Correction to This Article
The article misstated the distance of Wilson High School junior Ibrahima Kebe's winning discus throw at the DCIAA track and field championships. Kebe's throw was 120 feet 11.5 inches, not 120 meters 11.5 centimeters.

At DCIAA Meet, Ballou Boys Edge Dunbar While Dunbar Girls Win Easily

Julius West anchored Ballou's victorious 4x400-meter relay team and won individual titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the DCIAA track and field championship.
Julius West anchored Ballou's victorious 4x400-meter relay team and won individual titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the DCIAA track and field championship. (By Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)
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By Jeff Nelson
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sometimes, Julius West just can't wait. The Ballou senior sees the baton is in sight, and his adrenaline gets the best of him.

That's what happened yesterday, when West took off a bit too early to begin his anchor leg during the 4x100-meter final in the DCIAA track and field championship at Spingarn.

Because then he had to slow down to get the baton, his anxiousness cost Ballou the lead -- but not for long.

"It was nothing to come back and go get a person, because I know the way I run," said West, who had to catch a few runners before winning the race. "It's just confidence, that's all."

West's confidence was justified all afternoon, as he also anchored a win in the 4x400 relay, and added individual victories in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. His performance led the Knights to a narrow team victory over Dunbar.

"I stepped up as a senior," said West, whose team totaled 117 points to Dunbar's 109. "I'm basically one of the oldest kids. It's like the man of the house."

Using that metaphor, the woman of the house was Dunbar junior Angela Bonham, who helped the Crimson Tide to an easy team title by winning the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races and the 4x400 relay. She also set a personal-best time on her way to a second-place finish in the 800.

Her signature moment came in the 1,600, which had a previous meet record of 5 minutes 43 seconds. Bonham ran it in 5:33, a time so good it surprised even her.

Asked afterward if she had even thought about the record beforehand, she said, "No, but I knew I wanted to win.

"I won it my freshman year and sophomore year, so I was going to win it my junior year. And I plan to win it next year."

As a team, Dunbar finished with 257.5 points, well ahead of H.D. Woodson's 105.5 total.

One of the most intriguing individual events of the day was the boys' discus, even though it wasn't expected to be close. Wilson junior Ibrahima Kebe, who this spring became the first D.C. public school boy to ever qualify for the Penn Relays in that event, fouled on his first three attempts, leaving him with only one remaining.

After replacing one of his track shoes with a sneaker for better traction, and changing the discus he was using because of the wind, Kebe had yet another shaky throw. But it landed inbounds and was just good enough to win at 120 meters 11.5 centimeters, a little more than three meters farther than second place.

"I got points for the team, so in that way I'm happy," said Kebe, whose longest throw this year is 162 meters. "But personally, I'm not happy with what I did."

As Tigers Coach James Green said, however, "A win is a win and in a championship meet, it doesn't matter how far it is. It matters if you're first, second or third."

Going The Distance: Theodore Roosevelt junior Imani Kelly won the boys' 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, each without being seriously challenged. High-Flying Arrival: In her first DCIAA championships, Dunbar freshman Dennisha Frazier won the high jump and long jump, and took second in the triple jump.

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