Fatigue was not on the mind of Douglass senior Justin McKenzie yesterday, nor was it an option for him at the Maryland 3A East Region track and field championships.
On a steamy day at Reservoir High in Fulton, McKenzie calmly cruised to wins in the 400 and 800 meters and keyed the 4x200 and 4x400 relays to victory as the Eagles won the team title decisively.
"I've been training so hard this year, I've been conditioned for this," McKenzie said. "And I'm pretty much used to running in this many races. . . . I really wasn't tired, this was just like a warmup race."
McKenzie won the 400 in 50.2 seconds and the 800 in 1:59.75, junior Norville Hughes won the 110 hurdles and sophomore William Green won the 300 hurdles to help the Eagles finish with 138 points. Wilde Lake was second with 85, followed by Centennial with 84.
Long Reach, behind the stirring effort of senior Timisha Gomez, won a close girls' team competition with 132 points. Douglass had 122 points, and River Hill had 76.
Gomez, a standout player on the Lightning's basketball team who will play for Saint Joseph's next season, won the triple jump, 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and was on a winning 4x100 relay.
Gomez joined the track team to stay in shape for basketball, but she has stuck with the sport ever since. She said the extra spring work has helped spark her basketball career, although she added that some of her success on the track comes from her experience in gymnastics.
"Track is great for basketball players," Gomez said. "It keeps you in shape, it helps you gain endurance. And if you're not in shape, track will whip you into shape real fast."
Sophomore Tiffani Long won the long jump and was third in the 200 meters, and junior Janay Woolridge won the 200 (25.89). Freshman Alyce Harrell won the discus (120 feet 8 inches) and senior Sarah Mero won the 1,600 (5:39) and took third in the 3,200.
The Lightning won the 4x100 and 4x200 relays as well.
"We have a very young team, this is a rebuilding year," Coach Gregory Johnson said. "We're trying to diversify, to be able to score points in a wide range of events. This was a very encouraging performance."
Douglass junior Starema Flood was a key part of the Eagles' girls' second-place finish, posting wins in the 400 (58.18) and 800 (2:26.09). On a young team composed of freshmen and sophomores, Flood is a key team leader, Coach Rick Johnson said.
"She's an excellent runner," Johnson said. "She works very hard, and when the rest of the team sees her succeed, I think they feed off that."
River Hill senior Mike Wade was the only triple winner, taking the high jump (6-2), triple jump (44-8) and long jump (21-6). Wilde Lake senior Raymond Parrott won the 100 (11.12) and 200 (22.79).