Rashad Manning’s teammates describe him as a well-mannered guy, the kind of person who’s respectful and incredibly easy to get along with.
Manning didn’t play well with others Saturday at the Private & Independent Schools Invitational. The Riverdale Baptist sophomore won the gold medal in the shot put with a meet-record 57 feet 4 inches, but his throws went so far that officials had to suspend the nearby high jump competition because of safety concerns, until Manning was finished lobbing bombs at the indoor track at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda.
“I wanted to make a statement,” Manning smiled.
The girls from McNamara made their own statement, taking back the team title that Elizabeth Seton had won from them a year ago. The Roadrunners were runners-up and Georgetown Visitation was third.
Gonzaga captured its fifth straight boys’ title over McNamara and Georgetown Prep. Junior Maurice Holmes scored the key points — he won the high and triple jumps, was second in the 55-meter hurdles and was third in the long jump — that carried the Eagles to victory.
The difference between Manning, the Washington area’s top thrower this season, and the rest of the field Saturday was staggering. Carroll’s Julian Nelson won silver with a respectable 43-6, but he was still nearly 14 feet behind Manning. Manning, who is undefeated this season, even made the previous meet record of 52-4 look like child’s play.
After Manning’s first warm-up throw bounced out of the field of play and into the high jump area, officials moved the metal guard that was supposed to serve as a backstop back about 10 feet—and into the high jump area.
“It felt like nothing was in my hand. Everything was right,” Manning said.
McNamara won the championship trophy behind Deja Bell, the 55 hurdles champion (8.34), and Brielyn Rogers, the triple jump champion (39-1). Danielle Wheatley and Jaidlin Hill went one-two in the long jump and Wheatley also was third in the 55 hurdles.
McNamara senior Jordan Martin won three gold medals. He ran away from the field in the 55 hurdles (7.63) before capturing the long jump (21-11.5). He also carried third on the Mustangs’ 4x200 relay that beat Georgetown Prep to the line in 1:43.72.
Chandler Baxter became the surprise 55 meters champion in 7.35. The St. John’s junior said she was nervous before the race—speedsters from powerhouses McNamara and Elizabeth Seton flanked her on both sides—but gave the Northwest school its first gold medal in the event in more than 10 years, according to Cadets Coach Alonzo Ruffin.
“I felt power,” Baxter said of her start. “I was determined.”