MIDDLE-DISTANCE MADNESS: C3 BREAKS RELAY RECORD, MCGRATH WINS 2 INDIVIDUAL TITLES
Landover – (March 10) The Camden Clock Chasers (C3) ended their Indoor Season with a bang this weekend at AAU’s Indoor Track & Field National Championship. The meet, held annually at Prince George’s County Sports Complex in Landover, was host to over 2,500 athletes. The Clock Chasers had 32 athletes compete and by the end of the weekend, 18 of those athletes had earned All-American status. By Sunday, they had racked up 28 medals, three national titles and one very hard-to-beat meet record.
C3 started the weekend with a medal in the first event. Friday afternoon, Shyna Patel (9G) took 2nd place in the 1500M Race Walk at 11:21. Not soon after, Derrick Bryant (13B) took 5th in the Triple Jump with a leap of 33’. Meanwhile C3’s Shot putters were busy making their mark in the field: CJ Horsey (13B) took 8th Place with a throw of 26-05.00, Makiyah Watson (15-16G) earned 5th with 31-07.00 and Deriana Bryant (17-18W) grabbed 3rd place at 31-04.25. On Sunday, Zoey Lawrence would become C3’s fourth All-American shot putter with a 7th place finish throwing 22-05.
Also on Friday, C3’s Ladanian McGrath had a performance in the 1500M that would result in his first individual title. At 13 years old, McGrath had won national titles as part of a relay team and achieved numerous All-American performances. Yet, he had never won an individual title. That would all change this weekend. McGrath competed in four events and collected his first title Friday evening in the 1500M cruising past the finish line in a dynamic 4:42.43. He also went on to take 2nd in the 400M Qualifier securing himself a lane in Sunday’s final. Although, these were both admirable accomplishments, McGrath was far from finished.
On Saturday, McGrath returned to the track rested and ready to chase the clock. Taking the track in the 800M, he easily won his 2nd national title of the weekend in a field of 33 runners. He finished in a blazing 2:15.60. And he wasn’t alone- three teammates also posted All-American performances in the 800: Kathryn Parker (13G) took 8th place at 2:47.25, Saiin Patel (5-6B) 5th place in 3:49.92 and Rai’Ana Rucker, McGrath’s sister, who is an accomplished middle-distance runner in her own right, took 3rd place. Rucker, who is nine years old, finished the 800M in 2:45.89.
The brother/sister duo would get back at it on Sunday chasing down more individual and relay medals. Rucker would go on to take 2nd place in the 1500M at 5:32.21 and McGrath with 3rd in the 400M Final at 57.41. Affectionately called the Wonder Twins by teammates & coaches, both siblings would contribute to relay squad performances on Sunday after wrapping up individual events.
Another brother/sister duo medaled in jumping events on Saturday. Saiin Patel (5-6B) took 3rd place in the Long Jump and older sister Shyna (9G) took 3rd in the High Jump at 3-02.00. Gary Harper (13B) also leaped to a 4th place finish in the Long Jump with a 15-10.00 mark in the pit.
Sunday proved to be the day of remarkable relay performances for the Clock Chasers. Wielding a purple baton, C3’s 10G 4X800M Relay glided to a 5th place finish at 13:11.55. The girls included Ava Henry, Kayah Scurry, Shyna Patel and Rai’Ana Rucker. To end the weekend, there was an exciting 3rd place finish for the 7-8B 4X200M Relay. This squad consisted of 3 newcomers to nationals and 1 veteran, and saw the boys reach personal bests across the board with a finish of 2:29.47. The 4X2 consisted of: Wali Muhammad, Cashuan Green, Roman Santore and Jordan Dalton Jr.
And in one of the most exciting races of the weekend, C3’s 14B 4X800M Relay not only won the national title, but shattered the previous meet record with impressive performances from each athlete. The squad consisted of Amauri Pimentel, Gary Harper, Derrick Bryant and McGrath. Notably, Bryant put C3 in a great position coming off the third leg and McGrath acted in true anchor fashion sealing the deal coming across the finish at 9:52.68. The previous meet record was 10:19.30 set in 2017 by the Delco Stallions. This squad bested the record by more than 26 seconds, definitely one for the books!
The weekend proved to be an eventful one for the team who will now enjoy a two week break before Outdoor Season. Camden Clock Chasers is a non-profit organization based in East Camden operating all year through Cross Country, Indoor & Outdoor Seasons. If you are interested in finding out more about the team, registration or how you can support, visit them online at: www.CamdenClockChasers.org.