Entering the final turn of the 4x400-meter relay at the 5A North region indoor track meet at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, Potomac senior Kaleb Franklin could feel someone close behind him.
Marshall senior MacKenzie Haight had closed the gap 375 meters into the last leg, hoping for a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Haight came close, but Franklin’s final kick was just enough to get him over the finish line first, powering the Panthers in 3 minutes 31.83 seconds. Marshall took second in 3:32.12.
That slim margin ultimately decided the meet, giving Potomac a 71-70 advantage over Marshall and a 5A North region team championship.
“I got a little scared heading around the last turn because I could hear my team yelling,” Franklin said. “I got a little nervous. But it’s amazing.”
Though Marshall’s relay team came up just short, both groups qualified for next week’s VHSL state indoor track meet.
Earlier in the meet, Haight finished third in the 1,600 with a 4:26.03, a time in which he was admittedly disappointed. Finishing ahead of him were Albemarle senior Ryan Thomas (4:21.18) and Edison senior Louis Colson (4:23.92).
Haight’s disappointment turned quickly to pride as his younger brother, sophomore Alexander Haight, crossed in 4:35.98 to claim fourth place. Alexander Haight, seeded 10th, gave the Statesmen five points as a result.
“I was sitting sixth or seventh almost the whole race,” Alexander Haight said. “With 200 meters left to go I knew I had the strength in me.”
MacKenzie Haight said he compares times from his sophomore year with his brother’s. Some evidence shows Alexander Haight outperforming him at that age.
“It’s really exciting with what I think he can become,” MacKenzie Haight said.
In the girls’ meet, Mount Vernon’s 72 points were good enough to finish runner-up to Patrick Henry-Ashland (99).
Leading the way for the Majors was Alliyah Stevens, who won the long jump (16 feet 5.75 inches), triple jump (35-1) and 55 hurdles (8.68). Her marks in the long and triple jumps were personal bests.
“My speed was good, but I have to focus on my technique,” Stevens said. “I need to work on doing my phases. There’s always room for improvement.”
Mount Vernon also picked up a first-place finish from senior Jasmine Hill, who timed a 1:18.97 in the 500.
Lee senior Bailey Kolonich won both the girls’ 1,600 (5:17.99) and 3,200 (11:33.69), running both of those races in the same meet for just the second time this season.
Kolonich, who will run track at George Mason next fall, will compete in the 3,200 at the VHSL state meet in Hampton next week.
“It’s definitely new,” Kolonich said about running both races in the same meet. “My goal was to try to see if I could get in the top three and win if I could.”