AAA Northern Region Track

Robinson Follows Freshman To Crown

By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, February 22, 2009; Page D06

Genamarie McCant is one of the youngest members of Robinson's track and field team. She's not nearly old enough for a driver's permit. She only recently joined Facebook.

But despite being a fresh face, McCant is already the Rams' most experienced runner. At yesterday's Virginia AAA Northern Region championships in Fairfax, the 14-year-old freshman used all her know-how to win three titles -- the 300, 500 and 4x400 relay -- and pace Robinson to the team championship.

"I'm just happy," McCant said. "I'm over-excited for the team to do this well."

McCant helped lift Robinson past Herndon as the Rams won their first region title since what coaches believe to be 1987. Lake Braddock and T.C. Williams tied for third place.

South Lakes captured the boys' championship ahead of Edison and Chantilly.

McCant got her start in track at a Robinson summer camp when she was 10. She quickly blossomed in the sport, winning the last two Hershey's Virginia 200-meter championships in her age group. This past July, she placed third in the 400 at the Junior Olympics in Nebraska.

Yesterday, she started her day in the 500. When another runner pulled even with her heading into the final curve, McCant stayed relaxed and powered to the finish in 1 minute 14.49 seconds, the fastest time in the country.

She went back to the track 45 minutes later and won the 300 in 40.93 seconds.

McCant capped the day by anchoring Robinson's 4x400 relay team. She had a two-step advantage when she got the baton and gave the Rams a two-second victory over W.T. Woodson. Elizabeth Roberson, Ali Heck, Jensen Smith and McCant won in 4:02.39.

T.C. Williams senior Tynita Butts was almost as dazzling. She won the long jump with a mark of 19 feet 4 inches before capturing the high jump and the 55 meters and scoring in the 300.

Wesley Sun won the boys' pole vault title and was the only athlete to set a meet record. After clearing the 15-foot bar, the Chantilly senior pumped his fist and was hugged by several of his teammates. Sun's vault broke the mark of 14-10 set in 2001.

South Lakes was considered the pre-meet favorite for the boys' title but was left vulnerable after a key scorer stayed home sick. No matter to Vincent Brown. The senior put the Seahawks on his slender shoulders and carried them to the championship.

Brown was the top seed in three events -- the 55 meters, 55 hurdles and the long jump -- and delivered in each. But he also scored critical points in unexpected ways. He won the 300 in a minor upset and finished third in the high jump despite being seeded 10th.

"This feels great," Brown said. "We did what we had to do all season and it paid off. Big time."

AAA Northern Region Track and Field Herndon Hustle: The girls from Herndon placed second as a team -- their highest finish in the region -- thanks largely to Hiruni Wijayaratne and Carolyn Hennessey going 1-2 in the 3,200. Wijayaratne was the favorite, but Hennessey was seeded 10th. Berman Burst: Robinson's Jared Berman had raced against Edison's Leoule Degfae a handful of times but almost always came out on the short end. He upset Degfae in the 1,600 yesterday, winning in a personal-best 4:18.93.

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