Last year, O'Connell senior Michelle Hart watched the D.C. Invitational at George Mason University from the sideline. This year, she'll participate.
Hart keyed wins in the 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays and won the high jump and 55-meter hurdles in the Prep School Qualifier track meet yesterday at Episcopal in Alexandria.
The two top 4x200 and 4x400 boys and girls relay teams qualified for the D.C. Invitational at George Mason on Jan. 29. Yesterday's was the third of four qualifying meets, and featured eight of the top private schools in the Washington area; no team scores were kept.
"There are so many amazing athletes" at the D.C. Invitational, Hart said. "To be a part of it is amazing."
Hart took the baton 20 meters behind Good Counsel on the anchor leg of the 4x400. Ireton made a hard charge on Hart into the final turn of the first lap, and Hart responded. She held off Ireton and passed Good Counsel in the second lap to help O'Connell win in 4 minutes 25.23 seconds. Good Counsel was second in 4:26.85.
"At first, I didn't think I could catch [Good Counsel] because it was my fifth event" including the hurdles trials, Hart said. "Once the Ireton girl started to pass me I knew I had to move."
Hart won the high jump at 4 feet 10 inches and the hurdles in 9.03. She is the two-time defending hurdles champion at the Hoxton Invitational.
Hart "did everything for us," O'Connell assistant coach Ed Iacobucci said. "It was a great comeback. . . . She showed a lot of guts and she is a real tough, tough girl."
In the most exciting race of the day, O'Connell junior Dan Antalics caught Good Counsel All-Met Matt Hanlon at the finish line in the mile to win, 4:41.86 to 4:41.97. Woodberry Forest freshman Rashaad Woodard also had an impressive showing, winning the 55 meters in 6.64 seconds and anchoring the 4x200 relay team, which won in 1:38.01.
MICROTEL INVITATIONAL: Eighteen meet records were set at Virginia Tech on Saturday. Eleanor Roosevelt All-Met Allen Simms increased his nation-best triple jump mark to 50 feet 8 inches, shattering the meet record by almost four feet (46-10 1/2).
Simms also broke the old meet record (22-8 1/4) by more than a foot in the boys long jump with a leap of 23-11.
Potomac's Rico Lloyd also had an outstanding day, placing second in the 55 meters (6.49), 300 (34.61) and long jump (23-3 1/2).
Long Reach All-Met senior Teyarnte Carter ran the fastest time ever by a high school athlete in the 55, winning in 7.03 seconds. Carter also placed third in the 300 in 40.35.
Lake Braddock All-Met senior Erin Swain captured the 3,200 in 11:05.16 and Hayfield All-Met junior Carrie Bennett won the pole vault at 10-0.