LYNCHBURG, VA -- While the VA Showcase is known for the possibilities of national records and US No. 1s being set during the course of its running invitational events at Liberty University, there is also an array of field events, several of them invitational, which simultaneously take place within, and just outside of the Liberty indoor oval.
Eight of the events took place on Friday, with the closest finish coming in the girls' high jump.
Sydney Banks of Osbourn Park (VA) was the performance list favorite with a best of 5-10, but the Yellow Jacket junior faltered after clearing 5-9. Taylor Wright of Northwest (MD) and Taylor Beard from Handley (VA) also sailed over the bar at 5-9. However, none of the three could clear the 5-10 mark. A look at each jumper's misses knocked Banks out of competition and into third place, but Wright and Beard each had the same number of fewer misses, resulting in a jump-off.
In a testament to endurance, the jump-off eventually lasted five rounds before Beard cleared a lower height of 5-7 to win as the lights went out at Liberty for Friday night.
In the long jump invitational, Banks' teammate and fellow junior Skyler Reynolds pulled off the win, out leaping Cierra Pyles of Bullis (MD) by just over five inches with her jump of 19-0.5. Virginian Natalie Barnes of Stone Bridge captured the non-invitational long jump with an 18-5.75 performance.
The boys' triple jump competition saw the other tight finish as Christ School (NC) junior Kevin Snyder finished a heel ahead of Jamar Davis of Orange (VA) with his hop, skip and jump of 49-9, which beat Davis by three inches.
Chancelor Crawford of North Mecklenburg (NC) won the boys shot put invitational by over three feet with a toss of 54-6, while Gracie Jauch of Jefferson Forest (VA) was an easy winner in the girls' invitational pole vault with her leap of 12-7, a full 13 inches higher than runner-up Celia Agee from Louisa County (VA).
The field events will conclude on Saturday with invitational events in the girls shot put and triple jump and boys' long jump, triple jump, and pole vault.