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Wootton’s Gwen Shaw thrives with quick turnaround at Maryland 4A/3A indoor track championship

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Wootton senior Gwen Shaw reached the blue padded wall that stops sprinters at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Center before anyone else, but she didn’t stick around long.

Shaw had won the girls’ 4A 55 meter hurdles at Tuesday’s Maryland 4A/3A indoor track meet, and while others lingered huffing and puffing, she headed back across the track. The Louisville recruit had to get ready to race again.

About 10 minutes later, Shaw added to her medal total, finishing second in the 55 meters. As part of a busy evening in Landover, she also won the 300 meters and ran a leg on the 1,600-meter relay.

“It’s definitely tough to do two real speed events back-to-back,” Shaw said, “but it’s not as bad as it could be.”

Wootton ended up third as a team behind Bowie, which celebrated its first girls’ indoor title. The Bulldogs used a strong showing in the relays to top North Point, 54-51. Hereford took the girls’ 3A crown ahead of Thomas Stone and Huntingtown.

Senior Paul Joseph did his best to match Shaw’s heroics in helping Clarksburg win the 4A boys’ team title for the first time. Joseph cruised to victory in the 300 (35.29) and then finished third in the 55 hurdles and third in the 55 in rapid succession.

The Coyotes finished with 67 points to hold off Northwest and Severna Park, while Digital Harbor from Baltimore won the 3A boys’ title.

“Everyone did their job,” Thomas said. “Everyone went out and gave it their all on the track, even if wasn’t exactly what they wanted it to be. We caught every single point we could.”

Shaw hasn’t always attempted such an ambitious schedule. An All-Met outdoors last spring, she added the 55 meters this season in an effort to boost Wootton’s team score. The strategy helped net the Patriots a second-place finish in the county meet last month when Shaw won three individual events and anchored a relay gold.

On Tuesday, Shaw was the only athlete to take home multiple individual golds. She ran a personal-best 39.72 seconds in the 300 and came back with another in the 55 hurdles, winning in 8.18 seconds. In her final individual race of the night, she couldn’t get past North Point senior Mercedes Tillman.

Tillman had led the 300 into the final straight away only to be outkicked by Shaw. This time, she left no doubt, crossing the finish line in her fluorescent spikes in 7.27 seconds.

“I just couldn’t lose twice,” said Tillman, who ran personal bests in both individual races. “I hate losing, so I just made sure my start was perfect in the 55 because I knew if I got out nobody would be able to catch me.”

Howard senior Christine London followed Shaw’s lead in 3A, winning the 55-meter hurdles in 7.98 seconds and then turning around quickly to take fifth in the 55 meters.

Wilde Lake senior Tim Virostek was the only other local double individual winner. He missed the 3A record in the 1,600 by a tenth of a second (4:21.45) and then came back to take the 800 (1:57.44).

Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior Brittney Wade (800) and sophomore Caroline Beakes (3,200) won 4A individual events and also each ran a leg as the Barons took the 3,200-meter relay. Howard senior Josh Peoples secured individual 3A gold in the 55 and as part of the 800-meter relay.

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