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Breaks? Who needs breaks?
Certainly not Craig Danner. The Liberty speedster ran in back-to-back races last weekend at the Mid Area Track Classic, held at Liberty University.
He won them both.
The senior Minuteman picked up his first win in the 500 meter run, a gut-wrenching event. Danner topped Blacksburg's Kenneth Hagen by 0.28 seconds in the first heat, turning in a time of 1:07.33.
Less than 30 minutes later, Danner showed just what he's made of, turning in a personal best 2:35.80 in the 1000 meters. He strode home with a two and a half second lead over the next finisher.
The 1000 was THE event for local guys. Staunton River's David Barrett took third (2:38.91), while Liberty's Justin Haupt finished sixth (2:43.73).
For good measure, Danner took to the high jump pits where he nabbed a second place, leaping 5' 10".
In all, Danner amassed 28 of the Minutemen's 29 points. Put another way, if Danner was a one-man team, he'd have finished in eighth place, overall, ahead of such well-regarded teams as LCA, Salem and Brookville.
"I'm really proud of him," said Liberty Head Coach Ben Wiese. "That's the first time he's had to run back-to-back against elite competition, and he did a really good job."
Danner was joined on the winner's podium by another Liberty athlete. Mikalah Jones took a break from hoops to snag a win in the triple jump, soaring 34' 11.25".
Jones also picked up a third-place finish in the long jump, going 16' 6.5", which was a half inch shorter than Staunton River's Lillian Garrecht, who took second.
Garrecht picked up a third in the pole vault, going 10'. Jefferson Forest's Casey Davis also went 10', but took second place on tie-breakers.
Speaking of ladies soaring, Liberty's Logan Byers broke the 5' mark in the high jump for the first time in her career. Byers's performance was good enough for second place and, more importantly, punched her ticket to States. River's Taylor Jones tied for third, going 4'10".
Speaking of athletes going to States, JF's Erin Saunders is State-bound, having put a pasting on the field in the 3200 meters. The swift sophomore went 11:40, with the rest of the field at least 20 seconds behind.
Speaking of distance runners, JF's Alyssa Shupe turned in a nifty 3:03 in the 1000, good for third. Liberty's Kennedy Flynn wasn't far behind (3:10), taking fifth.
Additionally, Flynn took fourth in the 1600 meters against a monster field.
Shupe also teamed up with Taylor White, Elizabeth Ruhland and Carter Edwards to take second in the 4 X 400 (4:17). Flynn and her posse of Deysia Baldwin, Laura Garbarini and Megan Beisser finished fourth in 4:24.
Women top teams
1. Blacksburg 62
2. Forest Park 53
3. Pulaski County 46.25
4. Liberty Christian 35.25
5. Liberty 34
5. E.C. Glass 34
7. Jefferson Forest 32
8. William Fleming 30
Men top teams
1. Forest Park 78.3
2. Blacksburg 73
3. E.C. Glass 58
4. Christiansburg 35
5. Halifax County 33
6. Amherst County 31.3
7. Liberty 29
8. Liberty Christian 18.3