The H.D. Woodson track team is blessed with two of the top sprinters in the area. And for that matter, they might just be two of the top sprinters on the East Coast.
Seniors Martin Walker and James Worthen have been successful runners the past three years, but they have distanced themselves from the competition this season.
Both runners won their respective events at the George Mason University Invitational in the first week of January.
The meet is considered one of the unofficial metropolitan area championships for high school track athletes.
And many coaches believe whoever wins the Virginia or Maryland public schools state championships this indoor season should be happy they didn't have to face Worthen or Walker.
"I'm really fortunate to have two good sprinters like these two guys," said Lionell Russell, the head track coach at H.D. Woodson. "Every now and then, you're lucky if you have one runner who dominates the competition, but this season, I have two."
Worthen, who runs the short dashes and the 300 meters indoors, has the fastest time in the 300 (34.5 seconds) in the nation this year, which was set at George Mason. That time is also one of the top five times ever in U.S. high school competition.
Undefeated during the indoor season, Worthen has set rather high future goals.
"I'd like to go undefeated all season long and then get a scholarship to a good school," said Worthen. "So far, I've heard from some schools and I think if I have an exceptional year, I may get more offers to run in college."
Walker's view about track is a little different. Walker, who also runs the 300 meters, is concentrating on upcoming meets. Walker says he won't allow himself to think about the future until the present has been taken care of.
"I've got to concentrate on my running and who I'm running against," said Walker. "I'm trying to work on certain parts of my form to try and get better."
Worthen takes his track seriously, and hopes one day to compete for the NCAA championship and possibly a berth on a U.S. Olympic team. Worthen is now deciding between five scholarship offers, with Ohio State having the inside track at getting the 5-foot-11 155-pounder.
Worthen said he believes Ohio State is one of the best places he could go because it has been producing world-class sprint athletes who have competed on an international level over the past three years.
"Ohio State has Butch Reynolds and some other great sprinter that did real well in the World Games and Pan American game last year," he said. "I hope I can continue to do well and follow in their footsteps."
Ironically, Worthen's limited participation in track may be one of his major future assets. He's only been competing in track for three years (Walker has been running track six years) and most coaches believe he has a great deal of untapped potential.
"One of the best things that Worthen has going for him is that he's not tired or burned-out from having competed in track," said Russell. "A lot of times, good sprinters begin to burn out or tire of the sport after competing for years and years, but that's not the case with James. He is still very fresh."
And fresh he has been indeed. Worthen hasn't lost since the 1987 George Mason meet, when he was nipped at the wire by David Green of West Potomac. Green went on to capture the Virginia state championship in the 300.
Walker, at 6 feet 2 and 180 pounds, is better built for longer races. His best time in the 55 meters -- the event he won at the George Mason meet -- is 6.3, easily the fastest in the area this year and is the second fastest on the East Coast this season. The lanky youngster has been competing in sprints since junior high school, but he also has the stamina to go the long route, having previously competed in the 800.
Outdoors last year, Walker ran a 47.8 split in the 1,600 meters, and has been clocked at 21.4 in the 200. He's been a star since his freshman year, when he was named first team all-Interhigh. Walker hasn't faded either, having been first team every year since. This year should be no exception.
"He's been a good sprinter ever since he got here, and I think he'll get even better before the season is over," said Russell.
In addition to running the 55 meters and being a member of the school's mile-relay team, Walker has competed in the 100 meters the last two seasons. His best time, 10.7, was one of the top six times in the area last year.