Like many runners at the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region indoor track and field championships, Gar-Field senior Afua Amponsah did whatever she could to stay in shape during the week off caused by the snowstorm.
On Friday, at Fork Union Military Academy, Amponsah seemed as though she made the best of her time off by making three of the best times.
"We couldn't practice all week so Coach [Jeff Custer] had us running up and down the stairs at home and doing exercises in our basement," said Amponsah, who finished first in all three of her individual events, the 55- meter dash, 55 hurdles and 300. "I was very surprised with how I finished -- I didn't think I would do this well, but you work with what you got."
Forest Park's girls' team took advantage of its wealth of distance runners and a break during the final girls' event when Gar-Field's 4x400 relay team was disqualified for a baton transfer violation. The Bruins' foursome of Ecaterina Burton, Portia Davenport, Karen Richardson and Christina Lindsay finished first in a time of 4 minutes 14.21 seconds to force a 100-100 tie.
"I am a little disappointed with the tie," said Forest Park junior Beth Fahey, who won the 3,200 and finished second in the 1,600. "We came in thinking we could win this, and I still think we should have."
The Indians' boys' team defeated Colonial Forge, 106-92, marking the second straight year that Gar-Field has won or shared the boys' and girls' title.
Although Rasheed McClaude's first in the shot put was the Indians' boys' only individual victory, Gar-Field used its depth to maintain a healthy lead for most of the meet.
Colonial Forge pulled to within six points before the final event, but Gar-Field's 4x400 relay team of Jarmel Latney, Darren Garrigan, Kevin Tillage and Terry Jackson sealed the victory with a win.
Several Northwestern Region athletes said they were disappointed that they were not able to wear spiked shoes, a prohibition set to protect FUMA's basketball court, which is enclosed by the track.
But few athletes had more obstacles to deal with than Potomac senior Joe Robinson. Robinson, who posted the nation's top time (6.26) in the 55 in early January, had to repeat his victory in the dash after a spectator's flash camera interfered with the track's electronic timing system.
Robinson had to run the repeat dash after aggravating a muscle in his hip while running a leg of the Panthers' 4x200 relay. Robinson said he doesn't believe the injury is serious and should not affect his performance at next weekend's state meet.
"Our team hasn't practiced in a week, I haven't got my best running shoes and I had to run the 55 dash three times," said Robinson, who started the day with a 6.36 performance in the preliminary run, which was faster than his final time (6.47). "I wasn't enthusiastic about running the 55 again but I did what I had to do to win."