Champ Page, Dondre Echols and Alexis Franklin hold spotlight at Maryland 4A/3A indoor track and field championships

February 21, 2012

Champ Page controlled the long sprints, Dondre Echols dominated the short ones and Alexis Franklin missed out on the triple she had set her sights on at the Maryland 4A/3A indoor track and field championships Tuesday in Landover.

Page, a senior at Wise, was up against a talented field in the 4A 300-meter dash that included Suitland’s Taivon Jacobs. The duo turned for home at the same time and made the fans inside a crowded Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex pop out of their seats. Page crossed first to a roar in 34.36 seconds.

It was thrilling efforts like that — as well as Page’s down-to-the-wire victory in the 500 (1 minute 4.90 seconds) and his blistering legs on Wise’s second-place 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams — that secured the Pumas’ first indoor team title in school history.

Eleanor Roosevelt won the 4A girls’ championship by three points over defending champion Northwest and Bowie.

Echols exploded over the 55 hurdles, knocking a few barriers over on his way to the 3A title. The Potomac senior fell just shy of lowering his national-best time of 7.17 seconds but shattered the state meet record when he froze the clock in 7.20. Senior teammate Joshua Thorne was runner-up in 7.57.

Minutes later, Echols returned to the track in the flat 55 and powered to victory in 6.44.

Despite the significant boost he gave Potomac, Echols couldn’t stop Thomas Johnson from collecting its third team title in four years.

The Wolverines finished second, one point ahead of Linganore.

Hereford lifted the girls’ 3A trophy by beating Milford Mill and Mount Hebron.

Old Mill’s Franklin struggled to a sixth-place finish in the 4A 55 hurdles. She knew entering Tuesday that winning three events against the best competition in the state — with very little rest between events — was a particularly ambitious goal. Still, seeing her undefeated streak against area competition come to an end with the worst time of her season made the senior burst into tears.

She showed extraordinary strength in the first two races. The Ohio State signee won the 300 in a personal-best 39.62 and the 500 in 1:14.46, the third-fastest time ever run at the state meet.

“I had my moment of defeat,” Franklin said. “The three and the five just totally shocked me. I did a lot better in those events than I thought I would.”

In the 55 hurdles, Mobolaji Adeokun took advantage of Franklin’s tired legs. But it wasn’t like she needed the help. The DuVal senior blew away the field in a personal-best 8.07 before also winning the 55 dash in 7.07.

Thomas Johnson junior Tamara Ovejera won the 3A girls’ shot put with a throw of 41 feet 3.5 inches. Her first throw was her best and it set a new class record by two inches.

Antonella Taylor had the best throw of the day. The Bowie junior’s first throw was also her best and she won the 4A title by almost seven feet with 46-3.75.

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