Montgomery Invitational Meet Preview

Walter Johnson teammates Ella Gaul and Jenna Goldberg highlight a competitive girls mile field at this year's Montgomery Invitational. (Photo by Brandon Miles)

We break down every race and field event set for the final invitational of the indoor track season this Saturday!

Heat Sheets

55 Meter Dash

Bullis' Caleb Mauney is the defending meet champion in the 55 meter dash. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Boys (Meet Record: 6.26 - Joseph Robinson, Potomac High School (VA))

6.26 seconds might be unattainable for this year's field, but it doesn't mean the finals of the 55 meter dash won't be exciting. St. Stephens & St. Agnes senior Malcolm Johnson ran 6.44 in his only 55 meter dash race of the year and owns a personal best of 6.40. Bullis' Caleb Mauney is the defending champion in the event and one of two Bulldogs who enter with a personal best of 6.45 or better, joining Watkins Mill transfer David Okoli.

Girls (Meet Record: 6.95 - Shania Collins, Huntingtown High School)

Sub-7.00 is one of the biggest barriers in girls sprint events, and it would be a surprise to see anyone challenge the meet record this year. North Stafford senior Morgan Snow is the only girl in the field with a personal best better than 7.25 seconds, but Saturday's race could shed light on the 4A girls field in the event with a matchup featuring Richard Montgomery's Diamond Alexander, Wheaton's Madison Depry and Bowie's Dianna Koger.

300 Meter Dash

Quince Orchard's Kyra Lyles owns the second-fastest 300 meter time by a Maryland public school athlete this season. (Photo by Ed Lull)

Boys (Meet Record: 34.52 - Noah Lyles, T.C. Williams High School)

It only took 36.04 to win the boys 300 meter dash at last year's meet but this field looks to be much deeper and stronger. John Champe's Max Karen highlights this year's field, having run three sub-36 performances already this year in the 300 meter dash.

Girls (Meet Record: 39.12 - Shania Collins, Huntingtown High School)

Collins set meet records in both the 55 and 300 meter dashes on the same day back in January 2014 and they have stood ever since. As good as this year's field is, it would take an out-of-this-world performance by one of the top runners to challenge Collins' record. The field features three of Montgomery County's top runners - Quince Orchard's Kyra Lyles, Richard Montgomery's Caia Gelli and Gaithersburg's K.C. Ashiogwu - sandwiched between Morgan Snow and standout Thomas Stone freshman Takiya Henson.

500 Meter Dash

Boys (Meet Record: 1:04.44 - Maury Sall, Pikesville High School)

Finally, a record that is in real danger this season! Sall's record has stood for seven years, but with three of Maryland's best sprinters set to face off on Saturday, its days may be numbered. Richard Montgomery's Seydi Sall and Bullis' Ashton Allen both own personal bests within two tenths of a second of the meet record, and Bowie's Brandon Nya just keeps improving (coming off a sub-35.00 performance last weekend at the SMAC Classic). Will the waterfall start help or hurt their chances of taking down the record?

Girls (Meet Record: 1:13.37 - Nyjari McNeil, Franklin High School)

The depth of talent in this year's 500 meter dash field may be unparalleled throughout the rest of the meet, including the boys 500 and girls 3200. Mount de Sales' Bella Whittaker has been on fire so far this winter; she set a Howard County Winter Festival meet record (and personal best) of 1:15.15 after running a meet record and personal best in the 300. The tri-state affair includes Potomac's (VA) Catherine Hyman, a four-time VISAA state champion, and Roosevelt's (DC) Fajr Kelly, who owns a blazing 2:10.55 personal best in the 800.

800 Meter Run

Roosevelt's (DC) Fajr Kelly currently ranks ninth in the US in the 800 meter run. (Photo by Brandon Miles)

Boys (Meet Record: 1:55.93 - Julious Coleman, Mergenthaler Vo-Tech High School)

Wednesday's MCPS meet served as a perfect dry run for Damascus senior Tamrat Snyder. In the final race of the night he solo'd a MD #1 performance in the 800 (1:55.08) - only one other boy in the state has run under 1:58.80. He was also coming off a 4:25 1600 earlier in the race, much like he will be on Saturday as he shoots for the meet record.

Girls (Meet Record: 2:12.73 - Latavia Thomas, West Catholic High School)

One of the older meet records turns 15 years old this season, and it's not hard to figure out why. Roosevelt's (DC) Fajr Kelly owns a 2:10 outdoor personal best and has run 2:15 this year, but will also be coming off what should be a very competitive 500 meter dash as well. Kelly will still be the favorite as no other girl in the field comes in seeded under 2:20.

