Triple jump gives Indians another title

FORK UNION — The Gar-Field girls track team had to wait a little longer than usual to win another Cardinal District title.

Down by 10 points to an up-and-coming Forest Park squad heading into the triple jump, the Indians took the first four places in the day’s final event to win 175-158. The Bruins scored just a point in the event, a sixth-place finish by Rufina Megajbe.

“I thought we were up by four but we were actually down by 10 points,” said Gar-Field coach Jeff Custer, who has won seven consecutive indoor titles at the Dale City school. “I didn’t know until [Forest Park coach] Dave [Davis] told me.”

The triple jump event was supposed to take place earlier in the day. However, there was confusion as to when it should be held due to a conflicting race on the outdoor track.

That didn’t matter to the Indians, though. Kaelin Mejia won the event with a leap of 32 feet, 11 and three-quarter inches while teammates Raina Brown, Crystal Sensabaugh and Kalin Locke took the next three places.

Brown, who also won the long jump with a 16-3 3/4, said winning districts never gets old.

“We knew we had to pull this together,” said Brown, a junior. “We had nothing else to save our energy for, so we might as well let it all go in the last event.”

The Indian girls had several other individuals besides Brown that had outstanding days. Tiffany Evans repeated as district champion in the shot put with a toss of 44-9. Evans won the Cardinal District and Northwest Region titles and finished second in the Group AAA state meet last year.

Annandale transfer Afua Amponsah, who was state runner-up in the 55-meter hurdles last year, won the 55-hurdles, 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash for the Indians. Freshman Sophia Lafontant won the high jump while the Indians’ 800-meter relay squad also took first place.

Davis said the Bruin girls were disappointed with second place but also said his team has come a long way in just three years.

“We had 12 points in the district meet three years ago and we had 158 points today,” Davis said. “You can see how far the program has come and how far the kids have come.”

The Forest Park girls got a bevy of points from its distance runners, led by Beth Fahey. The Bruins junior all-state cross country runner won the 3,200 and was second in the 1,600. Christina Lindsay won the 500 and Elisa Rhynedance and Allison Anoll went 1-2 in the pole vault for Forest Park.

For Hylton, Jemissa Hess won the 1,000-meter run in a season-best 3:02.54 and also took first in the 1,600 with a 5:09.14.

The Indian boys made it a clean sweep and their win was much less suspenseful. All-state football player Darren Garrigan and Jarmel Latney led the way for Gar-Field, which tallied 185 points to Woodbridge’s 115. Forest Park finished with 112, Hylton 44. Garrigan won the 55 dash and the long jump while Latney took first in the high jump and the 55-meter hurdles. Teammates Eric Coleman and Rasheed McClaude also fared well. Coleman won the 300-meter dash while McClaude won the shot put. The Indians also swept all three relays (800, 1,600 and 3,200).

For Woodbridge, Tim Stark won the 1,000 and 1,600-meter runs while Logan Skidmore won the indoor district title in the pole vault for the second time in three seasons. Also for the Vikings, Dan-iel Simpkins won the 500-meter run while Chezaray Conley was second in the 500, triple jump and high jump and fourth in the triple jump.

For Forest Park, Reynold Smith won the indoor district title in the triple jump for the second straight year while Richard Bates won the 3,200.

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