With the caliber of athlete Northwest High School boys’ track and field has churned out in recent years—Virginia Tech freshman Diego Zarate and University of Pittsburgh recruit Shyheim Wright among them—it’s understandable those filling out the Jaguars’ largely unrivaled depth chart fly under the radar. But, if anyone paid much attention to the times and distances posted by Northwest’s second and third boys in any given event, they would realize just how close they are to the top. It’s the valuable points picked up by those athletes, Jaguars’ coach Robert Youngblood said, that have enabled Northwest to become so dominant.
The Jaguars won their second consecutive Montgomery County Outdoor Championship May 11. Northwest’s 121.90 points fell just short of the meet’s scoring record; the Jaguars finished 60.9 points ahead of the rest of the field.
“People look at our No. 1 guys all the time, but they don’t look to see how close No. 2 or No. 3 is,” Youngblood said. “A guy like Davino Frazer, he goes under the radar all the time. And he’s one of the top in the state. But no one ever sees him.”
Frazer, who’s been integral to several Northwest relays, finished fourth in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at counties. Sophomore Khaloni Mganga turned heads when he won the 400 dash and finished second in the 200 dash.
“Khaloni wins and they’re like, ‘Who is this kid?’” Youngblood said.
Northwest’s boys won five events at the county meet, which is actually one less than the second-place Jaguar girls. But the boys also finished two in the top five of four events.
Wright won two individual events: the 110 hurdles, in which he broke a 16-year meet mark with a time of 13.80 seconds, and the 300 hurdles. The Jaguar boys were also victors in the 400 and 1,600 relays.
Quince Orchard coach Seann Pelkey said when a team is as strong as Northwest is, across all events, most other teams just have to go into championship meets focusing on what they can control.
“We knew Northwest on the boys’ side was going to be scoring a heck of a lot of points. We knew they’d be going for that scoring record, but outside of that, there were a lot of other points up for grabs,” Pelkey said. “We can’t control what they can do, so it’s one of those situations where it’s the old cliché, ‘Take care of what we can take care of.’”
The Cougar boys achieved their goal of finishing in the top five; Quince Orchard was .50 points out of fourth place. Senior Dylan Bikim won the high jump; Liam Walsh picked up third-place finishes in the 800 and 1,600 runs; and pole vaulters Christopher Nyborg and Matthew Owens finished second and third, respectively.
Northwest’s girls finished in second place, 28.5 points behind Clarksburg. But subtract a few unexpected stumbles and the Jaguars would have been in major contention, perhaps could have won, and the team feels confident moving forward into the season-ending state competition scheduled for May 27, Youngblood said.
The Jaguars’ freshman duo of Taylor Wright and Cori Brown had another big meet. Wright won three individual events in the 100 and 200 dash and triple jump. Brown won the 400 dash and finished second in the 100 dash, .10 seconds behind Wright. The team’s lone senior and invaluable leader, Leondria Correia, won the long jump and finished third in the 100 hurdles, and junior Stephanie Bateky prevailed in the high jump and finished fifth in the long jump.
Quince Orchard’s girls finished 13th but saw strong performances from Madison Wellinghoff (third in the high jump), Julia Sloan (fourth in 200 dash) and Maya Jacobson (sixth in 3,200 run).
Northwest and Quince Orchard are scheduled to compete in the Class 4A West Region meet Wednesday, but results were too late to be included in this edition of The Town Courier.