A Southern Maryland Athletic Conference meet official yelled for North Point senior Devon Gutrick following his 55-meter hurdles win at the conference’s championship meet in Landover. Gutrick turned his head to make eye contact, wondering what it was about.
“You got the SMAC record,” the official said.
Shortly after that, Gutrick was told he finished his race in 7.39 seconds, which is now the fifth-best time in the nation in the event.
A slight smile broke out on Gutrick’s face but nothing more. Calm and collected, Gutrick let the moment sink in, before matter-of-factly saying, “I like that, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
What Gutrick also was hoping for Saturday night was a second consecutive conference championship. North Point did that, capturing the SMAC title with 155 points. Westlake (79) and Great Mills (60.5) were second and third, respectively.
The North Point girls also won the conference championship with 107 points. Northern-Calvert (74) and Huntingtown (60) rounded out the top three.
Gutrick’s times have progressively dropped this season as his start off the block has improved. That’s been an area of emphasis for the state of Maryland’s new No. 1 hurdler.
“That’s the thing I really wanted to work on,” Gutrick said. “That’s what’s going to make me drop my time down. I won’t have to chase people through the hurdles. It’s such a short race.”
Other North Point boys’ winners included senior Elijah Noel (triple jump, 43 feet 7 inches), junior Jacorey Walston (high jump, 5-10), senior Michael Williams (300 dash, 36.18; 55 dash, 6.60), senior Michael Rollins (500, 1:07.03; 800, 2:01.32), the 800-meter relay (1:33.44) and the 1,600-meter relay (3:38.92). Rollins’s 500 time set a conference meet record.
North Point junior Valencia McDowell earned individual wins in the girls’ 500 (1:15.99) and the 800 (2:22.09). McDowell’s 500 time set a new conference meet record. She also ran the final leg on North Point’s winning 3,200-meter relay that finished in 9:53.74, shattering the previous conference meet record by over six seconds. More importantly for McDowell, this marks the seventh year in a row the North Point girls have won a SMAC title.
“I don’t want the pattern to stop,” she said.
Patuxent sophomore Hayley Jackson returned from a four-week layoff due to tendinitis to win both the 1,600 (5:14.98) and 3,200 (11:30.91) comfortably. Jackson said she was pleased with her effort after being forced to take some time off from the track.
“I’m proud of myself because I haven’t run in four weeks,” Jackson said. “I’m coming back and hitting my times at the beginning of the season.”
The St. John’s boys’ 800-meter relay team had an elite showing at Saturday’s Kevin Dare High School Invitational in State College, Pa., winning with a meet-record time of 1:29.32. This gives the relay team the fifth-best time in the country.
Bullis’s 800-meter relay team, featuring three freshmen, was second with a time 1:31.72.
St. John’s senior Alonzo Ruffin Jr. (6.99) and sophomore Eric Harrison (7.01), members of the 800-relay team, also finished second and third, respectively, in the 60-meter dash.
Bullis (1:40.67), Riverdale Baptist (1:40.76) and Elizabeth Seton (1:40.95) had spectacular showings in the girls’ 800-meter relay, finishing second, third and fourth, respectively, behind Cheltenham (Pa.) (1:39.49). The three Maryland private schools now hold the fifth, sixth and seventh best times nationally.
Riverdale Baptist’s boys’ 3,200-meter relay team won in 8:33.64. Elizabeth Seton senior Autumn Robinson won the girls’ triple jump in 38-7
“It was exciting to compete against our local teams but at the same time cheer each other on,” Bullis Coach Joe Lee said. “At the end of the day we want to see Maryland, Virginia and D.C. represent well.”