The 1,600-meter run at the Maryland 4A boys outdoor track and field championships Saturday afternoon in Baltimore was a little tougher than Gaithersburg junior Zach Martinez had been planning on when he mapped his pre-race strategy. But Martinez was able to hold off a determined charge from Old Mill's Anthony Littlejohn and pull off a two-win performance at the meet.
Martinez won in 4 minutes 23.09 seconds, just ahead of Littlejohn (4:23.66).
"I hoped to tire him out in the first few laps, but he ran a really good race," Martinez said. "I had to bite down and get the win."
Martinez also won the 3,200-meter run championship on Friday night at Morgan State University's Hughes Stadium to pull off one of the finest performances among the 4A boys.
Martinez, who was a cross country second-team All-Met in the fall, had a good ending to an up-and-down season. After being sick during the indoor track championship, Martinez found his groove again at the T.C. Williams Invitational at the beginning of May by winning the 1,600. He was the Montgomery County champion in the 1,600 and the 4A West Region champion in both the 1,600 and 3,200, setting up his double at the state meet.
"It started off rough, but that [T.C. Williams Invitational] helped a lot," Martinez said. "I definitely expected to come here and win both races."
Gaithersburg finished third in the team competition, scoring 61 points, well behind champion Old Mill (94.5) and second-place Suitland (93). Along with the win for Martinez, Jonathan Welbon won the triple jump.
The Damascus girls team finished fourth in 4A with 43 points, behind Largo's winning total of 113. Paint Branch took fourth in the 3A girls' meet behind Westlake while Poolesville was third in the 1A competition.
Damascus's fourth-place finish was sparked by freshman Jacquelyn Adcock's second-place finish in the discus, junior Erika Zoller's second place in the 100 hurdles and sophomore Emma Hanson's second in the high jump. Zoller was also fifth in the high jump and sixth place in the 300 hurdles.
For Paint Branch, All-Met senior Toni Aluko won the girls' high jump and triple jump and was second in the long jump and third in the 300 hurdles. Senior Ashley Fauntleroy won the discus and was second in the shot put.
Senior Ashley Loh won the triple jump and the long jump to lead Poolesville.