Douglass junior Rico Gomez aimed to stay near the front of the pack in the 500 meters final at the Maryland 2A/1A indoor track and field championships, and then use his kick on the final straightaway.
But as Gomez approached the finish line, he saw Largo senior Marcelle Preston matching him stride for stride.
They finished in a dead heat, and only when their names appeared on the scoreboard did Gomez realize he had won the state title. Gomez finished in 1 minute 5.344 seconds, just five thousandths of a second ahead of Preston at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex.
Both times beat the previous boys’ 2A indoor state championship meet record of 1:05.65.
“I stayed as close as possible before making my move,” Gomez said. “I figured out what my body could handle. It was so close.”
Gomez’s win accounted for 10 points for the Eagles, who claimed the boys’ 2A championship with 65 points. Douglass also got a boost from Terrell Green’s first-place finish in the 1,600 (4:21.04).
Preston made up for any disappointment in the 500 with a first-place finish and another meet record in the 300 (34.79). He also was part of Largo’s winning relay teams in the 4x200 (1:32.00) and 4x400 (3:29.05).
“We had a long break and I had only practiced once,” Preston said. “I was winded in the last 50. I felt comfortable coming into the 300 that I could get the win. And I prevailed.”
Poolesville All-Met Chase Weaverling won the 3,200 comfortably with a time of 9:29.75, a 2A state meet record.
“With a little less than 400 [meters] to go, I heard my coach yelling, ‘You have to run 69 [seconds] to get the record,” Weaverling said. “I started booking it.”
Largo senior Favour Ihekwene won the shot put with a personal-best throw of 39 feet 1 inch, helping her team to a runner-up finish in the 2A competition.
Largo’s girls, like the boys, picked up wins in the 4x200 (1:46.77) and 4x400 (4:05.35) relays. And Central’s Chandler Cotton was a double winner in the 300 (36.02) and 500 (1:07.09). As a team, the Falcons placed third in the boys’ 1A meet with 56 points.