FCPS Track and Field Championships: Bamgboye leads Hawks to girls county crown; Partlow helpsTJ win boys title

MIDDLETOWN — Divine Bamgboye eventually found her niche.

It just so happened to be in the relatively few events that the Urbana High girls, a juggernaut track and field program over the last decade, could use a little boost. Those happened to be the short sprints.

Bamgboye’s early races in the sport, even before she got to Urbana, were so underwhelming and so unsatisfactory that she nearly quit the sport. But she was running distance sprints, such as the 400-meter dash, at the time, races that didn’t suit her talent and skillset in the same way as the ones she excels in now, the 100-meter hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the 100 dash.

She eventually found her events and found her groove. And, now a junior at Urbana, she is blossoming in a way that is breathtaking for her coaches and teammates to watch.

“Divine is special,” Hawks coach C.J. Ecalono said Thursday evening after Bamgboye won the maximum number of events an athlete can (4) during the Frederick County Public Schools track and field championships at Middletown High School to lead the Urbana girls to their ninth straight team championship.

Bamgboye won the 100-meter dash in 12.36 seconds. Then, she had an incredibly fast turnaround and was back on the track to win the 100 hurdles in 14.79 seconds. Later, she added victories in the 300 hurdles (45.73 seconds) and the 4x200 relay (1 minute, 43.06 seconds), along with teammates Ava Duerr, Zikora Etolue and Sade Taiwo.

“My coach told me to eat sugary foods,” Bamgboye said when asked how she managed her energy over the course of the meet. “So, I ate some fruit just to keep my energy up and drank water.”

The Urbana girls, who won nine of the 18 events overall, rang up 199 points overall to blow away the rest of the field. Frederick High was second with 103.

Junior athletic phenom Felicia Siewe won a rare combination of events with the long jump (17 feet, 9 1/2 inches) and the shot put (35-6) for the Hawks.

“She might be the best athlete we have ever coached all-around,” Ecalono said.

There was also a familiar team champion on the boys side, as Thomas Johnson fended off a stern challenge from Urbana and won the county team title for the second consecutive year, to go along with its back-to-back titles during the indoor season.

The Patriots, led by a pair of victories each from distance running star James Partlow in the 1,600-meter run (4:12.15) and the 3,200 (9:35.39) and senior Luke Freimanis in the high jump (6-2) and 110 hurdles (14.65), generated 164 points. And that’s with the pole vault being canceled due to the light rain that was falling. TJ was expecting to win and produce close to 20 team points in that event.

The Urbana boys were second with 128, and Oakdale finished third with 100.

“We had a lot of kids do well, a lot of [personal records],” TJ boys coach Bobby Humphries said. “They are just going out to try and run their fastest, and they are having a lot of fun doing it.”

The other county champions in the boys meet were Walkersville’s Aidan Simmons in the 100-meter dash (10.79 seconds) and Mason Worley in the 300 hurdles (39.23), Catoctin’s Furious Trammel in the 200 dash (21.59), Urbana’s Kean Tanyi-Tang in the 400 dash (49.45) and 4x800 relay (8:17.51), Oakdale’s Grant Lohr in the discus (150 feet, 1 inch) and the shot put (55-11 1/4) and Donovan Harrington in the long jump (21-2 1/4), Tuscarora’s Justin Banks in the 800 run (1:54.95), TJ’s 4x100 (42.96) 4x200 (1:29.82) and 4x400 (3:50.34) relays and Middletown’s Nanjo Levec in the triple jump (45-2 1/4).

In the girls meet, the other county winners were Urbana’s Aurianna Gladden in the 200 dash (25.55 seconds), Janine Amefia in the triple jump (37-0 1/2) and the 4x100 relay (49.18), Linganore’s Juliana Nardini in the 400 dash (57.79) and 4x800 relay (10:01.26), Tuscarora’s Hailey Lane in the 800 (2:20.75) and 1,600 (5:12.30) and 4x400 relay (4:07.10), Oakdale’s Ange Sarah Nganou in the discus (150-01), Frederick High’s Caroline Gregory in the 3,200 run (11:32.15), Middletown’s Ava Allen in the pole vault (12 feet) and Brunswick’s Sergia Nyambi in the high jump (5-0).

Bamgboye said she enjoys the energy she gets from running on such a high-powered Urbana girls track team.

“And the sportsmanship, too,” she said.

And she certainly provides the Hawks with a jolt of energy and electricity with the way she runs.

“She is a competitor,” Ecalono said. “She knows when to turn the switch up. You can never count her out ... She is fun to watch.”