Joe Lee of Bullis School (Potomac, Md.) has been named the 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year.
The ALL-USA teams are coordinated by Fred Baer, founder of Track and Field Writers of America with boys selections by Mike Kennedy, high school editor of Track and Field News.
Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year: Sydney McLaughlin, Union Catholic
Name: Joe Lee
School: Bullis School (Potomac, Md.)
Since coming to Bullis School in 2013, coach Joe Lee, has built the small Potomac (Md.) private institution (550 students in the “upper school”) into a national powerhouse, especially in the relays.
The school has a two-sport credit system and much of the girls track team was just looking to fulfill the requirement. Lee changed all that, eventually getting the buy-in that required.
The Bullis girls began their current run of Independent School League championships in 2014, with just eight girls on the team. The team won its fourth consecutive title this spring with a roster of 20 girls, Bullis posted 224 points in the championship meet. The second-place team had 77.2
The Bullis School concluded a championship year with the USA’s top girls 4 x 100 meter relay time of 44.88 to win the New Balance National Invitational last month.
Bullis also swept New Balance titles in the 4 x 400 (No. 3 in the USA at 3:39.30) and the 4 x 200 (No. 5 USA at 1:35.63), and was second in the 800 medley (1:43.43 – also ranked No. 2 on the season list).
In addition, they bettered the national record in the 4 x 100 shuttle hurdle relay in chasing Western Branch (Chesapeake, Va.) to the tape, but were later disqualified for an infraction and “lost” the 55.32 No. 2 all-time ranking. (Western Branch topped its own record of 55.36, set in 2015, with a 55.06 clocking.)
Lee, a former runner on George Mason’s 1996 NCAA indoor championship team, had worked as a youth pastor for 16 years before coming to Bullis.
One of his current athletes, Masai Russell, was the top high school finisher in the 400 hurdles at the USATF Junior championships in Sacramento last month, qualifying for a spot on the U.S. team for the Pan American Junior Championships.
Ashley Seymour ran the 100 meters in 11.48 at the New Balance Nationals, placing sixth with the fastest time ever for a Montgomery County sprinter. Other speedy Bullis girls include Sierra Leonard, Lauryn Harris, Gabie Johnson and Leah Phillips. The Bullis hurdling crew includes Alexis Postell, Cierra Pyles, and Lindsey Lewis.
And while the team will have some turnover next year, consider that freshman Shaniya Hall won the freshman 400 meters at the New Balance Nationals and then was part of the 4 x 100, 4x 200 and 4 x 400 national level relay teams. That included a 52-second anchor on the 4 x 4 team.