Track and Field

Park View's Baird Is 3rd At Nike Meet

By Dioni L. Wise
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, June 22, 2008

GREENSBORO, N.C., June 21 -- Park View senior Natalie Baird stood on the Nike Outdoor Nationals winner's stand Friday and accepted a medal -- but not the one she's used to receiving in Virginia.

Baird, who never lost to a Washington area competitor in the discus, took home a bronze medal in the event at North Carolina A&T University's Irwin Bell Track and Field Complex. Earlier in the day, the All-Met outdoor track athlete of the year placed seventh in hammer throw.

"It was a lot of fun to be here," Baird said. "I feel consistent where I am."

Baird entered the discus finals in third place, and before launching her third and final throw of the round, she thought, "I got nothing to lose here."

Then the three-time Penn Relays champion bent down, spun around and flanked the discus off the right pole to collect a foul.

The 152-feet 3-inch throw Baird made in the qualifying round held up through the finals to give her third place. Senior Aslynn Halvorson of Charlotte, N.C., took first place with a throw of 154-2, and senior Becky O'Brien of Cumberland, Maine, was second with a 153-11 throw.

The girls from Eleanor Roosevelt concluded the three-day event in the same winning fashion that marked their experience here. The Blazin' Raiders' Elan Hilaire, Doris Anyanwu, Afia Charles and Tasha Stanley captured the 4x400 relay in 3:37.02, with Stanley breezing through her final leg to help her team earn the event's seventh-best time in history, and top the Raiders' previous best of 3:37:16, set at April's Penn Relays.

Anyanwu, a junior All-Met, came up shy of first place in the girls' 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 1 minute 0.50 seconds, just behind Elizabeth Mott of New Rochelle, N.Y., (59.96).

Two other Blazin' Raiders raced each other in the girls' 800. All-Met senior Tasha Stanley finished sixth among 21 contestants, while freshman standout Amirah Johnson finished 12th.

The Maryland Jaguars placed sixth in both the girls' 800 sprint and 4x100 relays.

Two girls posted the two best national times in the 400 meters. Senior Nadonnia Rodrigues, of Brooklyn, N.Y., had a time of 52.86 seconds, while senior Natalie Stewart, of Spanish Fork, Utah, finished in 53.07 seconds.

Warwick Valley (N.Y.) High School set the national record for the girls' distance medley at 11.31.81, lowering the mark of set by a fellow New York high school, Bay Shore, in 2004 (11.33.42).

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