As Lake Braddock track and field coach Bob Digby's career at the Burke school winds down, the Bruins found some magic last weekend in setting two records and pulling out a third Northern Region girls' title in four years.
The Bruins will try to win one final title for Digby this weekend at the AAA championships at Todd Stadium in Newport News.
"It's just a great way to go out," Digby said.
As for his chances on a state title, he added later: "Field events and distance points, that's what we make our living with. Hopefully next weekend -- of course, Bethel's tough to beat, there's no question about that -- but hopefully we can get a trophy."
The Bruins' depth in the field events and distance races, in which they amassed all of their points in the region meet, was the key to the title. Lake Braddock had 101 points to beat Hayfield, which had three individual titles and two second-place finishes to score 84 points.
Last Thursday, Lake Braddock's 4x800 relay of seniors Erin Harrison and Kelsey Snowden, sophomore Michelle Presley and junior Erin Klein set a meet record of 9 minutes 17.56 seconds, winning by seven seconds. The next night, Lake Braddock junior All-Met Anna Noguchi set the meet record in the pole vault, going 11 feet 1 inch to break a six-year-old mark.
"The amazing thing about what Anna did is that she was running back and forth to the triple jump, trying to get points in that event, too," Digby said.
Lake Braddock's quest to place at the state meet will be tough. Bethel, led by junior standout Francena McCorory, won last year and has many of its top runners back from that team. Brooke Point, Woodbridge, Hermitage and Hayfield could compete for a title, as well.
Lake Braddock's strength will be in the 800, 1,600 and the 3,200, and the Bruins have the top seed in the 4x800 relay. Also, Bruins' senior All-Met Ashley Haislip is the top seed in the high jump at 5 feet 9.
Two of Hayfield's individual titles were won by senior All-Met Murielle Ahoure, who walked away from the meet with a record, running a time of 11.99 seconds to win the 100-meter dash. She also won the 200 meters.
"It means a lot to me," Ahoure said of the record. "It's my senior year, so I get to leave my footsteps."
Minter Leads Wolverines
On the boys' side, West Potomac finally pulled out a first-place finish, led by Antwane Minter's wins in the long and triple jumps. In Coach Corey Bowerman's last season with the team, the Wolverines -- who had finished second for three straight years -- scored 84 points, ahead of Hayfield's 70.
"We've been hearing it all week about how many times we've finished second," Minter said. "We wanted to do whatever we could to get this one for Coach Bowerman."
Hayfield was led by All-Met Travis Swaggard, who won the 300 hurdles in 38.41 seconds, then followed it up with a win in the 200 (22.13 seconds). Swaggard has emerged this spring as one of the area's best 300 hurdlers.
"I've been putting in extra work on the side, doing some extra running in the park on my own," Swaggard said. "I just realized I have to have the drive to get better."
While it did not set a meet record, the Robinson boys may have had the weekend's most impressive performance. The Rams' 4x800 relay blazed to first with a time of 7:49.26 -- missing a meet record by less than a second -- to place Robinson among the top teams in the nation in that event.
Juniors Christian Witcher and Chris Clark, senior Sean Welsh and junior Mark Hussa, who clocked a 1:53 split in the anchor leg, won the race by seven seconds over West Springfield.