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Five golds for local tracksters

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Shupe, Robertson, Garrecht and Ritchey all shine at Region III meet

By Mike Forster

While E.C. Glass swept the team titles, individual county athletes did quite well for themselves at last Saturday's Region III indoor track championship.
All three county schools had their girls teams finish in the top ten. The Staunton River boys finished fourth, as a team.
Jefferson Forest freshman phenom Alyssa Shupe swept to a pair of first-place finishes while her older counterpart, Staunton River senior Stuart Robertson, set a meet mark in his victory.
Forest pole vaulter Ken Ritchey took top honors, while River's Lillian Garrecht picked up a surprise win in the long jump.

Girls top ten teams
1. E.C. Glass 102
2. Heritage 64
3. Northside 64
4. Rustburg 30
5. Liberty 28
6. Harrisonburg 27
7. Staunton River 26
8. William Byrd 24.5
9. Jefferson Forest 22
10. Lord Botetourt 16.5

Boys top ten teams
1. E.C. Glass 111
2. Heritage 65
3. Amherst 46
4. Staunton River 41
5. Fort Defiance 33
6. Harrisonburg 28
7. Brookville 26
8. Rockbridge 20
8. Broadway 20
10. William Byrd 18
(JF finished 12th-10 points- and Liberty finished 14th-eight points).
It's a good thing Shupe didn't file down her fingernails Saturday morning. That's because she won by the slightest of margins, as her hand came across the finish line 8/1000ths of a second before Rustburg's Samantha Francis.
The JF freshman's win in the 1000 came after she'd had an easier time of winning the 1600. In the longer race, she clocked a winning time of 5:29.98.
In the 1000, Shupe led for nearly the entire race. The Red Devil sophomore, however, blazed past her in the early part of the final lap. Shupe showed she still had some gas in the tank, regaining the lead in the last 50 meters. It was, literally, a photo finish at the end. (Photo at the front of this section.)
"I knew (Francis) was going a bit too fast," said Shupe. "So I let her pass me, then caught her. I was hoping for the double win, but wasn't expecting it."
Another unexpected win came when Garrecht turned in a leap of 17' 2" in the long jump. "That was a surprise," said the junior. "Oh my gosh! A P.R. by six inches!"
The final surprise came from Robertson. His 3200 time of 9:42.59 topped the field. It also topped the previous meet record by nearly eight seconds.
Robertson also picked up a second place in the 1600 (4:24.58). David Barrett notched a second-place in the 1000 (2:37.77) and a fifth in the 1600 (4:27.61) for the Eagles. Cam Holdren earned a second in the high jump, with a leap of 6' 5". That was an improvement of seven inches over his previous best effort.
Meanwhile, Asa Walvoort took fourth in the shot put (48' 3.5"). Kyle Jones finished in sixth in the pole vault, with a personal-best 11' 6") vault.
For the Lady Eagles, Beka Miller took second in the shot put (36' 11.5"), while Garrecht went 9' 6" in the pole vault, for second.
The Liberty lasses were paced by Kennedy Flynn and Laura Garbarini. Flynn nailed a second in the 1600 (5:30.70) and a fourth in the 3200 (12:11.95).
Garbarini placed third in the 500 meters (1:23.33) and fifth in the 1000 (3:19.55).
Liberty got points from Megan Beisser (fifth in the 300 at 44.15) and Mikalah Jones-sixth in the long (15' 11") and triple jumps(33' 5")).
The quartet of Deysia Baldwin, Jones, Beisser and Garbarini cranked out a fourth place in the 4 X 400 relay (4:24).
Ken Ritchey accounted for all of JF's boys points, as he earned a first place in the pole vault (13' 0").
Liberty's Craig Danner was the only Minuteman to tally any points. He picked up a second place in the 500 meter run (1:08.13) and eight team points.
In all, 17 county athletes will advance to States this weekend, at Liberty U.