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Staunton River?s Sarah Witt and James Bell made the trip back from the Region III championship track meet at Liberty University with Bedford County?s only individual championships in hand.
Witt was stellar in taking top honors in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Bell took up where he left off the indoor season, winning the pole vault. This time, the competition, in the form of Josh Drablos of Forest was a little stiffer. Bell?s 14? 03 vault edged Drablos by 3 inches.
The pair of Staunton River seniors will be joined at States (at Harrisonburg next weekend) by teammates Geary Cunningham, Natalie Andrusky and Millie Tucker.
Witt clocked a 15.46 in winning the 100 hurdles. In the 300 hurdles, she blazed home in 45.62, smashing the four-year old regional record in the event by 0.39 seconds. ?It is always satisfying to see an athlete work hard and succeed,? stated Eagle Head Coach Joe Curcio. ?Sarah is a delight to coach. The double win was exciting for our staff, especially after her fall (during Districts) last week.?
In spite of some back spasms, Bell also qualified in the 300 hurdles, with his time of 41.66 good enough for fifth in the region.
Cunningham, the junior speedster, qualified with a fifth place finish in the 200, at 23.14. He also took third in the 100, with a time of 11.44. With stiff competition in the sprints at States, Cunningham?s performance in Friday?s trials will be critical, according to Curcio. ?Nothing can go wrong or you will be watching on Saturday,? he said.
Andrusky, an exceptionally dedicated runner, took sixth in the 3200 by shaving 10 seconds off her previous best effort, clocking in at 12:32.
?We are pleased that we are traveling to Harrisonburg with what we feel is a chance to place well in several events, and a shot to hopefully win a couple,? assessed Curcio.
Liberty?s Kenara Hurt has to be considered another county athlete with a shot at winning at States. Hurt was just edged in the 200 by Brianna Mitchell of Spotswood. Hurt?s time of 26.35 was .32 behind Mitchell. In the 100, Hurt moved up from a fourth place seeding coming out of preliminaries to earn second place in the finals, edged by .05 seconds, again by Mitchell of Spotswood.
Hurt showed her strength in the middle distances as she nabbed a third place in the 400, a mere .13 seconds over the minute mark. ?Kenara battled through some illness this week,? said Liberty coach Sherry Elliott. ?She showed a lot of heart.?
She will be joined in Harrisonburg by a couple of teammates. Senior Ryne Bollinger earned a fifth place in the 800, with a time of 2:00.13. Meanwhile, Liberty?s Tyler Hatcher put the shot 48? 4? for third place, behind highly favored winner Justin Smith of Turner Ashby.
Liberty throws coach Joe Kuster likes Hatcher?s chances. ?He?s hit 50 feet in a meet (at E.C. Glass),? noted Kuster. ?If he can work through a few technical glitches, he could finish third of fourth at States,?
The Jeff Forest girls? 4 X 800 relay grabbed third place, with a time of 10:34. The team consists of Olivia Jackson, Allison Fishburne, Katherine Drablos and Kelsey Shelton.
Shelton will also be going to states in the high jump, as she took fourth in the event, going 5? 02?.
Kelsey Huff earned an impressive second place in the discuss, throwing 107? 9?. Staunton River?s Tucker wasn?t far behind, her throw of 100? 2? good for sixth place.
?Kelsey?s got a shot at the school record,? said Forest Coach Robert Butler. ?She?s right there and has been doing well all year.?
Drablos was a nice surprise in the pole vault. Having spent much of the season dealing with a spot of tendenitis in his knee, the sophomore has returned with a vengeance, as witnessed by his 14? ride.
Coach Butler commented on how proud he was of Drablos?s and Huff?s performances. ?Both were big improvements for those two,? he stated.
Justin Resendes will be competing in the 800, as he turned in a state-qualifying time earlier in the season. That event should be a tough one with a large number of runners having pierced the 2:00 mark.
As far as team scores go, both of Staunton River?s teams tied for ninth. Liberty?s girls tied for ninth with the Eagles. The Minutemen finished in eleventh. Forest?s girls took eleventh and the boys finished in fourteenth.
There are twenty teams in the Region.