Invite Mile Run

Richard Montgomery's Garrett Suhr (middle) brings a 4:13 1600 personal best into this season from him victory in the event at last year's Under Armour DMV Meet of Champions. (Photo by Phil Bond)

Boys (Meet Record: 4:14.91 - Tyler Stutzman, Western Albemarle High School)

Will this be the year we see a big sub-4:20 performance to challenge the meet record? Richard Montgomery senior Garrett Suhr is certainly capable of such a race, although he ran "only" 4:28 in his only race of the season (a full mile solo victory at the PG Holiday Invitational). Meanwhile, Yorktown's Reece Shuttleworth and Damascus' Tamrat Snyder both own sub-4:20 personal bests in the 1600.

Girls (Meet Record: 4:59.28 - Hayley Jackson, Patuxent High School)

The invite mile field doesn't have the national star-level matchup featured in the 3200, but many of the top runners in Maryland will be toeing the line Saturday afternoon. County rivals Jenna Goldberg and Charlotte Turesson own the top two 3200 times in the state and will write yet another chapter in one of the greatest rivalries the state has seen. The field features plenty of star power including former state champions Mollie Fenn (Broadneck), Lili Grant (Georgetown Visitation), Oakley Olson (Northern) and Piper Dean (Yorktown).

3200 Meter Run

Boys (Meet Record: 9:09.98 - Alex Corbett, Lake Braddock High School)

Of all of the Montgomery Invitational's meet records, 9:09 might have some of the most staying power. Seniors Owen Johnson (Calvert Hall) and Luke Tewalt (Washington Latin) are two of the top distance runners in the Mid-Atlantic; Johnson opened his season with a solo 4:19 1600 at an MIAA conference meet, while Tewalt has run 9:38 this season in his return from an injury that cut his cross country season short. The field also includes Yorktown's Albert Velikonja, last spring's 6A 1600 champion.

Girls (Meet Record: 10:30.82 - Kate Murphy, Lake Braddock High School)

It may be the best 1-2 matchup in the history of the Montgomery Invitational. John Champe senior Bethany Graham is a four-time state champion who owns a 17:04 PR in the 5K, placed 20th at Foot Locker Nationals in December and ran 10:29 in the 3200 at last year's outdoor state meet. Mount de Sales sophomore Juliette Whittaker owns a 17:16 5K personal best, finished 13th at Foot Locker Nationals and is coming off a 4:44 full mile at the Hispanic Games last weekend. The rest of the field (Richard Montgomery's Charlotte Turesson, Washington Latin's Zoe Edelman and Northern's Hannah Mack, among others) is talented as well, but all eyes will be on the battle between two of the top distance runners in the country.

55 Meter Hurdles

Great Mills' Durrell Brooks has already lowered his 55 meter hurdle personal best by over a second (8.78 to 7.77) so far this season. (Photo by Craig Amoss)

Boys (Meet Record: 7.39 - Shyheim Wright, Northwest High School)

Saturday's field features a matchup between two of southern Maryland's top hurdlers in St. Charles' Lorenzo Pelham and Great Mills' Durrell Brooks. 17 boys in the state of Maryland have run under 8.00 in the hurdles this year, and with plenty more seeded between 8.00 and 8.20 for this weekend's race, that number could go up quickly.

Girls (Meet Record: 8.01 - Theresa Lewis, Western High School)

Colgan High School's Lauren Yeboah-Kodie owns the fastest personal best (8.20) in Saturday's field by a fairly wide margin. In fact, South County's Lauren Jones is the only other girl in the field to have run under 8.50 seconds. The Flowers girls have an opportunity to rack up some serious points with three of the top 11 seeds in the event.

4x200 Meter Relay

Boys (Meet Record: 1:29.91 - DeMatha Catholic High School)

Sub-1:30 is a rare feat on the flat track at the Prince George's County Sportsplex; the Paint Branch boys are the only team to have run under 1:31 on the track this winter. Throw in the fact that the 4x2 is the first race of the day and there usually aren't too many blazing times in the event at the Montgomery Invitational. Both Northwest and Bowie have shown great sprint depth this year, however, and Saturday's race could be a 4A state meet preview between the two squads.

Girls (Meet Record: 1:37.28 - Bullis High School)

It's safe to say that no team will approach Bullis' ridiculous 1:37 performance from a few years ago. McKinley Tech (the current DC leaders in the event), River Hill and Northwest will likely be the three teams in contention in the fast section of Saturday's race.

4x400 Meter Relay

Boys (Meet Record: 3:20.82 - DeMatha Catholic High School)

The current boys meet record in the 4x400 is untouchable, but the stakes will still be high as teams try to join Milford Mill and Woodlawn in the sub-3:30 club. Bowie came close at the SMAC Classic last weekend, going 3:30.24 in a runner-up effort to the Warriors. A Largo-Bowie matchup could be a Prince George's County championship preview as well.

Girls (Meet Record: 3:46.79 - Bullis High School)

The Bullis girls are the only team so far this year to have run under 4 minutes in the 4x400. Will that change on Saturday? It's possible, but the top two teams entered are Virginia's Westfield (4:02) and DC's Roosevelt (4:04).

