Over the past three years, the Bullis boys’ track team has entered New Balance Nationals with aspirations to win a national title. Yet injuries and miscues have led to near-misses and no national crown.
But during this past weekend’s New Balance Nationals Outdoor at BB&T Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., the boys secured two national championships.
The Bulldogs won the 1,000-meter sprint medley relay and capped the meet with a 4x400 relay title. And the Bullis girls won three national championships to help the Potomac program combine for more titles than any other school, proving it’s one of the country’s best.
“It makes it so special because of the path and all the trials and tribulations we’ve gone over the past three years,” junior Ashton Allen said. “We were expected to win national championships in the past three years. It feels great to get that finally.”
Bullis opened the meet with victories in the boys’ and girls’ 1,000-meter sprint medley relay. The boys’ relay of senior Austin Allen, senior Andre Turay, junior Ryan Willie and Ashton Allen ran the country’s second-best time ever (1:52.41). The girls’ relay of senior Sierra Leonard, senior Lauryn Harris, junior Leah Phillips and junior Shaniya Hall finished in 2:09.38.
The highlight of the meet for Bullis Coach Joe Lee came during the girls’ 4x100 shuttle hurdle relay victory, as the Bulldogs won in a U.S.-best time of 56.74. Senior Jordyn Jeffers, who hadn’t run on a top relay all season, anchored the group, which also included Phillips, Harris and junior Ashley Wallace.
“She’s resilient,” Lee said. “That won my heart like no other. She was so excited, she ran across the finish line and tackled her teammate.”
The Bullis boys and girls capped the meet Sunday with 4x400 relay victories, becoming the first school to win the sprint medley relays and 4x400 relays for both genders at New Balance Nationals.
The girls’ 4x400 relay was a surreal moment for Hall, who anchored in 53.62. She dealt with nagging hamstring pain over the past year before returning to normal training about two months ago. Leonard, Phillips and Harris were also on the relay that ran 3:39.62.
Before the race, Lee jokingly asked Hall which leg of the relay she wanted to run. Hall responded, “Really? Are you kidding me?”
“What made it so special is a couple of months ago I wasn’t where I wanted to be,” Hall said. “Me coming out here and winning these titles put a really big smile on my face.”
The boys’ 4x400 relay came down to the wire, but Ashton Allen pulled away with a 46.38 split for a U.S.-best time of 3:09.86. About a half-hour earlier, he placed second in the 200 championship (20.76). Austin Allen, Turay and Willie also ran the relay.
“That’s been our goal all season to show we’re the best,” Ashton Allen said.