As usual, Wilson girls’ track coach Desmond Dunham did the pre-meet math, and heading into Tuesday’s inaugural D.C. State Athletic Association indoor championship, the numbers didn’t seem to stack up in his team’s favor.
On paper, DCIAA champion Wilson lacked the firepower in certain events for Dunham to feel comfortable, but the Tigers took home the team title at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover anyway, boosted by a flood of personal-best performances. All 20 Wilson athletes who participated scored points at the 19-team meet, helping Dunham’s squad hold off Georgetown Visitation, 117-113, with Dunbar (106.5) a close third. The Tigers became the first public school team to win a DCSAA title in any sport.
“You go through the entire season takling about team and family, telling them you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” Dunham said. “Yesterday, everybody had their heads held up high. Every single young lady left knowing their points helped us pull off history.”
Participating in its first DCSAA competition, Gonzaga won the boys’ title, comfortably edging Georgetown Day and Friendship Collegiate.
The Wilson girls beat Dunbar at last month’s DCIAA championships thanks in part to a strong effort in the distance races. With perenially tough Georgetown Visitation in the field, Dunham knew his team couldn’t count on those points this time.
Juniors Deonna Diggs and Rachel Bonham led the way for the Tigers, each scoring in four individual events. Diggs won the 55-meter hurdles, while Bonham captured the triple jump.
But the team’s depth helped swing the meet. In the 300 meters, all three Wilson runners, including Diggs (third), registered personal-best times. Senior Maddy Conover shaved more than 30 seconds off her previous best in the 3,200 meters to place fourth.
Wilson held onto the title with an effort Dunham called “damage control” in the 800 meters. Holding a slim lead in the final individual race of the night, the three Tigers placed fifth, sixth and eighth to keep the team in front.
“We came in not knowing how it was going to play out and how we’d get it done,” Dunham said, “but our girls performed with a lot of grit and determination yesterday.”
Dunbar junior London Freeland was a double winner, taking the 300 and 500 meters, and Georgetown Visitation sophomore Emily Kaplan did the same, cruising to comfortable victories in the 1,600 and 3,200.
On the boys’ side, Gonzaga had an easier time distancing itself from the pack.
With a team dominated by freshmen and sophomores, Coach Alvin Maddox wondered how the group would respond 10 days after winning its fifth straight Private & Independent Schools Invitational title. The Eagles aced the test, beating Georgetown Day by 17 points behind a standout effort from junior Maurice Holmes.
One of eight upperclassmen on the 38-man team, Holmes won the high jump and triple jump and placed second in the long jump and 55-meter hurdles. Another junior, Chris Hoyle, won the two-mile race in a personal-best 9:48.07 and also finished third in the mile.
“They got up for one championship meet, and it’s not always easy to do it again,” Maddox said. “My biggest concern was telling my young kids to be consistent and go in there and keep doing what they’ve been doing all year long.”
Theodore Roosevelt junior Abdur-Rahmaan Kelly was the only other double winner, taking the 300 and 500 meters.