Eagle men take BRD track crown

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Colton Parker leads the way

By Mike Forster

  These Eagles can fly.

The Staunton River men showed great depth in bringing home their third straight Blue Ridge District crown.

Led by speedy, yet stoic, Colton Parker, the Eagles put plenty of distance between themselves and runner-up Alleghany.

The Lady Eagles, meanwhile, finished a respectable third in a brutally competitive district.

The event was held at Liberty University's Tolsma Indoor Track on Saturday.


Blue Ridge men

1.  Staunton River            123

2.  Alleghany            101

3.  William Byrd 94

4.  Lord Botetourt 73

5.  Northside 25

6.  Rockbridge County 10


Blue Ridge women

1.  Northside           143

2.  William Byrd 90

3.  Staunton River 82

4.  Lord Botetourt 61

5.  Rockbridge County 31

6.  Alleghany 24

"It's always great to win a district title," said Staunton River Head Coach Joe Curcio, of his lads.  "I thought, going in, that the boys had a good shot."

Indeed, based on seeding, it appeared that any of four teams might walk off with the title tin.  "I told the team, it would come down to who made the fewest mistakes and came closest to their seed times and distances.  I was thinking we had a shot at 121 points."

The Eagles topped Curcio's expectations, doing practically everything right and ringing up 123 points in the process.

Parker, who was named Male Runner of the Meet, earned that honor through a pair of critical wins.  The senior reigned victorious in the 300 and 500 meter runs.  He knocked off the 500 in 1:10.09 before zipping through 300 in 38.23 seconds.  Those two wins gave Staunton River 20 team points.

Parker also teamed up with David Barrett, David Thomas and Kyle Jones to put together a time of 3:43 in the 4 X 400 relay.  That time, seven seconds faster than the group's previous best, gave River the win and another 10 points.

As if that weren't enough, Parker tied for second place with teammate Marcus Brown in the high jump.  So, the senior was responsible for 37 team points.  A nice day, by any measure.

But don't think this was purely the Colton Parker show.  Barrett, coming off an extended knee rehab, picked up key points in the distances.  He took second in the 1000 (2:40) and third in the 1600 (4:32).

Brown reigned supreme in the triple jump, winning that event with a leap of 39' 9.25".  The junior was almost a double winner, settling for second while falling 2.5 inches short of Byrd's Jason Palmer (19' 6") in the long jump.

Brown also got together with David Thomas, Logan Merrill and Kyle Jones to post a second place (1:40) in the 4 x 200 relay.

River also had the strongest men at Tolsma.  Sam Goode (40' 3") and Akash Zala (39' 1") nabbed a 1-2 finish in the shot put.


Ladies' turn

The River women were paced by a pair of performers:  Taylor Jones and Lillian Garrecht.

The two seemed to be entered in every event, though that wasn't the case.

For starters, they teamed with Olivia Moran and Sam Cisco to take third in the 4 x 200 relay.

Jones took second in the high jump, (5'), while Garrecht was sixth.  Leapin' Lily took first in the long jump (17' 3.25"), while Jones was second.

Garrecht also won the triple jump, flying 34' 10", while Jones was right behind, earning second place.

The pair even went at it in the 55 dash, where Jones finished fifth and Garrecht sixth.

River also got help in the distance events.  Savannah Cowan, just a freshman, nabbed third in the 1000 meters.  

Kristina Hartsook took sixth in the 1600 and fourth in the 3200.  That's a lot of running for one day, young lady.

River also got big points for a third place in the 4 x 800, posted by Amanda Blake, Sowan, Kaitlin Kern and Julia Robertson.

Amanda Jones came through in the shot, going 31' 1" to earn third place.


What's next?

The Eagles head back to LU for the Region III meet this weekend.

"Regions will be tough," assessed Curcio.  "E.C. Glass, Liberty and Heritage all had impressive meets at (districts)."

Yes Coach, but so did Staunton River.