4x800 Meter Relay

Boys (Meet Record: 8:04.20 - West Springfield High School)

Maryland teams keep inching the state lead in the 4x800, as Chopticon ran 8:15 to take over the top mark last weekend. They'll be one of the top teams in Saturday's race as well as Oakton, who ran 8:09 last winter. Distance powerhouses and perennial 4x800 staple programs Northwood, River Hill, Northwest, Richard Montgomery and Montgomery Blair will all be looking to shake up the state leaderboard on Saturday.

Girls (Meet Record: 9:34.10 - Winston Churchill High School)

The Mount de Sales girls came within a second of taking down the now-12-year-old meet record at last year's meet. Will anyone have a shot at repeating their 9:35 performance - or better - this season? The John Champe girls ran 9:21 last spring to win a Virginia state title; they are seeded at 9:21 again for this year's meet, perhaps meaning standout senior Bethany Graham will be on their squad.

Distance Medley Relay

Boys (Meet Record: 10:29.22 - Thomas Jefferson High School)

The Richard Montgomery boys come in seeded at 10:30 and have both the mid-distance firepower (perhaps Seydi Sall?) and a stud anchor (Garrett Suhr) to challenge the meet record.

Girls (Meet Record: 12:31.98 - Lake Braddock High School)

The top-seeded Walter Johnson girls have plenty of talent on their distance squad, headlined by senior Jenna Goldberg and junior Ella Gaul (both of whom will be competing in the 1600 earlier in the day). A matchup with the defending champions from Northern (who may be anchored by Oakley Olson, also in the invitational mile) will pit two of the top distance programs in the state against each other.

High Jump

Boys (Meet Record: 6'11 - Trey Causey, Colonial Forge High School)

This year's boys high jump field is about as wide open as it gets. Richard Montgomery's Leroy Neal has cleared 6'4 this year, but jumped just 5'8 on Wednesday. There are a handful of other jumpers who have cleared 6'2 this year, including many of the top jumpers from Montgomery County, which should provide a good preview for the county championships.

Girls (Meet Record: 5'8 - Thea Lafond, John F. Kennedy High School)

Wheaton's Madison Depry is the one jumper in the field who likely has a realistic shot at the meet record, entering with a 5'7 personal best. She is tied with Northwest's Alice Adarkwa (among others) for the state lead in the high jump entering the weekend.

Long Jump

Boys (Meet Record: 23'6 - Justin Gross, McDonogh High School)

Reservoir's Jalen Jasmin must be getting lonely in the 22-foot-plus club in the long jump this season. Could Saturday's meet bring about some big season bests and alter the state leaderboard? Loyola's Aaron Ray has cleared 22 feet twice in his career. St. Stephens & St. Agnes junior Christian Borden also cleared 22 feet last spring, while South Hagerstown's Charlie Hoston owns the third-best mark in the state this year at 21'6.75.

Girls (Meet Record: 18'11.75 - Jeryne Fish, National Cathedral High School)

McDonogh's Jada Seaman and Bullis' Aniella Delafosse both came within a few inches of the meet record last year. This year's field doesn't look quite as strong at the top end, but there should be plenty of competition for the top spot on Saturday. Riverdale Baptist's Cayla Johnson has emerged as one of the top all-around athletes in the state this year and a win at the Montgomery Invitational against strong out-of-state competition could help boost her resumé even further.

Triple Jump

Boys (Meet Record: 47'11.75 - Justin Gross, McDonogh High School)

So far this winter, Gilman's Josh Green stands head and shoulders above the rest of the state in the triple jump at 46'7.50, while the next five jumpers all sit within six inches of each other clustered around the 45 foot mark. Two of those in the cluster, Northwest's Bryce Middletown and St. Charles' Rainus Daramola, headline Saturday's field as they try to close the gap on the top mark in Maryland.

Girls (Meet Record: 39'4 - Javonne Antoine, Elizabeth Seton High School)

South County's Lauren Jones will be busy on Saturday, as she is one of the top entered athletes in the 55 hurdles, long jump and triple jump. Flowers' Anissa Bernard is the only other athlete entered at 37 feet or better; she is one of two girls in the state to have cleared 37 feet in the triple jump this season. 

Shot Put

Boys (Meet Record: 61'11 - Rashad Manning, Riverdale Baptist High School)

Last year, 50 feet even was good enough to win the shot put - more than ten feet off the current meet record! The meeting between Broadneck's Joe Simpson and Einstein's Aaron Lomax may be a 4A state meet preview, as they are two of the top six boys throwers in the state.

Girls (Meet Record: 46'9 - Antonella Taylor, Bowie High School)

The girls shot put record has remained fairly safe since it was set eight years ago; no girl has come within two feet of Taylor's record since. Bullis' Trinity Franklin is currently the only girl in the state to have thrown 40 feet this winter, making her the top seed entering Saturday's competition by over two feet. Also in the field is the girl currently staring up at Franklin on the state leaderboard, Largo's Sierra James.