Spotting Rashad Manning in a crowd of shot putters is tough. The Riverdale Baptist sophomore is about 5 feet 10 and when some competitors are as many as seven inches taller than he is, he’s reduced to a relative shrub among towering trees.
But when he steps into the thrower’s circle, Manning becomes the giant who can’t be missed. He certainly couldn’t be overlooked Saturday at the Last Track To Philly indoor track and field meet in North Bethesda. Manning effortlessly tossed bombs down the sector while opposing coaches whistled quietly to themselves and rolled their eyes at one another in astonishment.
Manning’s best throw went 54 feet 9.75 inches, a meet record. Doug Neary of Mount St. Joseph was runner-up (50-3.75).
Manning’s blend of technique and power led one opposing coach to a moment of unintended honesty. When Manning’s second throw landed, the coach slammed the cover shut on the tablet he was using as a recording device — he knew at that point his athlete had no chance of winning — before quickly composing himself and encouraging his thrower.
“I’ve been against so many tall guys,” Manning, who is undefeated this season, said with a smile. “When I take them down it’s like ‘Got you.’
“But I know a lot of those guys so it’s all in fun.”
Nearly 2,000 athletes from 80 public and private schools crammed into the Handley Center at Georgetown Prep for what was primarily a relay meet. It was one of few remaining opportunities for area athletes to qualify for the Penn Relays in April, one of the signature meets of the year.
McDonogh was the top boys’ team on Saturday, winning the team title ahead of Quince Orchard and Loyola Blakefield.
Bishop McNamara dominated on the girls’ side, outdistancing Middletown and McDonogh.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase sophomore Caroline Beakes stayed white-hot in distance racing, staying patient through the first part of her race before making a big move late to win the mile by five seconds in a meet-record 5 minutes 7.64 seconds. She also anchored the Barons’ 4x800 relay team that finished second behind Mount de Sales.
Brielyn Rogers was the catalyst for McNamara’s team victory. The team captain, a Tennessee recruit, breezed to victory in the triple jump (38-2.5) and the long jump (17-5.25) before running on the Mustangs’ shuttle hurdle-sprint relay team that won its section and finished third overall.
And she did it despite having stitches in her mouth from oral surgery Thursday.
“I’m hurting,” Rogers admitted when it was all over. “I wanted to compete, though, fight through the pain.”