Mason Girls Top Conference 35 Meet; Boys 2nd

A jubilant George Mason girls track team celebrates its first-place finish at the Conference 35 meet on Tuesday.   (Photo: Courtesy Carol Sly)
A jubilant George Mason girls track team celebrates its first-place finish at the Conference 35 meet on Tuesday. (Photo: Courtesy Carol Sly)

The George Mason High School girls track team placed first at the Conference 35 meet on Tuesday and the boys team came in second, after the teams placed second and third, respectively, last Wednesday at the Bull Run District meet.

The Conference 35 championships saw nine first-place finishes for the girls and six first-place finishes for the boys.

The girls team swept the 100-meter dash, with Tara Holman taking first, followed by Vicky Addo-Ashong, Alex Hairston, Margarita Shevchenko, Eugenia Smith, and Joelle Randrianasolo. Tara Holman also took first in the 200-meter dash. Blaise Sevier placed first in the 1,600- and 800-meter runs. Vicky Addo-Ashong was first and set a new school record in long jump, and was also first in the 100-meter hurdles. The 4×100 relay team (Vicky Addo-Ashong, Margarita Shevchenko, Alex Hairston, and Joelle Randrianasolo), the 4×400 relay team (Blaise Sevier, Isabelle Kessler, Mia Sawyer, and Sarah Macris), and the 4×800 relay team (Coral Gillette, Kaitlin Kutchma, Anna Sawyer, and Isabelle Kessler) all took first place.

For the boys, Preston Custer was first in the 110-meter hurdles. Truman Custer was first in the 800- and 1,600-meter runs. Michael Addo-Ashong placed first in the 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump. The 4×400 relay team (Jacob Plata, James Schneider, Truman Custer, and Preston Custer) took first as well.

In a field of teams from Clarke County, Luray, Madison County, Stonewall Jackson, Strasburg, and George Mason high schools at the conference meet, the George Mason girls team placed first with 181 points, followed by Strasburg with 98 and Stonewall Jackson with 85. The George Mason boys team placed second behind Strasburg’s 145 points with 121, followed by Madison County in third with 70.

At the district meet, the girls team missed first place by one point, and the boys were pushed out of second by one point in the most closely contested meet of the season. The nine-school meet came down to a final event which would determine place for both the Mason girls and boys.
At the very end of the night, the girls placed second in the 4×400 relay to Manassas Park High School, who went on to claim first place with 125 points overall to Mason’s 124. For the boys, second place was in contention at the very end, but even with the Mustangs’ dominant win in the 4×400 relay, they were still one point shy. The Strasburg High School boys took first with 103 points; Central-Woodstock High School had 93 points and took second, ahead of Mason with 92 for third.

At the awards ceremony, Michael Addo-Ashong was named the male District Athlete of the Year. He had 33 points in the meet; he placed first in the 110-meter hurdles and the triple jump, second in the 100-meter dash, third in the 300-meter hurdles, and sixth in the long jump.
“He was awe inspiring,” said Mason Head Coach Alisa Harvey. “He juggled his way through all the events without prompting or assistance, and did his best at every one.”

For the girls, Tara Holman added 30 points to Mason’s total with her three first-place wins. Tara Holman was more than half a second ahead in the 100-meter dash, more than two seconds ahead in the 200-meter dash, and nearly three seconds ahead of the next runner in the 400-meter dash.

“Tara Holman was amazing,” Harvey said. “I knew that she could hit the 100-meter and 200-meter wins, but the 400-meter win was icing on the cake.”

Truman Custer also had 30 points, 20 as an individual (winning the 1,600- and 800-meter runs) and another 10 points as part of the winning 4×400 relay team (with Alec White, Nathan Ward, and Preston Custer).

“He controlled the 1,600-meter like a chess game, then came back like a man on a mission in the 800-meter, leading start-to-finish,” Harvey said. “His anchor leg in the 4×400 kept the relay’s momentum going, with his long, powerful strides going unchallenged.”

But it took teamwork to achieve the final point totals; points were added to the bottom line and denied to other schools through other performances by Mason athletes.

The girls 4×800 relay team (Sarah Macris, Anna Sawyer, Coral Gillette, and Mia Sawyer) kicked off the meet with a first-place finish. Vicky Addo-Ashong was first in the 100-meter hurdles, and second in the 100-meter dash and the long jump. The girls 4×100 relay team (Vicky Addo-Ashong, Margarita Shevchenko, Eugenia Smith, and Alex Hairston) posted a state-qualifying time with its second-place finish. Korinne Wills was second and Mia Sawyer was third in the 300-meter hurdles. Isabelle Kessler and Coral Gillette were fourth and fifth in the 1,600-meter run, and Joelle Randrianasolo added a point with her sixth-place finish in the 200-meter dash. In the 3,200-meter run, Kaitlin Kutchma placed second, setting up the battle for first in the 4×400 relay that followed. The 4×400 relay team (Mia Sawyer, Sarah Macris, Julianne Kelly, and Isabelle Kessler) posted its second best time of the season, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Manassas Park team, which finished a second ahead.

The boys saw points added by many athletes as well, including a lead-off first-place finish by the 4×800 relay team (Huntley Campbell, Jacob Plata, James Schneider, and Justin Divecha) in a huge drop in the time for that event. Alec White was first in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the 400-meter dash for 12 Mustang points. Preston Custer was third in the 800-meter run and John Marshall was sixth in the 1,600-meter run.