Wootton’s Gwen Shaw shines at Montgomery County indoor track championships

January 22, 2013

Gwen Shaw won four events at the Montgomery County championships on Tuesday while leading Wootton to a top-three team finish.

Shaw, a Louisville recruit, entered the biggest meet of her season to date with a case of the blahs. She thrives on rhythm and structure — sprinting and years of riding and training horses have taught her their value — but felt Tuesday like she had hardly any of either. It was odd to be racing at the beginning of the week instead of at the end of it and she was just starting to get over the flu. The All-Met just didn’t feel ready to race.

That all turned around when Shaw stepped on the track. The favorite in the 55-meter hurdles delivered in that event with unprecedented speed, blazing over the five barriers to win in a meet-record 8.21 seconds.

Shaw immediately jogged back to the starting line, and less than five minutes later at Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex in Landover, won the 55 dash in 7.26.

Earlier in the 300, Shaw beat senior teammate Sylvia Deppen to the line in 40.83.

Her final effort was probably her gutsiest and it almost certainly was what lifted Wootton to a second-place team finish. While anchoring the Patriots’ 4x200 relay team, Shaw got the baton in third place. The 17-year-old hunted the two runners that were about 15 meters in front of her, closing in with powerful strides before picking them both off near the line.

“There are teams that have more depth than us; we’re spread so thin,” Shaw said while gasping for air. “I just had to do it for my team.”

Northwest won the girls’ team title for the third year in a row. Wootton and Clarksburg followed.

The boys from Clarksburg won their first county indoor title with a record 115 points over Northwest and Quince Orchard.

The Coyotes became champions mostly behind distance dynamo Will Bertrand and sprint standout Paul Joseph. Bertrand won the 1,600 before breezing to victory in the 3,200 in a meet-record 9:29.67. Joseph swept the 55, 300 and 55 hurdles.

“It wouldn’t be fun if it didn’t hurt,” said Bertrand, who also competed in the 800 and ran in the 4x400.

Caroline Beakes captured the same distance double as Bertrand. The Bethesda-Chevy Chase sophomore took the 1,600 in 5:15.17 before easily winning the 3,200 (11:24.68).

Clarksburg junior Claudia Ababio won the shot put with 41 feet 9 inches, destroying the previous meet record by more than three feet.

“That’s awesome,” Ababio said. “I only started track [three years ago] just to get in shape. I didn’t think I’d ever do this.”

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