On the boys side, Westfield racked up 78 points, the most points by a winning squad since 1991. Deep Creek, in pursuit of their fourth straight outdoor team championship, was a strong second with 65.5 points while Great Bridge grabbed the third place trophy with their 46.5 point total.
The Bethel girls, even with a disqualification in the 800 run and a collision in the girls 4x400 relay in which they came in with the fastest time and subsequently did not score in the event, easily outdistanced the opposition with their team total of 54 points as they won their seventh outdoor title in the past 14 years.
Kellam, on the strength of senior Natalie Sherbak's showing, finished second with 38 points followed closely by Lake Braddock and Tallwood in a tie for third with 34 points while Potomac placed fifth with 33 points, followed by Deep Creek in sixth with 30 points.
Because of a steady downpour which engulfed the Tidewater region with upwards of two inches of rain on Friday, the state meet was a one day affair, save for the 4x800 meter relays which were held Friday evening.
The girls 4x8 was run in two sections beginning at 7:10 p.m. on Friday with both sections having to endure a steady rain and winds in the 20 mile per hour range. Kellam, always a strong contender the past few years in the event, captured their first ever outdoor 4x8 title as senior Natalie Sherbak easily moved from third to first on her anchor leg and split 2:15 as the squad which also included Audrey Hand, Tara Connor and Jessica Smith won in 9:30.92.
The boys 4x8 was also run in two sections, only to see the first section halted on the first leg due to lightning. After a 30 minute postponement, the second seeded (fastest) section lined up in a light rain with windy conditions and the Westfield quartet of Chris Courson, Chris Black, James Scheiner and David Groff got the Bulldogs off on the right foot as they held off a challenge from J.R. Tucker to win in 7:58.39.
Saturday's schedule brought about a challenge for some multi-eventers as all the field events were to be a same day affair, but it did not seem to exact too much of a toll on most sprinters and hurdlers as the only qualifying heats were one round to the finals in the girls and boys 100 meter dash, the girls 100 hurdles and the boys 110 high hurdles with the 200 and 400 meter dashes along with the 300 hurdles becoming sections based on time.
Wilson's Lashawn Merritt, attempting to become only the third sprinter in VHSL 1-A (1946-70), AAA (1971-present) history to win the boys 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 dashes at the state championships, looked primed early as he earned oohs and aahs from the crowd with the fastest time in the morning's 100 meter qualifying rounds in an eased up 10.66 with a -0.9 wind reading.
In the afternoon session, Merritt came back to win the 100 dash finals in 10.47 seconds with a legal wind of 1.2 meters per second to break the 1989 meet record of 10.51 set by Rodney Bridges of T.C. Williams. The East Carolina bound sprinter followed that up with a win in the 400 dash as he took a slight lead over the field in the first 200 meters, maintained the lead through the curve and then roared through the homestretch to win by about 15 meters in a comfortable 47.69.
Merritt capped off the day by blistering the field in the 200 dash to the tune of 21.13 to set his second meet record as he just got under the old meet record of 20.9 hand timed set by Curtis Riddick of First Colonial in 1980 (F.A.T. conversion of 21.14). Merritt now joins Billy Schroding of Newport News High in 1965 and Ronnie Harris of Albemarle High in 1975 as the only athletes to capture the sprint triple.
Afterwards, Merritt was obviously pleased with his three victories but felt he could have performed a little bit better saying, "I let the rest of the field dictate the race at the beginning of the 400 meters, I usually go out a lot harder than that in the first part of the race and then in the 200 it was hard to get a good push off the track because it had softened up from the rains of the day before."
Merritt's next competition will be the adidas Outdoor National Championships in Raleigh, NC on June 18-19 where he said he is planning on running in both the 200 dash and 400 dash events.
The rescheduling due to the weather also caused Louis Corum of Westfield to try and aid the Bulldogs in a triple of his own in the field events and the senior was able to respond. Corum, a stellar linebacker on Westfield's state championship football team and also a starter on their basketball team, provided 24 points in the field events for Westfield.
Corum improved on his personal best in the discus by almost nine feet as he won with a throw at 158-3 and finished second in the shot put at 56-1 with sophomore Joseph Jones of Great Bridge winning on the final throw of the competition at 56-8. Corum showed his all around talents are not limited to the throwing events as he achieved a personal best in the high jump with his third place finish at 6-6 with Deep Creek junior Raphael Hall edging senior Jerome Miller of Colonial Forge for the title with both Hall and Miller clearing 6-10.
Westfield notched an additional eight points in the field events (scoring through eight places on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis) with senior David Lewis finishing second in the pole vault at 15-6. Just as he had at the indoor state meet, Lewis was once again locked in a duel with Daniel Magness of Great Bridge with Magness once again having the edge as he won on a jumpoff at 15-6 after Magness and Lewis were tied at the end of the regular competition.
