In spite of the shared vacation mode felt by many of the athletes, there was no shortage of effort or accomplishment under the blue skies that blanketed Norfolk.
The meet turned out to be a great way to spend the first half of a resplendent spring weekend
In a 20-minute span, Micaiah Harris shocked the crowd at Boo Williams, as he won both the 6A 55-meter hurdles (7.37) and open 55 (6.41). While the races totaled only 110 meters, the distance he has traveled, away from a shadow cast over him, has been much greater.
Leading into the state 5A/6A finals on Friday morning, Milestat webmaster Nolan Jez initiated a conversation with former Bethel coach, and now meet official, Eddie Williams about the potential outcome of the 5A boys showdown. Jez was leaning toward Lee-Davis scoring 50 points and having the capability to win, while Williams questioned how they could make it to 50.
On Friday afternoon, I decided to give a short, impromptu quiz to several of the coaches and co-workers at the Boo Williams Sportsplex. It wasn’t a tough test; in fact, it was only one question. To my surprise and amusement, many of the test takers failed.
One of the most electrifying performances from last weekend’s 5A/6A state meet came from Nansemond River senior Syaira Richardson. The Ohio State-bound senior placed first in three of the 5A girls’ individual events, and one relay, setting a new state meet record in each one. Her performance paralleled that of another Ohio State track athlete who once won four gold medals while setting, or tying world records in each one – Jesse Owens in 1935.
Osbourn Park's Sydney Banks continued a phenomenal sophomore season on Friday afternoon with a leap for the record books. On her last high jump attempt at 5-10, Banks cleared the bar and put the exclamation point on a performance that earned her a first state title, a Virginia 6A state meet record and #3 VA clearance of all-time.
Much like the amplifiers of guitarist Nigel Tufnel from the movie and band Spinal Tap (look it up!), for the past three state meets, Battlefield pole vaulter Emily Harrison had only gone up to eleven.
The only relay run on Friday was the 4x800; however, all four of the races provided a great ending for the first day of competition.
"I did it for Jeremy," said the senior, who was seated in a chair just beyond the far bleachers at the Boo Williams Sportsplex.
Race of the Day -- McArthur vs. Murphy Rivalry Heats up Again in 6A Girls 800 -- the Back Story behind the Rematch
There is also a lot of action happening off the track in Virginia. The Virginia Track Coaches Association is a new organization, and one with lofty goals and expectations, which are geared toward enhancing the track experience for both high school coaches and athletes. At the 5A/6A state meet, I had the opportunity to speak with Osbourn Park coach Mike Feldman, who has been spearheading the development of the organization, which is registered with the state business licensing authority and the IRS. They will be holding their third preliminary meeting July 25/26 and coaches clinic at UVA August 5th & 6th.
Sports have had its share of brother-sister pairs. In the early 1970’s, there were Billie Jean King (tennis) and Randy Moffatt (San Francisco Giants pitcher). Speed skaters Eric and Beth Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Tracksters Carl and Carol Lewis of the mid-80’s.
Almost lost in the parade of dominant performances from last weekend's 5A/6A state track meet was Kathryn Mayo's fine run on Saturday afternoon. The Albemarle junior took the lead in the 5A girls' 800 meters right from the starting gun and ran away with a 2:11.78 win, three seconds ahead of runner-up Ashley Brown from Henrico High.
Greg McElroy is easy to pick out of a crowd. The Henrico high junior is 6-foot-5 and sports a headful of hair that pushes his frame toward the seven-foot mark. Coupled with a slender frame, he stands out among any group of people.
The Thomas Edison Eagle boys brought their own dose of double trouble to the 5A boys’ state championships last weekend at Todd Stadium.
Many track fans at Boo Williams may not have realized that history was in their midst on Friday afternoon.
While most runners would harness their focus to these two individual goals, let it be stated that most runners are not as intense as the Charger junior. So, last month, without provocation, McGorty approached Coach Matt Gilchrist and announced a new goal.
For all four of her years at Western Branch, Faith Ross has deservedly earned the reputation of the most versatile female athlete in the state of Virginia.
Lost in the excitement of last weekend's 5A/6A meet was the demolition of a fourteen-year-old VHSL record.
A look at the 5A boys' standings after Day 1 could have produced quite a surprise for the knowledgeable track fan. At the end of Friday's competition, sitting in fourth place with 11 points was J.E.B. Stuart of Falls Church, while Halifax County was in sixth, a point behind.
Holt, a sophomore, burned up the Boo Williams oval to clock a 5:01.74, good enough to overtake Princess Anne's Doria Martingayle by almost four seconds. It was also Holt's best time since her 5:05 at the Cassel's XBC Track Experience late last April.
Nobody expected what was about to happen.
While winning one championship is a grand accomplishment for any coach, 12 is worthy of instant Hall of Fame status at any level.
With her trio of gold medals in hand, Johnson could have called it a day, and watched as the WAR team cruised to an easy team win.
"Unbelievable. This is so exciting," exclaimed the senior, who maintained a level of reserve, realizing that she still had to compete in the 55-meter hurdles and high jump later in the day.
Benedict Draghi of Washington-Lee was the first winner at this weekend's 5A/6A state track meet. However, his victory didn't come as easily as expected.
Grassfield’s Grant Holloway turned into Superman at this weekend’s state meet, scoring 46 points, while helping the Grizzlies to the 6A boys title.
If Day One of the 5A/6A track meet at Todd Stadium gave us any indication of the near future, it’s that Saturday should prove to be a barnburner on the oval and in the field: full of state bests and potential records. After Day 1 the Henrico girls and Hickory boys lead in the 5A competition, while the Western Branch girls and Grassfield boys are atop the team leaderboard in 6A.
As expected, the Virginia 5A/6A state track championship was a barnburner, loaded with a new collection of U.S. top five best performances, one runaway team victor, and a host of tight contests for the state champion trophy. Four champions were crowned on Tuesday, and two were determined by the final race: the 4x400: 6A Boys: T.C. Williams, 6A Girls: Western Branch, 5A Boys: Manchester, and 5A Girls: Atlee.