Other county athletes got the elusive first place throughout the night as well.
“The other teams, they’re fast, they were really fast. It was hard for me to catch up,” said Paint Branch Panthers senior Hassan Coulibaly, who placed third in the 500m and sixth as a team in the 4x400m relay.