After each vaulter had cleared 15-6 and then missed on their three attempts at 16-0, they then had an additional try at 16-0 and were again unsuccessful. The bar was then lowered to 15-9 with each missing on the one attempt at that height before the bar was then lowered to 15-6 with Magness able to clear the height and gain the victory. Great Bridge continued their overall domination of the boys vault as they went 1-3-4 and tied for sixth to score 23.5 pointsin the event.
Westfield put up their additional points in the running events with James Scheiner finishing fourth in the 1,600 run (4:20.95) and David Groff also fourth in the 800 run (1:57.41) and placing second in the 1,600 relay with Philippe Tondereau, Alvin Tondereau, Chris Black and Chris Courson in 3:22.83. However, Westfield seemed to get their biggest boost in the 300 hurdles from twin seniors Philippe Tondereau (39.13) and Alvin Tondereau (39.33) as they broke away from a tight field which included four other hurdlers who had visions of winning, with a late rush over the final two hurdles to go 1-2 in the event.
Boys runnerup Deep Creek did not go down easily in their quest for a fourth straight outdoor title. In addition to Hall's victory in the high jump, the Hornets also won the 4x100 relay with the team of Gerald Griffin, John Hyman, Keshaun Jones and Antwain Carey (42.03) and the 4x400 relay with Keonta Coleman, Quentin Moore, Brandon Custis and Travis Stallings on board (3:21.52).
Deep Creek also received a 2-3 finish in the 400 dash with senior Stallings (49.46) and sophomore Moore (49.77) and a second place in the long jump from senior Carlos Morales (23-1) as the Hornets actually exceeded their point total this year over their winning totals of the past three years.
The other multiple winner on the boys side was senior Christo Landry of Thomas Jefferson Science and Tech. Although the distance standout has had a standout career, Landry came into his final state championship lacking an invidual title either indoors or outdoors or in cross country.
Landry was not to be denied on Saturday as he broke away from the field on the final lap of the 1,600 run with a 62 second split to win the event by over five seconds in breezy conditions at 4:13.39.
Landry, bound for William and Mary, then came back in the 3,200 run and after the field was bunched together through the first 1,600 meters at 4:45; Landry and co-race favorite Hari Mix of Albemarle stepped up the pace.
Mix and Landry started to stretch the field with their next 800 meters in 2:19. Landry then clocked 2:09 on his final 800 as he finally overtook Mix at the beginning of the final straightaway to win in 9:13.74 with Mix the runnerup in 9:15.18 and E.C. Glass sophomore Patterson Wilhelm closing well for third place at 9:17.72.
Other winners on the boys side included sophomore Chris Bell of Granby, who won the 110 hurdles for the second straight year, this time in 14.31 and next year could become the first ever in VHSL history to win the high hurdles state title three times.
Hayfield junior Brian Fussell broke away from a tight pack in the 800 with the strongest finish among a group of five runners to win in 1:55.97 with J.R. Tucker junior Thuom Mathiang the runnerup in 1:56.10 and Centreville senior James Heiner third (1:56.94).
In the long jump, Landstown sophomore William Harvin continued his solid season with a winning leap of 23-5.25 and in the triple jump junior Dionne McClain of Granby immediately followed up Jerome Miller of Colonia Forge's effort of 48-2.25 with his winning jump of 49-1 with senior Delonte Wilson of G.W.-Danville in third place with a personal best of 47-11.
On the girls side, Bethel continued their recent domination at the top of the girls team scoreboard. The Bruins were once again led by sophomore Francena McCorory as she used her swift feet to have a hand in 30 of Bethel's winning team total of 54 points.
In the 100 meter dash, McCorory won the event for the second straight year, this time just a bit over the legal wind limit at 2.7mps in 11.83 as she bested the Potomac duo of juniors Kharya Brown (2nd; 11.95) and Fallon Hutcherson (3rd; 12.12). McCorory, along with former Bethel stars Kandis Harris and Ara Towns, makes the Bruins the winners of the 100 dash title six of the last seven years.
McCorory also captured the 200 dash for the second consecutive year as she easily pulled away in the final 50 meters to win in a swift 24.20, just one tenth over the legal allowable wind limit for records of 2.0 mps and becomes the number five performer all time for state meet finals.
In between the two individual dash events, McCorory anchored the squad which also included Crystal Carrington, Britni Spruill and Christina Ford to a victory in the 4x100 relay in 48.45 as Bethel won that event for the sixth time in the last seven years also.
