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Local track talent was honing its skills this past weekend, in anticipation of today’s (Wednesday) county track meet at Staunton River High School.
On Saturday, both Liberty and Staunton River were on hand to participate in the first-ever Joe Curcio Invitational, which was held at Heritage High School.
Jefferson Forest, meanwhile, was visiting VMI for its invitational.
Based on performances at those two events, this Wednesday’s fete should include some top-notch performances by local athletes.
But first, a note about the Curcio. The event was named in honor of the long-time Staunton River coach.
The good folks at Heritage came up with the idea. Specifically, it was Pioneer Head Coach Theodore McIvor who thought up the honor.
“I thought it was a nice honor and a well-deserved one,” said Heritage AD Mark Storm. “(Curcio) has directed district, regional and state meets for years.”
Coach Curcio was in attendance for most of the meet, though he is still in rehab for knee replacement surgery (both knees) that he underwent three weeks ago.
Curcio made brief remarks to the crowd during a break in the action. “It’s an honor to be recognized,” he said.
Then, in his usual fashion, he deflected attention away from himself, telling the athletes, “Keep competing hard, have fun and we’ll see you soon.”
The coach brought along a crew that was less than a full contingent. Staunton River’s prom was later that night, and many were lost to preparations for the big event.
Benjamin Pendergraft was the only Eagle to earn points. He ran a nifty 2:05 in the 800 meters, placing fourth.
After the race, an exhausted Pendergraft stated that he’d dedicated the run to his coach. The sophomore expects to continue to improve in the 800.
Similarly, Liberty was prom-impaired.
Kenara Hurt, never one to miss an opportunity to burn up the track, showed up and didn’t disappoint.
The senior took top honors in both the 100 and 400 meters, breaking the one-minute barrier (59.39) in the 400. She also nailed a time of 12.66 (state qualifying) in the 100.
Hurt’s 20 points represented the total for the Liberty girls’ team, putting the Minettes into a seventh place finish. E.C. Glass won the girls’ side with 114 points. Heritage was second with 77.
“That’s pretty good,” said Liberty sprints coach Shawn Webb of Hurt’s performance in the 400. “Kenara realizes that’s what she’ll run next year (at VCU). She’s becoming more focused on the 400.”
The meet featured another athlete who is focused on the 400: E.C. Glass phenom David Verburg. The Hilltopper posted a time of 47.15 in the event, the seventh best time in the nation this year.
Also on the boys’ side, Derek Anderson continued his impressive ways at Liberty. The Appomattox transfer racked up all of the points for the Minutemen at the Curcio.
He took third in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 41.94, roughly one second behind winner Cameron McKenzie , of Brookville.
Anderson also earned fourth place in the triple jump, leaping 39’ 8.5”.
Keep an eye on this guy.
Forest at VMI
JF headed to Lexington and some fierce competition at VMI. The Cavs held up well, however.
The boys took ninth place out of 30 schools that placed. The 35 points the team amassed were keyed by pole vaulters Josh Drablos and Nathan Booth.
Drablos won the event, going 14’, topping Zach Lawson, of Western Albermarle, who went 13’6”. Booth was right in the mix, coming in third place with a vault of 13’.
The pair of vaulters gave JF 16 of its points.
Mark Carter did his share. He took fourth place in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.01. A pair of George Washington speedsters, DeVaughn Benion and David Wilson, took top honors in that race.
Carter also nabbed third place in the 200 meter dash. His time of 23.26 was 0.74 seconds behind Harrisonburg’s Alex Owah, who won.
That sets the stage for a showdown when the two seniors meet at the Region III meet later this month.
Carter also joined forces with Brandon Harrison, Todd tenPas and Curtis Whitlow to earn fifth in the 4 X 100 relay (45.24 seconds).
Justin Resendes turned in a nice effort in the 800 meters. His time of 1:58.80 earned him a seventh place.
Sprinters and distance men came together as tenPas, Whitlow, Austin Vogt and Resendes joined in taking seventh in the 4 X 400.
On the girls’ side, Kelsey Shelton delivered in the high jump. Her leap of 5’ earned her fourth place. She was a scant two inches behind winner Caitlyn Filla, of Stuarts Draft.