Hop, Step and gold!

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Liberty's Mikalah Jones wins triple jump at States

By Mike Forster


On the basketball court, Mikalah Jones is known as a triple-threat player.  

Now the Liberty sophomore will also be known as a triple-jump player.

That's because Jones soared to victory in the triple jump at last weekend's State AA track championship.

Jones was pure perfection as she launched herself an astounding 39 feet, 1.25 inches.

That jump was a) more than a foot and a half better than her previous best effort and b) exactly one foot better than the best jump of runner-up Erin Morant (Liberty-Bealton).

As a result, Jones returned home from Harrisonburg with the top prize, the first time (it is believed) a Liberty lady has ever done so.

Jones scored all ten of Liberty's team points via her victory (almost picking up more points in the long jump before settling for ninth).  That ten-point total was matched by Jefferson Forest, though it took six athletes to do so.

JF's Alyssa Shupe took third in the 800 meters, bested by Region IV powerhouse runners Carolyn Bethel (Hidden Valley) and Katie Fortner (Cave Spring).  Shupe, only a sophomore, will have a couple more bites at the apple if all goes well over the next few years.

Meanwhile, she helped her squad pick up team points in a couple of relays.  In the 4 X 400 meter run, she anchored a team that included Carter Edwards, Riley Lee and Taylor White.  That crew came in seventh, at 4:08.57.

By the way, is anyone having more of a fun senior spring than Lee?  She earned that State medal less than 24 hours after winning a regional one for helping to lead the JF soccer team to victory.

Also, White and Shupe got together with Abby May and Elizabeth Ruhland to craft a seventh-place finish in the 4 X 800 (9:53.38).

A couple of lasses that teamed up for some major points were Staunton River's Lillian Garrecht and Taylor Jones.

The gravity-challenged duo combined for 21 points to give Staunton River a tie for the ninth-best team in the state.

"It was very gratifying to see their success," said Staunton River Head Coach Joe Curcio.  "Placing in all of your events is tough at that level.  We were extremely pleased.

Garrecht, who competed in her final track meet at the high school level, went 10' 9" in the pole vault.  That height was good enough to tie Daysa Jones, but the New Kent junior got second place on tie breakers; Garrecht settling for third.

Leapin' Lily's highlight was nabbing second place in the long jump.  She had the best jump of her season, at 17' 8.5", but that was an agonizingly 4.25" short of winner Montiera Johnson's effort.  Johnson jumps for Powhatan.

In that same event, Taylor Jones also had the best jump of her year, going 16' 11" for seventh place.  

Garrecht and Taylor Jones picked up sixth (36' 5.25") and seventh (36' 3"), respectively, in the triple jump.  Along with Mikalah Jones, county athletes claimed three medals in the triple jump.


Team tales

None of the county boys athletes were able to earn a medal at States.  As a result all three Bedford teams were skunked on points. 

Brunswick (68) won the boys' trophy.  Blacksburg (44) and Loudoun County (43) followed.  Brookville (fifth, 36 points) was the highest placing team from Region III.

The top overall girls team was Hidden Valley (with 41 points).  E.C. Glass (39) and Brunswick (34) rounded out the top three.  Northside (fourth, 32 points) was the only Region III team to do better than Staunton River.   JF and Liberty tied for 27th of the 80 teams in AA.