Bethel also added important second place finishes from seniors Christina Ford in the long jump (18-4.5) and Britni Spruill in the 400 dash (57.39) with Spruill also adding a fourth place in the long jump (18-0).
Team runnerup Kellam had senior Natalie Sherbak play a part in 30 of her squad's 38 points. Besides anchoring the 4x8 to victory on Friday evening, Sherbak also came up with two individual titles on Saturday afternoon. Sherbak first won the 1,600 run in 4:57.16 as she was the early pacesetter through 400 meters, held the lead through 800 meters at 2:28, maintained the lead at 1,200 meters in 3:43 and then pulled away from the field on the final lap to win by over five seconds.
In the 800 run Sherbak was involved in one of the most exciting races of the day as stayed among the leaders through the first 600 meters and then pulled even with Bethel's Shakirra Pinnock for the lead. Pinnock and Sherbak then battled stride for stride around the final curve and down the homestretch with Pinnock finally pulling ahead by a step and maintaining her lead for the final 30 meters.
However, Pinnock was eventually disqualified for interfering with another runner early in the race's first lap with Sherbak becoming the winner at 2:15.64. Kellam's other points came on a pair of fifth place finishes by sophomore Tara O'Connor in the 3,200 run (11:08.95) and senior Audrey Hand in the 1,600 run (5:06.26).
Tallwood's tie for third place was aided largely by senior Faraign Giles as she was involved in 28 of her team's 34 points. Giles won the 400 dash with her typical closing rush in the final 100 meters in 55.61 to complement her 400 victory at the state meet two years ago.
Giles was also second in the 200 dash (24.84) and anchored the Tallwood team which included Brendette Walker, Shannon Walker and third place high jump finisher Jasmine Gates (5-6) to victory in the 4x400 relay at 3:54.66.
In the girls 4x4, Giles received the baton in third place in a hotly contested race which saw five teams from the Eastern Region: Bethel, Kecoughtan, Tallwood, Salem and Hampton, battling each other for the entire race and each having the lead at some point in the race.
On the anchor leg, Giles was closing well on leaders Bethel and Kecoughtan when both the Bethel and Kecoughtan anchor runners got their legs entangled and went down near the end of the final curve. Giles was able to sidestep the two runners in time and regather her momentum to propel Tallwood to their second consecutive win in the state 4x4 relay.
Northern Region champion Lake Braddock also scored 34 points to tie Tallwood for third place with juniors Ashley Haislip and Kelsey Snowden leading the way. Haislip had a pair of second place finishes as she went 5-6 in the high jump with Deep Creek freshman Ashley Gatling the winner at 5-8.
Haislip continues her development in the pole vault with her runnerup finish at 10-0 with Patrick Henry-Roanoke freshman Nancy Baar also going 10-0 for the win and Mills Godwin freshman Anne Marie Gordon also notching a height of 10-0 for third. Snowden was also part of a pair of second places as she was individually the runnerup in the 800 run (2:16.82) and anchored the Bruins to second in the 4x800 relay (9:34.53).
Hermitage sophomore Queen Harrison had a day full of ups and downs which fortunately ended on the upside. Harrison began her day with a victory in the long jump at 18-11.75 and followed that up with a second place finish in the triple jump (39-10.25) with Salem senior Shayla Jemmott the winner at 40-0.
Harrison, one of the favorites in the 300 hurdles along with Hampton freshman Tierra Brown, went out extremely fast in the 300 hurdles and was the clear leader after five of the eight hurdles. Between the fifth and sixth hurdles Brown reached for another gear, found it, and caught Harrison between the sixth and seventh hurdles.
Harrison, with the trainer nearby and other members of meet management close at hand in case she needed medical assistance, was given her chance to recover and the Hermitage sophomore gamely rose to her feet and finished the race, actually clearing the final hurdle cleanly amidst a fine round of applause from the appreciative crowd.
With no outside interference and no disqualification for not completing the 300 hurdles, Harrison then came back less than an hour later to gamely place fourth in the 200 dash (25.37).
Other field event winners included a pair of Central Region sophomores as Kathy Howard of Lee-Davis, seeded third coming into the shot put, won with a toss of 40-1 while Manchester's Jennifer Marinacci came into the discus throw as the number five seed but responded with a personal best of 118-4 to claim the victory in the disc.
Other winners on the track included Lakeland senior Andrea Wheeler in the 100 hurdles at 14.49 and Hayfield junior Melissa Dewey in the 3,200 run. After a somewhat upsetting sixth place finish in the 1,600 run at 5:07.60, Dewey matched up with Midlothian junior Amanda Patterson in the 3,200 run (2nd; 10:54.09) and finally started to pull away in the final 600 meters, closing very well to the tune of 10:42.70 to become the number five performer in state meet history.