TRACK & FIELD | Bethesda-Chevy Chase girls, Clarksburg boys lead 4A meet

Heavy crosswinds swirled inside Morgan State’s Hughes Stadium during the second day of the Maryland state track & field championships on Friday, but the gusts were welcomed by Wootton sprinter Sylvia Deppen. Her goals entering the afternoon were simple. She wanted to clock her best time of the season in both preliminaries of the 100 meters and the 100-meter hurdles — which would earn her a spot in Saturday’s finals of both events.

And with the wind at her back, Deppen did what she set out to. She turned in one of the day’s best performances in the 100 meters, blowing away the field in 11.97 seconds and adding a close second-place finish to teammate Gwen Shaw in their 100 hurdles preliminary to earn a berth in Saturday’s 4A state championship for those events.

Before she competed in the meet this week, Deppen kept telling herself to “run like everybody’s chasing me. Like they’re trying to get me,” she said, and she ran according to her vision Friday. She was the only runner to crack 12 seconds in the 100 meters, and she challenged the talented Shaw (who also qualified for the finals of the 200 meters Friday, running a 25.26 in the preliminary) in the 100 hurdles preliminary, losing by less than a second. She will be eligible for four state championships Saturday and is also competing in the 300 meter hurdles and the 4x400 meter relay. Shaw also qualified for the 4A finals of the 200 meters.

“I’m probably more relaxed than I have been in past years, just because I’m used to this. I’ve been in this stadium so many times,” said Deppen, who committed to Harvard’s track program in December.

Friday’s event opened with strong showings from Montgomery County squads, including wins by Wootton’s boys and Bethesda-Chevy Chase’s girls in the 4A 4x800 relays, and Einstein’s boys added a state title win in the 3A 4x800 relay. Einstein is in second place overall (16 points) in the 3A boys’ standings through five events heading into Saturday.

Through four events, Bethesda Chevy-Chase is the 4A girls’ overall leader with 20 points, with Clarksburg in second place (15 points). Clarksburg tookcontrol in the 4A boys’ standings through six events Friday, pushing its total to 32.50 (Severna Park is in second place with 21 points). The Coyotes picked up an important state championship win late in the afternoon from senior William Bertrand, who rallied in the final lap of the 3,200 to beat the field with a time of 9:29:46. He edged Bowie’s Joshua Wilkins (9:34:17).

The win was a culmination of Bertrand’s work to perfect his kick, he said, which was the strongest of any racer down the stretch. The wind was blowing in his face as he sat in the bleachers in his socks after the race, still trying to process what had just happened.

“I’m coming off a couple injuries so I knew that if I was going to win the race, I just had to sort of let someone else do most of the work, which has been pretty successful for me,” Bertrand said. “So that’s what I planned to do, so I just sat sort of behind him . . . doing a little bit of work when the wind was at my back.”

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