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Ballou, Anacostia take track titles; Iracks, Fields are MVPs
(Published May 31, 1999)
By MICHAEL NEWALL
Ballou High School of Southeast Washington captured its fourth straight boys team title at the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association outdoor track championships May 20-21.
The team, led by the outstanding performances of sophomores Ricardo Iracks and Ronald Gill, easily bested Spingarn High School, 194-127, at Spingarn’s track in Northeast.
Ballou coach Noel Cyrus expressed confidence going into the meet noting, "Throughout the season we ranked in the top three of eight different events, and if some key people can step up today we should do very well."
Iracks finished off an excellent year with arguably the best performance of his career. Iracks was named the most valuable male athlete as he carried Ballou to another title with victories in the 3,200 (10:24.7) and 1,600 (4:36.0).
Iracks also held the distinction of being the only athlete to add his name to the record books when his 4:30.2 finish in the steeplechase convincingly broke Eric Schmidt’s 6-year-old time of 4:38.24. Iracks had not competed in the event since last year’s outdoor championships but noted that he was particularly fired up for the race: "I wanted to come out here and establish myself as one of the top distance runners in the area."
The league’s cross-country champion in the fall and the winner of the 3,200 and 1,600 at the indoor track championships last winter, Iracks was heavily favored in his events. Along with his first place finishes, he also placed second in the 800 (1:57.7).
Other standouts on the Ballou team included Gill, who won the 200 (22.0) and 400 (48.5), Antonio Gray in the 800 (1:57.0), Devaughn Jarvis who won the discus (121-5) and Emen Akpan who finished first in the 110 hurdles (14.2) and the triple jump (42-1).
Although ranking well in the final standings, James McClellands’ impressive victory in the 100 (10.8) provided the lone first place finish for the hosting Spingarn High.
Anacostia took the girls title with the help of peak performances by Marja Matthews, who won the shotput at 31-7, and Devon Jackson, who tied with Shellise Epps of Wilson for the high jump title at 4-10. Anacostia also gained some key points by winning the 4x100 with the team of Jowana Jones, Mary Wilson, Latisha Watson and Colette Grinage. Anacostia captured the title, finishing safely ahead of Wilson, 141-99.
Ballou junior Yasmin Fields’ outstanding performance earned her the most valuable female athlete award. Highly favored going into the event, Fields had quite an impressive day, winning the 800 (2:29.8), 1600 (5:51.2) and 3,200 (12:49.3).
Some coaches and parents expressed dissatisfaction at how the athletes have been treated by the D.C. public school system. The athletes have yet to receive any trophies or awards from the indoor track season and such necessities as an electric timer were not provided.
One coach complained, "We are not receiving funding or awards in a timely manner." Another added, "It’s just sad because these kids who are working hard the whole year are not receiving the proper respect that they deserve."
Many parents remarked that coaches and coordinators of the event deserve a great deal of credit for the extra time and, in some cases, money that they put in during the season. One parent remarked, "If it were not for some of these coaches out here today, track and field would not exist in the D.C. public school system."
Steeplechase—Ricardo Iracks, Ballou, 4:30.2; 300 Hurdles—Nathan Alexander, H.D. Woodson, 39.7; 3,200—Iracks, Ballou, 10:24.7; Shot Put—James Lynch, Dunbar, 45-51/2; Long Jump—Kevin Epps, Eastern, 20-5-3/4; High Jump—Douglas Campbell, Eastern, 6-6; 4x100—Wilson (Curtis Jones, Kirby Joackim, Edwing Narvaez, Marco Binion), 43.5; 800—Antonis Gray, Ballou, 1:57.0; 110 hurdles—Emen Akbpan, Ballou, 14.2; 100—James McClelland, Spingarn, 10.8; 400—Ronald Gill, Ballou, 48.5; 1,600—Iracks, Ballou, 4:36.0; 200—Ronald Gill, Ballou, 22.0; Discus—Devaugh Jarvis, Ballou, 121-5; Triple jump—Emen Akpan, Ballou, 42-1; 4x400—Ballou (Gill, Gray, E. Akpan, Max Walker) 3:22.8.
TOP TEAMS: 1, Ballou, 194; 2, Spingarn, 127; 3, Dunbar
300 hurdles—Lilieth Palmer, Coolidge, 45.8; 3,200—Yasmine Fields, Ballou, 12:49.3; Shot Put—Marja Matthews, Anacostia, 31-7; Long jump—Adrienne Jack-son, Eastern, 16-1-1/2; High Jump—Shellise Epps, Wilson, and Devon Jackson, Anacostia, 4-10; 4x100—Anacostia (Jowana Jones, Mary Watson, Latisha Watson, Colette Grinage), 51.8; 800—Fields, Ballou, 2:29.8; 100 hurdles—Nakia Shepherd, Dunbar, 15.1; 100—Tysha Colon, H.D. Woodson, 12-2; 400—JeTonya Govan, H.D. Woodson, 58.3; 1,600—Fields, Ballou, 5:51.2 200—Govan, H.D. Woodson, 25.0; Discus—Kyana Bradley, Theodore Roosevelt, 114-6; Triple jump—Jennings, H.D. Woodson, 34-10-1/2; 4x400—H.D. Woodson (Jessica Jennings, Remini Kemper, Colon Govan), 4:16.0.
TOP TEAMS: 1, Anacostia, 141; 2, Wilson ,99; 3, H.D. Woodson, 92.
Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator