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D.C. track

Wilson favored to win varsity titles

(Published March 25, 2002)

By BRIAN BRADFORD

Staff Writer

The D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association’s outdoor track season jumps out of the blocks this week with the year’s first invitational meet at Coolidge Senior High School.

Twenty teams from the high school and junior high levels begin competing in track and field events, hoping to win a DCIAA championship.

Wilson Senior High’s team is favored to win the boys and girls titles. The Tigers swept the indoor championships earlier in the school year and won last year’s outdoor boys’ title.

Ballou poses the strongest threat to Wilson. The Knights have built a strong program under coach Noel Cirrus and have been perennial winners. It was just last season that Wilson dethroned the Knights from a four-year championship run.

Woodson has a young team that coach Lionel Russell hopes will be "the giant killers" at the end of the season.

"Wilson has the edge because they have a lot of seniors, but I plan on pushing some of our young sprinters up to the middle distances where I think they can win for us," Russell said.

Talented sprinters are on every team in the DCIAA. The middle distance and field events may separate the top teams.

Dunbar’s girls were narrowly edged out in the indoor championships and have their work cut out for them this spring. The Tiders are strong on the track and are looking to win the long and high jump events.

The sleeper team in the field is Anacostia. Coach Frank Briscoe, who also coaches Anacostia’s girls’ basketball team, leads the Indians. "That’s a great thing for them," said Coolidge girls’ track coach Adrian Dixon. "He has them all year long. He is with them for cross-country, basketball, and indoor and outdoor track. They should be strong at the end of the year."

Coolidge is rebuilding a team that is struggling to compete without any real feeder system. The Colts once received runners from Rebault Junior High, now closed, and Paul Junior High, now a public charter school.

"The closest junior high school to Coolidge is MacFarland – which is in Roosevelt’s back yard," Dixon said.

Several events that are not part of the indoor schedule are added to the outdoor meets. The steeple chase, 1,600-meter run, 110-meter high hurdles, 400-meter hurdles and the 800-meter run are events in which DCIAA athletes compete only in the outdoor season.

Dixon said the additional events in the spring give the larger schools an advantage when the smaller teams are unable to place competitors in every event. That and the influx of athletes who join the track teams after basketball season ends make the season unpredictable and exciting, Dixon said.

The Coolidge relays give teams in the area a chance to get qualifying times for the upcoming Penn Relays. The Penn Relays is a three-day track event held annually at the University of Pennsylvania. The event has been dubbed the Mardi Gras of Track because it is arguably the most competitive meet on the East Coast every year.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator