Maryland high school miler Jesien opens eyes with 4:10.80 at Penn Relays

Track And Field

April 30, 2005|By Elliott Denman | Elliott Denman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PHILADELPHIA - Andrew Jesien insists he doesn't like running the mile.

He keeps urging Tom Rogers, his coach at Bethesda's Walter Johnson High, to run him in shorter races.

Fat chance.

All Jesien did yesterday was win the boys mile at the 111th Penn Relays in the sensational time of 4 minutes, 10.80 seconds, the fastest high school mile performance in the nation this year.

Jesien supplanted Ken Cormier of Douglas, Ariz. (who ran 4:12.67 three weeks ago) atop the national leader board and stamped himself as a prospect for greater honors this year and beyond.

Jesien came into the race seeded 10th of the 16 entries, but came through with a personal best to win the race going away in the ninth-fastest high school time in Penn Relays history.

The University of Virginia-bound runner powered into the lead around the final turn, making like "The Big Train" - the legendary baseball pitcher whose name graces Jesien's school.

And then there was Amy Bilmanis.

The senior at Thomas Stone High in Waldorf, who is also headed for Virginia, keeps proving herself as good as any girls high school discus tosser in the nation. A Penn Relays victory was icing on a cake that already included winning efforts in the 2004 Adidas Outdoor Classic and National Youth Championships.

Her throw of 147 feet, 11 inches yesterday wasn't close to her school record of 153-6 and didn't threaten the Penn Relays record of 160-5 set by another Maryland athlete, Lindsay Grigoriev of Atholton in 2003, but still ranked as the fifth longest in the meet's high school history.

No wonder Virginia coach Andy Bungard has already predicted "Amy will be a major player for us."

Three hours after Bilmanis' turn in the discus ring, Vikas Gowda whirled to another triumph for the Maryland delegation.

The University of North Carolina senior from Frederick sent the discus 203 feet, 4 inches in the college competition for the third-longest throw in meet history.

He easily beat Rutgers senior Sam Segond, whose 199-8 effort moved him to fifth on the meet's all-time list.

Gowda had it all wrapped up heading into his sixth and final throw - but put that out of mind.

"Every time I step into the ring, my only concern is to throw far," said Gowda, whose father was an Olympic decathlete for India.

The Long Reach High quartet of Devon Miles, Jamese Cobb, Tiffani Long and Ja Nay Woolridge sped to a 49.41 fifth-place finish in the girls small-school 400 relay final, a race won by Philadelphia's West Catholic in 47.18.

Edmondson, which had qualified Thursday, scratched from the final.

Eleanor Roosevelt of Greenbelt took third in the large-school 400 relay in 47.34, with Largo sixth (48.07). Old Mill (42.71), DeMatha of Hyattsville (42.74) and C.H. Flowers of Springdale (42.86) earned sectional boys 400 relay victories to give Maryland three of the 10 qualifiers for today's boys large-school final.

Mergenthaler Vo-Tech (43.38) and Archbishop Curley (43.78) sprinted into the boys small-school 400 relay final.

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