Montgomery Invitational Recap: Slow Start Leads To Fast Finish!

Photos by Lisa McArthur

Recap and highlights below from the 2016 Montgomery Invitational by Ryun Anderson.

The meet also had a very special guest in recent Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg, a former runner at Walter Johnson High School and the University of Maryland, who earned the special and distinguished heroics serving in the military in Afghanistan. Check out our must watch interview with Flo Groberg above!

2016 Montgomery Invitational Coverage

Complete Results - Photo Gallery - Race Videos - Interviews


  • Masai Russell (Bullis): 1:13.72.... fastest in MD since 2008 (Tasha Stanley - Roosevelt).... US #1... meet record by over a second

  • Tajh Gilchrist (Bowie): 6.37.... U.S. #6.... #5 in meet history

  • Nyjari McNeill (Franklin): 2:16.94... MD #1.... US #1.... #5 in meet history

  • Hayley Jackson (Patuxent): 4:59.23 (4:57.49c)... MD #1... #1 in meet history (both mile and converted)... U.S. #6

  • Hayley Jackson (Patuxent): 10:55.60... MD #1... #6 in meet history... U.S. #7

  • Dalton Hengst (McDonogh): 9:24.71... #9 in meet history.... U.S. #10... fastest MD time by a non-senior since 2008 (Solomon Haile).... along with Rohann Asfaw

  • Shyheim Wright (Northwest): 7.39... meet record... U.S. #3

  • Riverdale Baptist Girls 4x2: 1:42.68... #4 in meet history... U.S. #10

  • Bullis Girls 4x4: 3:56.68... meet record... U.S. #4

  • C.H. Flowers Boys 4x4: 3:25.79... #4 in meet history... U.S. #8

  • Paint Branch Girls DMR: 12:40.73... #5 in meet history

  • Taylor Wright (Northwest): 39'2.50... #3 in meet history... US #3.... best by a MD freshman since, well... ever?


Saturday's Montgomery Invitational started out slow due to some technical difficulties, but once the meet sped up the times did too. There were several terrific performances on the track, highlighted by Hayley Jackson's difficult distance double.

The girls invitational mile featured a much-anticipated showdown between Jackson and Maria Coffin, who had competed throughout the cross country season for the title of Maryland's top female distance runner. Jackson took the lead from the gun and never looked back, finishing an impressive wire-to-wire victory with a final lap surge that earned her the meet record (4:59.23 - 5:47.49 converted to 1600) and a U.S. #6 girls ranking. While Coffin was able to separate from the rest of the field, she never did catch Jackson, finishing with a time of 5:01.03.

Jackson then came back for the invitational 3200, hoping to become the first female to win both events at the Montgomery Invitational since Katie Harman of River Hill did it in 2009. Maryvale's Emily Craig took the early lead hoping to challenge the 11-minute barrier. While Jackson sat behind Craig for the first couple laps, she soon took over and turned the race into a one-person show. She finished with a time of 10:55.60, breaking 11 for the first time in her indoor career and earning a U.S. #7 ranking. Craig would finish third with a time of 11:22.91.

Perhaps the fastest performance of the day came from Bullis sophomore Masai Russell in the 500. Fellow sophomore Nyjari McNeill took the early lead, but Russell found another gear on the final lap, kicking past McNeill and never looking back. She finished with a blistering time of 1:13.72, the fastest by a Maryland female since Tasha Stanley of Roosevelt ran 1:13.62 in 2008. Her performance ranks #1 in the U.S. and broke the meet record by over a full second.

McNeill finished with an impressive time of her own - 1:14.59 - as a runner-up to McNeil and follow it up with a dominating victory in the 800 later in 2:16.94. A state leading time in the 800 and ranks McNeil #10 in the nation currently.

The outstanding duo of Wright's (no relation) in Shyheim and Taylor Wright was on full display for Northwest. Shyheim Wright cruised through the prelims of the 55 hurdles before blasting a 7.39 in the finals, setting the meet record and good enough for a U.S. #3 ranking. He also contributed to the winning 4x200 meter relay team, one of Northwest's three victorious relays. Taylor Wright had an impressive day of her own, highlighted by a winning triple jump of 39'2.50. The mark ranks third in the U.S. and is quite possibly one of the best ever indoor jumps by a freshman in Maryland state history.

One of Maryland's top sprinters, Tajh Gilchrist, blazed to a victory in the 55 dash. After running 6.56 in the prelims, he uncorked a 6.37 in the finals, earning him the top rank in Maryland and #6 in the U.S. He also finished second in the 300 behind South County's Trevor Stewart.

The boys invitational 3200 was one of the most competitive races of the day, featuring many of Maryland's top distance runners. Rohann Asfaw took an early lead and led for most of the race before Matt Bennett made his move with about three laps to go. But it was the sophomore Dalton Hengst, with a strong final lap, who eventually won with a time of 9:24.71, #10 in the U.S. and a fraction of a second behind Asfaw's earlier season time. Bennett finished a close second in 9:25.32.

The meet wrapped up with a pair of impressive 4x400 relays. First, the C.H. Flowers boys distanced themselves from the rest of the field, cruising to a victory in 3:25.79, fourth in the meet history and #8 in the U.S. The Bullis girls did the same, and their 3:56.68 time broke the meet record and was good enough for a U.S. #4 ranking.

Below are the performances entered for the meet that met the national silver standard.

HS Girls
300 Meter Dash40.64Dnia FreemanRiverdale Baptist
300 Meter Dash41.31Shalah SmilingBrooke Point
300 Meter Dash41.67Mallorie SmithNorth Point High School
300 Meter Dash41.72Cori BrownNorthwest High School
300 Meter Dash41.92Jamila BrownWilde Lake High School
300 Meter Dash41.93Taylor WrightNorthwest High School
300 Meter Dash42.21Denise WoodeDamascus High School
300 Meter Dash42.39Malana JohnsonBullis School
300 Meter Dash42.48Arianna RichardsBullis School
300 Meter Dash42.64Caliyah McKeithanMcKinley Tech High School
300 Meter Dash42.67alexis goodmanLargo High School
300 Meter Dash42.86Sarah CaggianoWalter Johnson High School
300 Meter Dash43.00Jenae DorseyFranklin High School
300 Meter Dash43.04Erin AndrewlevichPatriot High School
300 Meter Dash43.09Foyinsola FapohundaSpringbrook High School
300 Meter Dash43.10Courtney KennyMaryvale Prep School
300 Meter Dash43.16Ashoya WilliamsBowie High School
300 Meter Dash43.16Cynthia UbahDuVal High School
3,200 Meter Run10:55.60Hayley JacksonPatuxent High School
3,200 Meter Run11:13.80Thi NguyenOakton
3,200 Meter Run11:22.91Emily CraigMaryvale Prep School
3,200 Meter Run11:27.69Maya JacobsonQuince Orchard High School
3,200 Meter Run11:28.51Abby YourkavitchChambersburg
3,200 Meter Run11:28.58Rachel NuesleinNorth Point High School
3,200 Meter Run11:29.27Heather DelaplaineDamascus High School
3,200 Meter Run11:32.73Zoe NuechterleinBethesda-Chevy Chase High School
3,200 Meter Run11:35.01Julia CarrollYorktown
3,200 Meter Run11:41.87Joanna MoffittOakton
4x200 Meter Relay1:42.68Riverdale Baptist
4x200 Meter Relay1:45.86Largo High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:46.93Northwest High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:47.09Bowie High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:47.79Paint Branch High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:49.27Watkins Mill High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:49.30Baltimore City College
4x400 Meter Relay3:56.68Bullis School
4x400 Meter Relay4:03.20CH Flowers High School
4x400 Meter Relay4:09.06Bowie High School
4x400 Meter Relay4:10.83Patriot High School
4x800 Meter Relay9:47.20George C. Marshall
4x800 Meter Relay9:47.27Oakton
4x800 Meter Relay9:52.86Mount De Sales Academy
4x800 Meter Relay9:59.41Atholton High School
4x800 Meter Relay10:00.41Patriot High School
500 Meter Dash1:13.72Masai RussellBullis School
500 Meter Dash1:14.59Nyjari McNeilFranklin High School
500 Meter Dash1:17.39Sydney GilbertFranklin High School
500 Meter Dash1:18.27Ayanna JohnsonBullis School
500 Meter Dash1:18.89Cameron HintonMaryvale Prep School
500 Meter Dash1:19.29Oluchi IkeCH Flowers High School
500 Meter Dash1:19.79Felicia HaidaraBowie High School
500 Meter Dash1:20.42Holly-Ann Huff-EdsallAtholton High School
55 Meter Hurdles8.23pAlexus PylesClarksburg High School
55 Meter Hurdles8.24Alexus PylesClarksburg High School
55 Meter Hurdles8.49pjaniya battleLargo High School
55 Meter Hurdles8.50Alexis PostellBullis School
55 Meter Dash7.09Shalah SmilingBrooke Point
55 Meter Dash7.19Stephanie DavisRiverdale Baptist
55 Meter Dash7.24pStephanie DavisRiverdale Baptist
55 Meter Dash7.25pTaylor WrightNorthwest High School
55 Meter Dash7.29pShalah SmilingBrooke Point
55 Meter Dash7.29Jamila BrownWilde Lake High School
55 Meter Dash7.32pJamila BrownWilde Lake High School
55 Meter Dash7.33pJasmyne SanchiousRiverdale Baptist
55 Meter Dash7.36Jasmyne SanchiousRiverdale Baptist
800 Meter Run2:16.94Nyjari McNeilFranklin High School
Distance Medley Relay12:40.73Paint Branch High School
Distance Medley Relay12:43.36Walter Johnson High School
Distance Medley Relay12:46.42Mount De Sales Academy
High Jump5-4Sydney BanksOsbourn Park
Long Jump18-0Leondra CorreiaNorthwest High School
Long Jump18-5.5Madeleine AkobunduDuVal High School
One Mile Run4:59.23Hayley JacksonPatuxent High School
One Mile Run5:01.03Maria CoffinAnnapolis Senior High School
One Mile Run5:06.66Reagan BustamanteWest Springfield
One Mile Run5:10.39Heather HoltGeorge C. Marshall
One Mile Run5:10.47Casey KendallOakton
One Mile Run5:11.13Doria MartingaylePrincess Anne High School
One Mile Run5:12.16Rachel BestonNewark High School
One Mile Run5:15.97Madeleine KingOcean Lakes
One Mile Run5:18.63Abigail GreenWalter Johnson High School
Pole Vault11-1Taylor JonesSouth County High School
Shot Put42-6.75Makayla McGowanBrentsville District
HS Boys
1,600 Meter Run4:28.95Andrew KingDulaney High School
300 Meter Dash34.87Trevor StewartSouth County High School
300 Meter Dash35.25Tajh GilchristBowie High School
300 Meter Dash35.62Robert MillerBaltimore City College
300 Meter Dash35.80Brodie HolmesLoyola-Blakefield
300 Meter Dash35.88Keon RantinGlen Mills Schools
300 Meter Dash35.89Will MotenWestlake High School
300 Meter Dash36.22Jared AllenGlenelg High School
300 Meter Dash36.22Jonathan SimmonsRiverdale Baptist
300 Meter Dash36.25Schezarone CarterWatkins Mill High School
300 Meter Dash36.41Keith BarbourGar-Field
3,200 Meter Run9:24.71Dalton HengstMcDonogh School
3,200 Meter Run9:25.32Matt BennettNorthern-Calvert High School
3,200 Meter Run9:30.23Jack WaveringOur Lady of Good Counsel
3,200 Meter Run9:31.78Eric WalzDulaney High School
3,200 Meter Run9:35.58Rohann AsfawRichard Montgomery High School
3,200 Meter Run9:37.87Andrew LackeyWest Springfield
3,200 Meter Run9:40.60Micah HewitsonLinganore High School
3,200 Meter Run9:40.74Yared MekonnenThomas Edison
4x200 Meter Relay1:32.15Northwest High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:32.78Largo High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:33.19Westlake High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:33.55Loyola-Blakefield
4x200 Meter Relay1:33.59CH Flowers High School
4x200 Meter Relay1:33.92Our Lady of Good Counsel
4x200 Meter Relay1:34.01McDonogh School
4x200 Meter Relay1:34.03Baltimore City College
4x200 Meter Relay1:34.04West Springfield
4x400 Meter Relay3:25.79CH Flowers High School
4x400 Meter Relay3:29.21Our Lady of Good Counsel
4x400 Meter Relay3:29.71Westlake High School
4x400 Meter Relay3:29.94Bowie High School
4x400 Meter Relay3:30.31Largo High School
4x400 Meter Relay3:31.29Woodbridge
4x400 Meter Relay3:32.10Springbrook High School
4x800 Meter Relay8:16.98Northwest High School
500 Meter Dash1:07.19Gerald AmobiDuVal High School
500 Meter Dash1:07.27Trevor StewartSouth County High School
500 Meter Dash1:07.89Miles SmithLa Plata High School
500 Meter Dash1:08.37Christy AndjalepouCardozo High School
500 Meter Dash1:08.75Jamanie ByfieldLargo High School
500 Meter Dash1:08.75Moses KamaraThomas Edison
500 Meter Dash1:08.94Jacari RamseySpringbrook High School
55 Meter Hurdles7.39Shyheim WrightNorthwest High School
55 Meter Hurdles7.41pShyheim WrightNorthwest High School
55 Meter Hurdles7.58Robert MillerBaltimore City College
55 Meter Hurdles7.62Jalen ElliottWestlake High School
55 Meter Hurdles7.66pRobert MillerBaltimore City College
55 Meter Dash6.37Tajh GilchristBowie High School
55 Meter Dash6.56pTajh GilchristBowie High School
55 Meter Dash6.56pJosh NettervilleNorthwest High School
55 Meter Dash6.57Josh NettervilleNorthwest High School
55 Meter Dash6.61pWill MotenWestlake High School
55 Meter Dash6.62pRobert MillerBaltimore City College
800 Meter Run1:58.00Jason TylerSt. Charles High School
800 Meter Run1:59.28Miles SmithLa Plata High School
One Mile Run4:25.27Cooper LeslieCamp Hill
One Mile Run4:27.05Henrik AndersonMountain View
One Mile Run4:28.75Robert LockwoodW.T. Woodson
One Mile Run4:28.88Liam WalshQuince Orchard High School
One Mile Run4:30.99Harrison MartingaylePrincess Anne High School
Shot Put57-7.75Benedict DraghiWashington-Lee High School
Triple Jump45-3Perry DonkorSouth County High School

146 National Elites.