All in all, Matt Gilchrist, the Chantilly High track and field coach, was pleased with his boys team’s showing at the recent Concorde District indoor season championships. The Chargers did a lot good things at the meet and ultimately finished third in the team standings behind district co-champions Centreville and Robinson.
The way Gilchrist saw it, Chantilly gave it a great shot. The coach credited both Centreville and Robinson for putting together exceptional meets.
“I knew we had the potential to be in the top three,” said Gilchrist, of the six-team postseason meet. “It was very close between us, Centreville and Robinson. We had talked about winning a championship. For the most part, the boys performed the way we expected. Robinson and Centreville really stepped up. And you can only do your best. We can’t be disappointed because our performance was where it needed to be.”
The two-day postseason event, held at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Center in Landover, Md., began on Jan. 28 with preliminary events. The second and final day of action took place a week later on Feb. 4 with event finals.
While Centreville and Robinson shared the championship with 108 points each, Chantilly (91.33) took third place and Herndon (67.66) was fourth.
At districts, the top three relay teams automatically advanced to the upcoming Northern Region Championships, which will take place on Feb. 20 at George Mason University. Also, the top six finishers in individual events at districts qualified for regionals.
Christopher Foley, Chantilly’s outstanding middle/long distance runner, won the 1000 race (2:35.49), finishing ahead of Centreville’s Mattson Heiner. Also, Foley finished second in both the one-mile and two-mile races. Centreville’s Yazid Zouaimia won both of those events.
Foley and Zouaimia, both seniors, are ranked No. 1 and 2, nationally, in the two-mile. Foley timed at 9 minutes, 14 seconds in the event early in the season at the Montgomery Invitational. Zouaimia has a 9:16 time in the two-mile this winter.
At districts, Zouaimia won the two-mile race with a time of 9:20.51, while Foley timed at 9:35.77. Both runners, a while earlier, had run in the 1600. And in between the 1600 and 3200, Foley had also run in - and won - the 1000. So he was naturally a little fatigued going into the 3200. Gilchrist said the district meet was all about giving it up for the team, and Foley and his teammates certainly gave it their all.
“Chris’s big goal is to try to win states in the two-mile and to get closer to nine minutes,” said Gilchrist. “But district’s is all about `team.’ He did his job for the team.”
Foley and Zouaimia have both accepted partial scholarships to run in college next school year. Foley will run at the University of Virginia and Zouaimia will compete on the men’s team at Virginia Tech.
Foley, who a year ago won both the district and region titles in the two-mile before finishing third in the state, has worked hard at his sport during his high school career and is at or near top form this winter.
“He trains hard and takes [running] very seriously,” said Gilchrist. “There is a certain sense of confidence when Chris goes into a race that he believes he has a chance to win.”
<b>OTHER INDIVIDUAL</b> boys’ championships for Chantilly at districts came from junior Mohammed Labor-Koroma, who won both the 500 and 300 races, and senior Chris Menzel, who was first in pole vault ahead of Robinson’s John Ro. Menzel also placed fourth in the 55-hurdles.
Labor-Koroma, in the 500, finished ahead of Oakton’s Matt Henton. In the 300, he bested Robinson’s Ryan Tarpey. He was also a fourth place finisher in the high jump, and sixth in pole vault.
Thursday’s second day of competition was a great one for Labor-Koroma, who won his two running events and also celebrated his 17th birthday (Feb. 4).
“Mohamed is phenomenal,” said Gilchrist, of the talented 11th grader. “He ran three events on both days [of the meet]. He won two and anchored a relay to a region qualifier. I can’t say enough about him. He’s Mr. Everything.”
Labor-Koroma, who won the region title in the 500-race last year, holds the all-time school record in the event. He loves competing and the camaraderie of his teammates.
“Mohammed is so spirited,” said Gilchrist. “But when it comes down to performing at big meets, he’s all business and will do anything he can for the team. He’s strong and healthy now and I think he will do good at regionals and states.”
Other Chantilly boys’ place finishers at districts came from: sophomore Arthur McDuffy (2nd in triple jump, 5th in long jump); senior Ryan McWeeny (3rd in 55-hurdles, tied for 6th in high jump); and freshman Sean McGorty (5th in 3200).
<b>FOR THE CHANTILLY GIRLS</b>, who finished fifth at districts, multi place finishers were: junior Nina Ullom, who was second in pole vault and third in the long jump; sophomore Jacquelyn Sieder, third in the 500 and sixth in long jump; and senior Rachel Grochowski, second in the 1000, fourth in the 1600, and fifth in the 3200.
Other place finishers for the Chantilly girls were: freshman Samantha Lull (4th in high jump); senior Olabisi Abisogun (5th in long jump); senior Sarah Meier (3rd in shot put); junior Tiffany Mitchell (5th in 55 dash); and senior Tyeisha Jarrett (6th in 55 dash).