VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Day 1 Summary May 29, 2009

A lot of action occurred in the first day of the 2009 VHSL Group AAA State Championships including a new meet record being eclipsed in the pole vault competition as the Central Region's two finest in Lizzie Powell of Patrick Henry and Emma Dejarnette of Atlee clearing higher than the previous mark of 12'0". Both vaulters cleared 12'1" with Powell able to the surpass the next height at 12'3" to win her first state title as a junior.   Dejarnette had to settle for state runner-up despite a great performance as did James Taylor of Nansemond River as his hopes of a quadrouple of state titles ended early despite reaching out to a personal best mark of 25 feet even in the long jump. Taylor was runner-up to none other than Ocean Lakes junior Justin Hunter, who might make history himself if he can win the triple jump on Saturday as he outleaped Taylor with a 25'3.75" leap of his own and also won his second state title in the high jump with a 6'10" clearance. The more noteworth note of each Taylor and Hunter's best jumps is that neither were wind-aided.   The Landstown duo of Marlena Wesh and Taylor Wheaton did not let down in the trial races on Friday as both aim to garner a combined five individual titles on Saturday if a successful sweep of the sprints for Wesh and hurdles for Wheaton. Wesh breezed through the preliminary rounds of the 100 (11.86), 400 (55.12), and 200 (24.08) as the clear cut fastest qualifier in all three events. Wheaton was equally impressive on day one with her clockings of 14.20 in the 100 meter hurdles and 43.28 in the 300 meter hurdles.   It is appears the longest races for both is where each will find the most competition with two qualifiers also under 56 seconds as well as two talented freshmen in Genamarie McCant and Shakeela Saunders in the 400 finals against Wesh, while Yvonne Amegashe of Potomac Senior was impressive in her qualifying race of the 300 meter hurdles at 43.28.   Photo by Ted Plunkett Grassfield had a duo of their own taking flight in the girls' long jump with a 1-3 finish from Karimah Shepherd (1st, 19-7.50w) and Jazmen Townsend (3rd, 19-2w).   The Lake Braddock girls reclaimed themselves as the top 4x800 in the state after a close second place indoors to Ocean Lakes with their 9:19.11 victory on Friday afternoon. The Ocean Lakes girls were a scratch from the event and Deep Run ended up being the toughest challenger in the field leading for most of the first two legs and holding on for second in 9:25. The top two finishes for both schools positions them well to make a push for top 5 team finishes on Saturday.   The Albemarle boys may have won a second straight state title, but the learned news of their anchor leg Anthony Kostelac prior to the meet being out of the season with a stress fracture was certainly disheartening for a group aiming to take down the state meet record and possibly threaten for another team championship. Three of the four legs from the 7:30 national record 4x800 carried on though as Zachary Vrhovac took over the anchor duties from Kostelac and patiently waited until the final 150 meters to turn on the jets for a 7:55.48 win.   Although contested in a farway destination on the facility grounds of Todd Stadium, the top finishers in the discus put on a show with some outstanding marks led by champion Quintin Fortes of South Lakes at 175 feet then rounding out the top three were Carl Butler of Riverbend (2nd, 172'3") and Austin Hersh of James River (3rd, 167'4").   Jaleesa Williams of First Colonial followed up her indoor state title in the shot put with an outdoor crown to compliment it as she was able to muster a better mark (41'6.50") of a couple inches than returning state outdoor champion Kayla Lewis of William Fleming (2nd, 41'1").   Two of the top three finishers in the girls' long jump has given Grassfield an early lead with 16 points, while Hunter's two wins gave 20 points to a total of 25 produced on Friday by Ocean Lakes to lead the first day of competition. The meet resumes tomorrow at Todd Stadium with the unseeded section of the girls 3200 starting at 9:00 AM.   VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Day 1 Results 126 MileSplit US National Elites   Photos, videos, and interviews to be posted over the weekend.  

VHSL Group AAA State Championships Coverage May 30, 2009

Congratulations to the Landstown girls and Western Branch boys on successfully defending their state team championships today in Newport News. More to come from Todd Stadium including full meet summary, stories, photo galleries, and race videos.   VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Complete Results   Race Videos - Saturday's running events uploaded. Field events & Friday's running events to be uploaded by Monday night.   Photo Galleries Plunkett Gallery - 1,415 photos total from both days. Paisley Gallery - 416 photos total. Miles Gallery - Photos to be added Sunday.   Wesh completes triple! 100, 400, 200! Photos by Ted Plunkett   Great mark and times for Taylor in LJ and 100, but has to settle for 2nd places along with a pair of wins in 400 & 200   Porter decides he will not be run down on this day and motors a 59 second last quarter for 4:10 1600 state title Armentrout and Kelly put on a thrilling show in vault, but Armentrout soars higher to 15'9"      

AAA State Meet Preview - Girls May 28, 2009

The big question could be will a girls team from the Central, Northern, or Northwest Region finish among the top 5 at this weekend's VHSL Group AAA State Outdoor T&F Championships. At initial glance, it appears that it will be a tall order for any school outside of the Eastern Region to break into the top tier of the team scoring with defending champions Landstown as the favorites trailed by Grassfield, state indoor champions Bethel, Eastern Region champions Western Branch, and Ocean Lakes all capable of scoring over 30 points in the meet. Photos by John Herzog   Landstown rested its top two athletes, Marlena Wesh and Taylor Wheaton, at last week's regional meet. Neither is hurt and are both ready to claim multiple state titles on Saturday as Wesh is the top seed in the 100, 400, and 200 meter dashes, while Wheaton is the state leader in both hurdles. Both have some unfinished business from past state meets and could win the state crown for the Lady Eagles by themselves in their individual events.

AAA State Meet Preview - Boys May 28, 2009

The Western Branch boys may have lost the AAA state indoor title to Albemarle. They may have also last week lost the Eastern Region title Ocean Lakes. However, despite those defeats, the Western Branch boys are determined to finish the season in the winner's circle on Saturday at Todd Stadium and win their fourth state track team championship (indoor or outdoor) in the past three years behind their relays and Jeffrey Artis. The Albemarle boys are a man down from their indoor state champion squad without the services of Jordan Hill, who placed state runner-up in three jumping events at the indoor state championships, but the clear dominance and somewhat intimidation that the members of their national record 4x800 meter relay hold over the rest of the state may just have enough firepower to be in the hunt to contend once again if Western Branch were to slip up. Ocean Lakes and Nansemond River are likely to find themselves in top 3 team contention thanks to having arguably the state meet's two most talented athletes in Justin Hunter at Ocean Lakes and James Taylor at Nansemond River. Hunter, who swept the jumping events at the Eastern Region Meet, will try to do the same against state competition. Meanwhile, Taylor pulled off the epic quadrouple indoors with state titles in the long jump and a sweep of the sprints and will make a push for it again despite the much taller order with trials of all three races on Friday. The meet schedule change with the 3200 meter run might play into the hands of the Albemarle boys and their team chances, but the 3200 race itself is shaping up to be an all-time great with Bobby Peavey, Thomas Porter, and Ben Dejarnette all very fit and ready to roll.