Ricky Carioti/WASHINGTON POST - Kennedy’s Thea LaFond, shown here at the Penn Relays in April, won the triple jump at New Balance Outdoor Nationals.
Thea LaFond leaped to the triple jump title and barely missed winning another at New Balance Outdoor Nationals Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina.
LaFond, who graduated from Kennedy earlier this month and was All-Met Athlete of the Year indoors, didn’t have her best effort, but was still strong enough to ward off the rest of the triple jump field at North Carolina A&T. She had the lead through the first four rounds of competition, but fell to second place after the fifth. But during the sixth and final round, while sprinting into a particularly difficult headwind, the Maryland signee stretched out to 40 feet 5 inches and claimed her first national title on the second day of the three-day meet.
“I don’t know what was going on. The jumps just weren’t as good that day. Not just me, but everybody,” LaFond said. “But a win is a win.”
LaFond and one other girl were locked in battle during Saturday’s high jump. Madeline Morrow of Ohio and LaFond each cleared 5-8.5, but Morrow took the title on a jumpoff.
“That was disappointing,” LaFond said, “but, overall, what a way to end my high school career.”
Several other area athletes earned all-American honors. Demetrius Lindo, who graduated from Coolidge earlier this month, but did not compete for the Colts this season, had the sixth-fastest qualifying time in the 110-meter hurdles, but ran away from the field during Friday’s final and won in 13.58 seconds.
Lindo also finished fourth in the 200 in 21.18. He was just ahead of Ronald Darby of Potomac (Md.), who crossed in fifth in 21.28.
Mountain View All-Met Kimberley Ficenec won the girls’ 800 meters title. She and Taneisha Cordell (Ohio) were leading the race with 100 meters to go when they both started to sprint to the finish. Ficenec crossed first in 2:09.84. Cordell was runner-up in 2:09.90.
“I saw the tape that they hold up and, I don’t know, it was just like it was in my dream,” Ficenec said. “I tried to push myself harder and harder so I could feel that tape.”
The Maryland Titans cleaned up in the sprint relays. Camry Torain, India Knight, Kennedy Knight and Oliva Ekponé came from behind to win the girls’ 4x200 over Western Branch (Va.) in 1:37.17.
The Titans won the final event of the meet, the 4x400, in similar fashion. Tiara Wellman, India Knight and Kennedy Knight handed off to Ekponé, who got the baton in third place about 15 meters behind the leaders. Ekponé turned a deficit into a championship, picking off the two runners in front of her and crossing in 3:46.16. North Carolina’s Junior Striders were runners-up in 3:47.15.
Back in the field, Isaiah Simmons finished second in Saturday’s discus with a throw of 190-00. The all-time Virginia leader and state record holder in the event was defeated by New Jersey’s Sam Mattis (197-4).
The All-Met Athlete of the Year and Miami (Fla.) signee was a little too wound up in Friday’s shot put. Simmons fouled all three of his throws in the first round and didn’t reach the final.
Annandale All-Met Ahmed Bile was fourth in the 800 in a personal-best 1:50.77. Austin Mudd of Indiana was the winner in a meet-record 1:48.09.
Archbishop Carroll All-Met Kiah Seymour won the girls’ emerging elite 400 in 55.99. Robinson’s Genamarie McCant was runner-up in 56.64 and Briar Woods’ Shaquera Leach was fifth (57.27).
Edison’s Louis Colson placed second in the boys’ freshman mile Friday in a personal-best 4:22.99 behind Georgia’s Roth Bailey (4:20.45).
Five hours later, after a stimulating ice bath, Colson won the emerging elite two mile in a personal-best 9:24.82. He planned to enter the competition for the experience, but felt good during the race and cruised to a four-second victory in 9:24.82.
Lake Braddock All-Met Sophie Chase missed earning all-American honors by one place, finishing seventh in Friday’s two mile in a personal-best 10:25.97, fastest by a Virginian this season.