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.
146 National Elites.