The State Championships in Track & Field are more than just another meet. The Championships are about athletes, teams, coaches, and many others cementing their place in history. This weekend over a thousand athletes will attempt to make history here at Boo Williams in the VHSL Class 5 and Class 6 State Championships.
These Championships are about writing and rewriting the history book of our sport. This will include dramatic finishes, epic comebacks, stiff rivalries, and of course records being broken this weekend. Though the meet starts a new beginning for many, the real story to begin our preview is about the end, the 4x400m relay.
Track as a sport has a lot of things going for it and many would argue it also has the best thing in all of sports, the 4x400m relay. It is a mix of speed and endurance and always closes out the meet meaning this race decides who wins that coveted team title.
This Saturday we will be treated once again with great team competitions and exciting 4x4's as well. These races will decide those eight teams who will hoist the state trophy or state runner-up trophy.
In the Class 5 girls' 4x4 we have defending team champions Nansemond River trying to make it four in a row with Maury, Glen Allen, and Highland Springs all chasing. It is no surprise too to know all those teams will be racing against each other in the final race of the meet. This 4x4 race will likely decide the finishing places of five out of the top six teams.
Next up will be the Class 6 girls' 4x4 which will feature a heavy weight showdown between perennial favorites Western Branch and upstart South County. These two teams have run some of the fastest times in the nation this year and also have come to Hampton for some hardware. This race could be just as fast as the national championship final.
On the guys' side things will be just as exciting in Class 6 where Western Branch will attempt to make it four years in a row and outlast Oscar Smith's attempt to win the team title with just a few guys on their entire state team. This race will be fast but also important as it could be a win or lose situation for the Bruins of Branch.
Finally we will also have the Class 5 boys in the 4x4 relay. This relay for the past four years has been the most exciting race of the entire weekend regardless of classification. Year after year it has come down to the final lap of the final leg of the final race and each time it has been Bethel celebrating at the end. This year though things are much different.
Having a good 4x4 this weekend won't win you that Class 5 title, nor would a great 4x4. What this race is going to take is the greatest ever. It will take four guys running perfect to win. It will take a overall state record to win, it will take something that has never happened.
The state record of 3:18.94 is very much in danger as both L.C. Bird and Bethel have gone 3:20 and 3:22 this season. They will each have four all-stars on their team who could win individual state titles themselves. Together these eight guys, as well as Highland Springs, William Fleming, Potomac Senior, and Kecoughtan will all chase and be a part of history.
Before these races hit the track there will also be a ton of action priming those scenarios on the track and in the field competition. This includes big-time matchups like Shadajah Ballard and Hannah Waller, Kurt Powdar and Michael Bourne, Aaron Shirley and Zach Kindel, EJ Richardson and the Hill Twins, Kori Carter and Britton Wilson amongst many others.
With fifteen events across four competitions we end up with sixty state titles and four team titles up for grabs. The favorites and big storylines for each are previewed below and on the following pages.