Fork Union's Wojciech Czernek was part of arguably two of the most exciting finishes in any distance races this season at Saturday's VISAA State Championships in Richmond. First race in the 1600 meter run, Czernek was part of a five way photo finish between five competitors who all smoked their last 400 meters in 59 to 60 seconds with the Polish national as the winner at 4:23. Czernek later came back for another great race with Episcopal's Reid Nickle and squeaked out another win in the final stride by a two hundredth of a second in 2:34.96. Fork Union reclaimed the VISAA state title after a rare year of being shut out by from a championship by St. Christopher's in 2009.
Demitri Knowles of Liberty Christian Academy made Deshawn Wilson of Booker T. Washington's state leading and first sub 35 second performance of the season in the 300 meter dash short lived with his 34.83 clocking to add a second meet record to his 6.47 clocking in the 55 meter as well. Knowles won the most number of individual events on Saturday as he added a state title in the long jump with his mark of 21'2" to go along with his sprint double.
The defending champions from St. Christopher's gave Fork Union an honest challenge to stay within striking distance throughout the meet with a final team score of 119 points behind Fork Union's 136 total. The highlight of the meet for the host school came in the boys 4x200 meter relay as they not only bested the solid time posted by FUMA from the slow section, but also ran the state's fastest time of 1:32.23. The relay was much improved with the addition of Kurt Fleming, who had not competed earlier this season. Their relay get an opportunity to lower their time more significantly next week when they race on the fast banked track at the New York Armory for the Eastern Championships.
Czernek was Fork Union's top performer on the track notching two exciting wins in the distance races, while Philip Parmly exceled for head coach Winston Brown in the field events. Parmly tied the meet record with a successful clearance of 14 feet to add 10 more points to Fork Union's team score.
This fall's VISAA state country country boys team champions, Woodberry Forest, had two individual track champions from that squad in Kevin Bennert in the 3200 meter run (9:40.63) and Max Anderson in the 500 meter dash (1:09.61). Both runners were able to win in their second event of day after coming up short in victories in their first races of the meet with Bennert placing 3rd in the 1000 and Anderson taking third as well in the 1600. Anderson also anchored Woodberry Forest's state champion 4x400 (3:32.61) to conclude the meet.
The Collegiate girls came out ontop at the end in a spirited battle with in-town rivals St. Catherine's for the VISAA state crown. The two teams stayed in a tight team race throughout the meet and the state title was on the line in the final event of the day with the 4x400 meter relay. St. Catherine's did their part in attempting to come from behind at the end by winning the 4x400 in 4:16.30, but needed Collegiate to finish worse than their third place finish in the event.
Collegiate won the 2010 VISAA indoor state title without a single individual state champion as they relied on their collective efforts on relays and several individuals placing among the top 6. Collegiate notched victories in both the 4x800 (10:05.18) and 4x200 (1:50.28). The 4x800 was a close race between themselves and Roanoke Catholic throughout.
Emmy Fraenk, a key member of last year's Bethel state champion squad and now running from Hampton Roads Academy, rolled through the private school competition in the sprints as she swept the 55 meter dash, 500 meter dash, and 300 meter dash. Her time of 41.22 set a new meet record in the 300 meter dash.
Trinity's Hannah Lieberman had the top double in the girls distance races in claiming the state title in the 1600 meter run (5:27.67) then coming back to take runner-up in the 1000 meter run (3:13.95) behind Roanoke Catholic's Brennan Long (3:11.14).
Episcopal and Norfolk Academy girls had a pair of individual state champions. Episcopal's Sarah Dillard was less than half of a foot off the facility record in the shot put with mark of 38'3.25", while teammate Shantell Bingham dominated the finals of the 55 meter hurdles with a margin of victory over one second in her 8.75 clocking. Norfolk Academy's two winners both came in the field events with Rebecca Karp clearing 9'6" in the pole vault and Khadijah Ameen leaping to a field best mark of 34'2.50" in the triple jump.
Dana Mercer of Liberty Christian had one of the top performances in the girls field events with her solid mark of 17'6".
More to come from the 2010 VISAA State Indoor T&F Championships including videos and pictures.
VISAA State Championships Videos - 28 total videos posted.
VISA State Championships Photo Gallery - To be added Sunday into Monday.
Below are the performances entered for the meet that met the national silver standard.