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Warriors dominate field
Roosevelt, Dunbar place at DCIAA Relays
(Published April 18, 2005)

By MICHAEL HOFFMAN
Staff Writer

The Woodson Warriors, with 84 points, brought home this year's track and field championship from the annual DCIAA Relays, held April 13 at Spingarn Senior High's field. Roosevelt and Dunbar came in second and third place with 76 and 72 points, respectively.

Woodson established its dominance early as Jeremy Reaves and Bryan Frye placed first and second in the boys' shot put relay, an event which saw competitors hurl a large metal ball as far as possible. The boys' long jump would also see Woodson finish first and second, respectively, as Donte Johnson and Dominique Harris were able to outstretch their competition.

Woodson's dominance in the boys' jumping events continued as Camon Thomas won the high jump over Gino Crump. Thomas was not finished, though. In the 4 x 800 meter relay, he was handed the baton and raced ahead of Dunbar's Nathan Bussey in the final laps to secure an 11-second victory for Woodson in the event, with a combined time of 8:54.

Afterward, a clearly winded Thomas explained the reason for his teammates' as well as his own personal success: "We practice hard at everything we do, and the coach just has us working on stamina."

In the girls' events, the Woodson Lady Warriors' victory was spearheaded by Sherita Quigley, who seemed to be running on air, when compared with her competition. For example, as the baton was passed to Quigley, the last runner in the girls' 4 x 100 meter relay, Woodson found themselves in the precarious situation of being in third place. This did not matter to Quigley, as she charged forward at an amazing pace and caught up to Dunbar's Lelani Stevenson, beating her to the finish line in the race's last couple yards for a thrilling 0.7 second victory and catapulting Woodson to victory with a combined time of 50.54 seconds.

In the girls' 1,600 sprint medley, Woodson's final runner, Latricia Parker, confidently sprinted to the finish line ahead of her competition to win the event for Woodson with a time of 1:50.94. Her victory might not have been possible without another fine effort from teammate Quigley. Quigley, as the second relay runner was once again down to her competition, but used her talent this time in a long-distance event to outpace her competition and give Woodson the lead going into the third runner.

Quigley was matter-of-fact in explaining her talent. "I'm just tight like that," she said in a tone that made clear she considered her remarkable run to be routine.

The day's events ended with two highly contested races in which neither victorious side won by more than two seconds. Lashan Nobles and Lashera Nobles, the first two runners of the girls' 4 x 400 meter relay gave Ballou a slight lead over the second-place Woodson competition. The third runner from Ballou, Diane Ramey ran neck-and-neck with Mylisha Elliot from Woodson, so it came down to the final runners from both sides -- Kenisha Nobles from Ballou and Ayana Jackson from Woodson -- to decide the race. In the end, Nobles barely outlasted Jackson in her sprint to the finish line, giving Ballou the victory with a combined time of 4:12.75.

The boys' final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay was even closer, but Woodson's final runner, Dominique Harris, edged across the finish line ahead of Joseph Holbrook of Ballou, giving Woodson a time of 3:38.42, beating Ballou's time by just over a second.

The biggest cheers of the day came from Roosevelt supporters during one of the championship's final events, as Yetunde Akinola edged ahead of Dunbar's Donesha Long for a fourth-place finish in the girls' 4 x 400 meter race. Earlier in the race, Roosevelt students had been defiantly harsh as they shouted to runner Darryl Wright that he should "not expect a space on the bus," after getting lapped by the competition. But for Akinola, the Roosevelt fans hooted and hollered as if she had just won the race, proof that effort once in a while can suffice in lieu of trophies.

In the first running event, the girls' 4 x 800 meter relay, Woodson set the tone for the shape of things to come, as Roxanna Arce, Lalani Stevens, Aniela Burant and Neda Khalili won the event with a time of 10:18, defeating their closest competitior by 24 seconds.

Copyright 2005 The Common Denominator