Two weeks ago no one knew who Bassett senior Brandon Dillard was. Despite being a Group AA All-State runner last spring, Dillard was given little attention this spring as one of the state's best sprinters. After winning the 100 meter dash (10.85) and finishing second in the 200 meter dash (22.37) at argubably the state's biggest high school invite at the Dogwood Track Classic, Dillard suddenly came onto the radar. He continued that success a week later at VMI as he posted the state's fastest time this spring for 100 meters in a winning time of 10.72. Dillard doubled back to win the 200 meter dash in a solid clocking of 22.60 as well. Dillard was a member of the winning 4x100 meter relay (43.34) for Bassett.
Formerly a quarter horse sprinter, Carlton Phipps is glad he made the conversion to middle distance in running the 800 meter run this spring. At VMI, Phipps clocked the state's fastest time in a time of 1:54.38 as he held off J.R. Tucker's Michael Chapa (1:54.96) in one of the meet's most exciting races as it pitted a former 400 meter specialist with a 3200 meter specialist. Chapa has shown improved leg speed as of late as he posted a state leading 1600 meter time of 4:13.87 (converted from mile) at Penn Relays. Phipps will get a chance to improve upon his state best next Friday night at the Southern Track Classic in Richmond as he will be pitted up against a strong field that includes two proven 800 meter runners in Chapa's Tucker teammate Thuom Mathaing (1:55.20 PR) and defending Group AAA state champion Brian Fussell (1:52.28 PR). Brian Fussell.
The 3200 meter run saw another E.C. Glass runner take first place honors over a J.R. Tucker athlete as Patterson Wilhelm (9:41.03) won the eight lap event over Thuom Mathaing. Mathaing posted a personal best in his second place finishing time of 9:44.35.
State leader in the discus throw, Michael Zajac of E.C. Glass won the event with ease at VMI by over a thirty foot difference with his winning toss of 175-10. Zajac swept the throwing events as he won the shot put with a mark of 52-5.50.
Lafayette junior Dakari Taylor-Watson leaped to a new personal best as well as a state best in the triple jump with his mark of 47-9. Taylor-Watson had a previous best outdoors of 46-1.50. He will be looking to defend his Group AA state title in June, while also continue to improve on his long jump as he hit a personal best mark of 22-0.75 at VMI and help the Lafayette boys win another state crown as they took the indoor state title in March. Taylor-Watson also finished second in the 110 meter hurdles with a 15.87 clocking and jumped 6-2 in the high jump.
Taylor-Watson will need help in order to help Lafayette win the state team title and it appears pole vaulter Caleb Stuart will be able to give plenty of support in the points department as he won the competition at VMI with a clearance of 14 feet.
Dominating the boys' hurdle events was Brandt Hicks as he won both the 110 (14.67) and 300 (39.63) meter hurdles. Both times were personal bests for Hicks as Hicks should now be considered as in contention to win the Group AA state title in both hurdle events as he has the leading times among AA hurdlers. Hicks also took runner-up honors in the high jump (6-2).
William Fleming teammate Mijuan Curtis might also have a shot at a state title later this spring as he dipped under 50 seconds to win the 400 meter dash in a 49.73 clocking, which is the fastest in Group AA this season. Curtis also won a second event in the long jump with a mark of 22-6.75 as William Fleming took three of the top four places in the event with Iziah Logan (22-1.75) and Stephen Robertson (21-10.50) finishing second and fourth respectively.
John Handley's Josh Thompson, a contender to win the Group AA state crown in the high jump, successfully cleared 6-4 to win the vertical jumping event at Read Stadium.
Virginia Tech bound Jason Vick of Oakton won the 1600 meter run in a personal best time of 4:21.21.
Catherine White of Northside had a stellar day at the VMI Classic as she took two wins in the distance events in finishing first in the 1600 meter run (5:05.35) and doubling back to win the 3200 meter run in a state best time of 10:51.92. The time was White's third consecutive sub 11 minue clocking in as many weekends. Next Friday night the Northside sophomore will get plenty of push to drop her time even more at the Southern Track Classic where she will face off with Foot Locker Finalist Aurora Scott of Western Branch.
Radford University signee and Halifax County senior Shemelia Brandon also won a pair of events and posted a state leading performance at VMI. Brandon nearly broke the 40 foot barrier as she won the triple jump in a new personal best and state leading jump of 39-10.50. Brandon also won the 200 meter dash in a personal best time of 25.67 and took runner-up honors (18-1.50) in the long jump.
Also having a very successful meet at VMI was Pulaski County star Leslie Anderson. Anderson had a very busy day as she won the long jump (18-7.50) and 400 meter dash (59.34), while taking second Brandon in the 200 meter dash (25.77).
Solid performances were put forth in the girls' throwing events with Whitney King of Radford winning the discus throw (119-7) and Rachel Clark of Liberty finishing first in the shot put (42-0.50).
Mills Godwin sophomore Anne Marie Gordon proved herself as one of the state's top pole vaulters as she won the competition at VMI in a clearance of 10 feet.
Talented James River freshmen distance runner Kristin Wolfe got her first crack of invitational competition this spring at VMI and took full advantage as she ran a swift time of 2:19.89 to win the 800 meter run after doubling back from a 5:10.79 clocking in the 1600 meter run earlier to finish third behind teammate and William & Mary bound Rebecca Ward (5:10.04).
Brittany Chambers represented the other James River High School in the state, the small Group A school in Buchanan, as she won the 100 meter dash over AAA and AA competitors in a personal best time of 12.38. Last year Chambers was a Group A state runner-up in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Cave Spring's Tina Crawford nearly pulled off a double win in the hurdle events as she won the 100 meter hurdles (15.92), but finished second (48.23) in the 300 meter hurdles to John Handley's Ayla Smith (46.73). The John Handley junior currently has the fastest time among Group AA hurdlers.