Photos by John Herzog
It took a very talented and special group of young men at St. Christopher's to end a 21 year streak of dominance at Saturday's VISAA State Championships. The streak of consecutive private school state outdoor team titles by Fork Union Military Academy has arguably been the most impressive streak in the history of Virginia high school track & field.
There was not much surprise in the final outcome as St. Christopher's is a squad loaded with the private school's best including Alex James, Ben Katz, and Kurt Fleming, but Fork Union had made a resurgence this spring after clearly experience a down year for the entire indoor season including being defeated by St. Christopher's for the VISAA and Prep League indoor team titles. It ended up being a resounding victory though for the Saints as they did not have just seven event winners throughout the day, but two meet record breaking performances from their 4x100 meter relay (42.98) and Ben Katz in the high jump (6'8.50").
The Norfolk Academy girls came out on top among three schools in the hunt for VISAA state girls team title between themselves and Richmond schools Collegiate (2nd, 101 pts) and St. Catherine's (3rd, 91.50 pts).Michelle Sutherland, the 300 meter hurdles winner, placed and scored in five events and also ran on Norfolk Academy's first place 4x400 meter relay.
Multiple event champions included Nefertiti Smith of Norfolk Collegiate, Danielle Williams of St. Stephens & St. Agnes, and Barbara Strehler of Trinity. Smith was the top performer in the field events by sweeping the jumps, while also claiming another state title in the 100 meter hurdles. Williams was a part of two meet records in the sprints with a swift 25.26 clocking in the 200 meter dash, while also anchoring her 4x100 relay to a meet record 49.49 performance to go along with a state title in the 100 meter dash. Strehler competed in all three distance races and nearly won all three as she outdueled VISAA state cross country champ Anneka Wilson in the 1600 and 3200 meter run while coming up just short to Roanoke Catholic's Brennan Long in the 800 meter run as runner-up at 2:20.04.
New Meet Records
Boys 4x100 - St. Christopher's 42.98
Boys High Jump - Ben Katz (St. Christopher's) 6'8.50"
Girls 200 - Danielle Williams (St. Stephens & St. Agnes) 25.26
Girls 4x100 - St. Stephens & St. Agnes 49.49
VISAA State Championships Photo Gallery by John Herzog - 1,019 photos total.