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Two track athletes score ribbons

(Feb. 28, 2014) The top eight finishers in each event during the 3A indoor track state championship last Tuesday at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover scored points for their respective teams and earned awards. Stephen Decatur seniors, Layla Fowler and Katie Collins, took home eighth-place ribbons in their competitions.

“Those two places I expected to score points. Anywhere else would have been a bonus,” said Decatur Coach Jody Stigler.

Fowler, who was battling the stomach flu, fought just to finish the 500-meter race. Even though she was feeling ill, she still managed to take eighth place, crossing the finish line in 1:24.55.

“I had it the day before and that day (of the state meet) it was terrible. I thought I was going to have to drop out, but I finished,” Fowler said. “I did the best I could. I was just glad I finished it. I was so glad to place.”

Stigler said the competition in the pole vault event was very strong this year. The winner, Olivia Gruver of Franklin High School, vaulted 13 feet, breaking the state record (12 feet 7 inches).

Collins vaulted 8 feet to finish in eighth place.

“I did pretty average. It wasn’t my best performance…[and] I got a little emotional because it’s my last time ever,” Collins said.

Decatur senior Kacie Moore and freshman Jillian Mitrecic both vaulted 7 feet 6 inches, to tie for ninth place with Makenzie Keepers of Thomas Johnson High School.

A total of nine Seahawks competed in the state meet.

Freshman Christina Romano tied for 12th place with four other girls in the high jump (4 feet 6 inches) and junior Jackson Mumford took 13th in the 500-meter race (1:12.70).

Fowler, Romano, junior Jenna Leitgeb and sophomore Katie Hofman teamed up for the 1,600-meter relay race. Unfortunately, the girls finished in last (16th) place (4:31.92). Sophomore Ben Short participated in the high jump.

“The competition was tough, as expected,” Stigler said. “It was a long meet. We left at 11:30 a.m. and we got home at almost 1 a.m.”

Stigler thought the season went well overall. The girls placed third at the Bayside Conference championship meet, while the boys’ team finished fourth. The Lady Seahawks also took third in the 3A East Regional meet, “the highest they’ve placed in a long time,” Stigler said. They boys placed seventh.

“I thought the season went well,” Stigler said. “The main thing you look for in terms of a successful season is individual advancement. I thought we had some really good improvements, especially the boys’ team. The boys’ struggled in the beginning of the season, but they made huge improvements.”

A number of seniors, including Fowler and Collins, will graduate in May, but some underclassmen were big contributors this indoor season.

Fowler said her four years competing in indoor track were “definitely memorable.”

“I’m sad it’s over. It definitely made an impact on my high school career in general, just because it was a hard sport to do, but I love it,” she said.

Collins said this season “everyone worked together really well. Everyone had fun and supported each other.”

Competing since her freshman year, when asked how she would sum up her four-year indoor track career, Collins said “they were my best seasons overall.”

“It’s the first sports I did for myself and I made a lot of friends, that’s for sure,” she said.


Stephen Decatur seniors, Katie Collins, left, and Layla Fowler, won ribbons for placing eighth in the pole vault and 500-meter race, respectively, during the 3A state championship Feb. 18.


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