In the 10 years that Winston Churchill High School track coach Scott Silverstein has been coaching, he said he has never seen a race like the 1,600 meters at the Bulldogs’ dual meet against Thomas S. Wootton.
The race was essentially a rematch between Churchill’s William Conway and Wootton’s Josh Trzeciak after Trzeciak chased Conway down and beat him by four seconds two weeks prior at the Quince Orchard Relays.
“Josh threw the first punch,” Silverstein said last week. “There’s going to be a battle the rest of the season now.”
And a battle it was. The two led the entire race, opening up a sizeable lead over Wootton’s James Ertel and Churchill’s David Fitzgerald at the 800 mark and setting the stage for a two-man fight for the finish.
Trzeciak’s move came after passing the halfway marker beginning his third lap. Over the next 400 meters he stretched his lead to about 10 meters, much like Conway had done at Quince Orchard. With one lap to go he was ahead by more than a second. Silverstein said he thought it might be over at that point.
But Conway erased Trzeciak’s lead with 250 meters left, drawing even. The two ran side-by-side for the next 150 meters and rounded the corner for the final 100 in a dead tie with the packed stands roaring for the shoulder-to-shoulder finish that was to come.
“And here they come at the turn it’s Trzeciak and Conway, Conway and Trzeciak,” boomed the announcer to the fans.
Conway’s longer strides began to cover slightly more ground than the shorter Trzeciak’s. With 10 meters left it became evident that Trzeciak didn’t have it in him to hold off Conway. They finished in times of 4:16.1 and 4:16.6, which are now the two top times in the state this season.
“You never see that,” Silverstein said. “It’s one of the most memorable races I’ve ever seen. It’s everything you could have ever wanted at a race.”
Conway and Trzeciak’s are now both etched into their schools’ record books as the best 1,600 runners in school history.
Not to go unnoticed however are Ertel and Fitzgerald, who also both ran times of 4:30 or lower.
“I could not be happier for Jamie,” said Wootton coach Kellie Redmond. “He had a huge [personal record] and he said to me after the race ‘you know that last 100 was so hard but it was a little distracting with all that noise going on’ while Josh and William finished. There was still a race going on back there.”
Between the four top finishers, they claimed four of the top eight times in the state in the event.
“To see that kind of a race in a dual meet, or any meet is awesome,” Redmond said. “They raced their hearts out and you can tell by their times.”
“You usually don’t have anybody run under 4:30,” Silverstein said. “And we had four guys do it here. We had a freshman run under 4:30.”
Round three between Trzeciak and Conway is scheduled for Saturday at the Viking Invitational at Walt Whitman High School.
How they rankBoys
1. Walter Johnson Wildcats
Had a strong showing at Woodward Relays on Saturday.
2. Thomas S. Wootton Patriots
The Patriots have come on strong behind Josh Trzeciak’s blazing fast times in the 1,600.
3. Quince Orchard Cougars
Evan Burnham posted state’s fastest time this season in the 800 at 2:00.13.
4. Gaithersburg Trojans
The Trojans have two seniors clearing 6 feet in the high jump.
5. Winston Churchill Bulldogs
Nadim Elhage is dominating the throwing events despite being hobbled by an elbow injury.
Girls1. Northwest Jaguars
The Jaguars will be the team to beat at the Viking Invitational.
2. Thomas S. Wootton Patriots
The best hurdling duo in the state: Gwen Shaw and Sylvia Deppen.
3. Richard Montgomery Rockets
The Rockets won the Woodward Relays among some of the top teams in the area.
4. Clarksburg Coyotes
Clarksburg was hot on Richard Montgomery’s tail last weekend at the Woodward Relays.
5. Walt Whitman Vikings
Anna Ryba leads a distance group that won the 6,400 relay at the Woodward Relays.
Best BetsApril 20: The Darius Ray Invitational at Magruder High School. Quince Orchard and Gaithersburg will be among two of the top teams at the meet that features 11 schools from around the state.
April 21: The Viking Invitational at Walt Whitman High School. This meet in its seventh year features top teams from Montgomery County including Bethesda Chevy-Chase, Northwest, Wootton, Whitman, Walter Johnson, and Churchill.