Alex Armbruster, a St. Andrew’s Episcopal School junior, has tripped during races before, but he’d never experienced what happened at the Last Track to Philly meet Jan. 26.
About 10 to 15 steps into the one-mile run, someone stepped on the back of his right shoe, causing it partially fall off his foot. Armbruster took a few more steps and then kicked the shoe off, completing the race with only one shoe (in, considering the circumstances, a very respectable 4:35.97).
So, he was extra motivated to get a fast start Saturday at the Private & Independent School Invitational and break free from the crowd, a plan he executed well. He won the 1,600-meter run in 4:32.40 — while wearing both shoes.
“It was nice,” Armbruster said. “I had a little more traction. It helped my stride.”
Kiernan Keller and Caroline Clark each won events at the Private & Independent School Invitational for The Academy of the Holy Cross, but they had very different mindsets to end their races.
Keller, a sophomore Bethesda resident, trailed a couple other runners late in the 1,600.
“I knew I was gaining on them,” Keller said. “I thought, ‘I can see them, I know I could take it.’ So, I just went for it.”
As she neared the finish line, Keller had even more reason for delight.
“It was pretty awesome,” Keller said. “I looked up at the clock, and I saw, right as I was about to finish, 5:14. And I was like, ‘5:14?!’ And then I was like, ‘OK!’ I just went for the finish, and it was pretty awesome because I haven’t run that fast before.”
She finished the race 5:17.93.
Clark, on the other hand, wasn’t at all surprised by her finish. Running even with Our Lady of Good Counsel’s Rachel Pocratsky down the stretch of the 1,000 meters, Clark pulled ahead at the last moment to finish in 3:09.96 — just two tenths of a second ahead of Pocratsky.
“Oh my gosh, whatever I’m doing I’m really competitive,” Clark said. “So, if I’m close to somebody at the very end, I get in the mindset where you can’t really tell it hurts anymore. You just go.
“I knew I had gotten her.”
Holton-Arms School was the only other Montgomery County team to win multiple events at the Private & Independent School Invitational. Natiaha Hinnerichs won the high jump (5-4), and Lisa-Anne Barrow won the 300-meter dash.
Before her victory, Barrow finished fourth in the 55-meter dash (7.48) — one hundredth of a second from third place and earning a medal. So, that gave her extra motivation for the 300-meter dash.
“I wanted first, of course,” said Barrow, a sophomore from Hyattsville. “But any medal would have been good.”
How they rank
3. Quince Orchard
4. Paint Branch
5. James H. Blake
2. Thomas S. Wootton
4. Bethesda-Chevy Chase
5. Richard Montgomery