Gary Ross, Aaron Robinson and the nation’s top-ranked 4x800 meter relay team set the tone early for Oxon Hill, which ran away with its second consecutive Prince George’s County indoor track and field title Thursday in Landover.
Robinson, a senior, used a 1:59.24 split to turn a one-second lead into a 10-second advantage at the end of the relay’s second leg. By the time he snatched the baton for the anchor leg, Ross had an 18-second cushion. He also had plenty of reason to conserve energy with a busy upcoming race schedule.
But rather than taking his foot off the gas, a thought he said never crossed his mind, Ross floored it en route to a 1:55.94 split and an 8:03.03 team finish, shaving more than a second off the group’s previous best that already sat atop the nation’s leader board.
“Usually when I run the [4x800] and we have a lead like that, I just try to lap as many people as possible and beat whoever is in front of me,” said Ross, who, at his own insistence, competed in the 4x400 at the end of the meet despite the team results being decided.
With Ross leading the way and big performances from Robinson and seniors Anthony Wimbish and Daniel George, the Clippers secured their second consecutive county title with 124 points. Suitland (71) finished second and Largo (44) was third.
Ross took home individual titles in the 500 and open 800, using a late kick over the final 100 meters of the former to pass Robinson (second) and High Point senior Ken Nelson (third) to win in 1:04.85. Ross leapfrogged Robinson for the top time in Maryland this winter.
In the 800, Ross didn’t waste any time taking his usual approach, sprinting out to a quick start and daring the field to keep up, winning in 1:56.32.
“That’s my race,” Ross said. “I feel very confident in the , seems like no one tries to give me a challenge so I just run my race.”
Eleanor Roosevelt senior Edward Belsoi swept the long distance events with a 4:37.68 in the 1,600 and a 10:15.66 in the 3,200. Suitland senior Isa Bynum was a double winner in the horizontal jumps, leaping 22 feet 4 inches in the long jump and 46-8 in the triple jump.
On the girls’ side, C.H. Flowers used a well-rounded team performance spearheaded by senior Pharist O’Neal to repeat as county champions with 140 points. Bowie (70) finished second and Douglass (58.5) third.
“Everybody, I mean everybody, contributed to the team title,” Jaguars Coach Bryan Brown said.
O’Neal (7.21) and senior Collese Daley (7.27) took first and second in the 55 after taking second and third in the 300 to help separate the Jaguars from the competition. Sophomore Dejah Grant won the high jump (5 feet 2 inches) and 800 (2:27.93), and all three were on the first-place 4x400 team, which won in 4:01.21. Freshman Javon Watts, who finished second in the 500 in 1:18.98, rounded out the relay team.