It was no surprise as to which program would represent the state of Maryland at the highest level this past weekend at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland won several national titles and had numerous All-American finishes in both the championship and emerging elite divisions of the meet over 3 days at North Carolina A&T University.
Kicking things off on Friday was a rare sweep of national titles by one school for both genders in the 1000 meter swedish relay. The boys took their title in runaway fashion by a margin of 3 seconds with their final time of 1:52.41 with a 46.40 400 meter anchor leg by Ashton Allen.
Just moments before their win, the Bullis girls had an equal performance in winning the national title in the swedish relay with Shaniya Hall on anchor for them with a sizzling 54.39 400 meter split in their final time of 2:09.38.
Sandwiched in between their big weekend was a Saturday of highlights which included another national title by the Bullis girls in the shuttle hurdles relay as they dominated the field featuring the likes of 3 girls who can run 14 seconds flat or faster in the 100 hurdles in Leah Phillips, Lauryn Harris, and Ashley Wallace along with teammate Jordyn Jeffers as the 4th member of the quarter in a victorious effort of 56.74.
Day 2 also saw a pair of national runner-up finishes for the Bullis boys and girls in the championship 4x200 meter relays with 1:25.04 performance for the boys behind Fort Bend Marshall of Texas and 1:38.07 second place run for the girls behind Detroit Renaissance of Michigan.
Bullis returned to the winning circle on the final day of competition on Sunday with another sweep of national titles. This time in the 4x400 meter relay.
With virtually the same group (3 of the 4 legs) that set the national record indoors in the 4x400, the Bullis boys squad of Andre Turay, Ryan Willie, Austin Allen, and Ashton Allen ran just two seconds off the outdoor national record and a second off the meet record with their 3:09.86 victory to edge out Georgia school Shiloh (2nd, 3:09.90) in a thrilling close to the meet and weekend.
The Bullis girls had a dramatic rundown and battle themselves with Desoto of Texas as they had a 54 second split from second leg Leah Phillips and then a monster anchor split of 53.62 by Shaniya Hall to close on and pass the anchor for Desoto for a 3:39.62 win.
With so much success in the relay action alone, easy to overlook any individual achievements and performances by the Bullis squad, but there was plenty to find there.
Ryan Willie won the emerging elite division of the boys 400 on Friday with a state leading performance of 47.32 by the Bullis junior, which ironically bumped his teammate Ashton Allen off the leaderboard in Maryland.
The two of them were featured later in the weekend individually in the 200 meter dash finals with both earning All-American honors as Allen clocked a personal best and state leading of 20.76 in the finals as a runner-up and teammate Willie went 21.12 for fifth place finals showing. In the prelims, Allen clocked a wind legal time of 20.84 which is the fastest recorded time in state history according to our records at 200 meters.
Probably the only disappointment of the weekend for Bullis was a false start by Andre Turay in the finals of the 110 meter hurdles as he expected to be a serious contender for the national title after running a state record and personal best clocking of 13.58 in the prelims.
Both Lauryn Harris and Leah Phillips made the 100 meter hurdles finals and ran fast times of 13.66 and 13.69 respectively, but the field was so incredibly deep that those times placed them 5th and 7th respectively.
At last year's outdoor nationals, the Bullis squad seemed to come in limping and worn down after a long year of indoor and outdoor track not performing at same level and presence as had done during the indoor nationals. It appears whatever lessons that were learned from last year, were rectified and applied to this year's squad to have one memorable finish to their 2019 outdoor season this past weekend.