History was made this weekend at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference track championships. For the first time in school history, St. John’s took home a title. The Cadets won the girls’ championship on a wet Saturday afternoon at Good Counsel, while DeMatha took the boys’ title for the 16th time in school history.
The St. John’s girls’ victory ended a string of 11 girls’ titles won by Elizabeth Seton. The Cadets finished with 164 points, 9.5 more than the second-place Roadrunners.
First-year St. John’s coach Desmond Dunham said the secret to their success was a comprehensive effort. Whereas many track coaches hone in on perfecting one event, he wanted to pay “an appropriate attention” to everything this season.
“We were well-balanced all around,” he said. “It came down to every point counting. All season I’d been preaching that we’re only as good as our weakest link.”
Dunham said that the 800-meters was a key event for the Cadets, as they earned 23 out of 24 possible points after junior Alahna Sabbakhan and senior Aliya Williams went 1-2. Sabbakhan was a standout for the team, earning Female Athlete of the Meet.
For the Stags, Saturday’s win is the team’s fifth since 2010. Senior Brendon Stewart was named Male Athlete of the Meet after picking up four gold medals on the day. Senior Devin Richmond was named Field Athlete of the Meet with two gold medals, one in high jump, the other in triple jump.
Coach Buddy Crutchfield pointed to a strong third-place finish in the 4×800, the day’s first event, as the catalyst for a strong performance.
“The whole team was watching along the fence and in the stands, yelling and cheering. It gave us that little ‘umph’ that we needed,” he said.
Crutchfield also pointed to balance as a key ingredient for this year’s team. He said the Stags got a nearly even amount of help from the track events and the field events. The team finished with 182.50 points, 77.5 points ahead of the second-place St. John’s boys.
“My team knows that we can enjoy it but also be humble,” Crutchfield said. “Afterward I simply told them ‘Hey, job well done.’”