The first day of the Class 3/4 State Track championships came to an early end on Friday as lightning brightened the Lynchburg region with the final events taking place at Osborne Stadium, on the campus of Liberty University.
In spite of the truncated day, a glimpse was given as to what will be in store on Saturday for the individual and team titles in both classes.
John Handley's Taylor Beard easily won the Class 4 high jump with a 5-8 leap. However, her attempt to "get two" with a triple jump win was cut short by the inclement weather. The completion of Friday's events will commence at 9 AM on Saturday.
The field day's most exciting finish may have come in the 4A boys triple jump. Deep Creek sophomore Jalen Jones was leading the pack with a 46-11 effort until the very last jump, when Louisa County's Isaac Haywood hopped and bounded one inch further at 47 feet. At the end of Day 1, Deep Creek and Kings Fork are tied for the 4A boys team lead with 11 points, but Loudoun Valley should tally 50-60 in the three distance events tomorrow to take a commanding lead.
On the girls side, Grafton's 4x800 relay scored a remarkable victory as Alexa Daley, Sloane Youtsey, Alexandra Dunbar and Allison Kenney outkicked Loudoun Valley and Blacksburg while posting a season-best time of 9:28.97. Blacksburg, with the strength of eight high jump points, lead the 4A girls with 16.
The Clippers held on to a sturdy third-place through the first two legs, but Dunbar put Grafton in the lead for good on Leg 3.
Kenney, who received the baton from Dunbar, said, "Once I saw (Dunbar) get us in first, I knew I had to win." On a more personal note, she added, "We have three seniors on our relay and we knew it was the last time we will run together."
Loudoun Valley did dominate in the 4A boys race, with Sam Affolder, Jacob Windle Luke Affolder, Connor Wells, and Jacob Hunter cruising to a 20-second win with a time of 7:38.93.
In the 3A girls race, Western Albemarle's Jenna Stutzman, Ella Taylor, Maeci Frank, and Sterling Hull blasted to a 9:39.67 win, all the more impressive as the quartet includes a freshman, sophomore and two juniors. For the 3A boys, the Fort Defiance team of Ramsey Corbin, Ben Harlow, Jacob Jones and Ben Smoker edged Christiansburg to win in 8:00.10.
Western Albemarle leads the 3A boys after Day 1 with 15.5 points, while Heritage of Lynchburg tops the girls with 21.
In the 3A field events, Broadway's Easton Repko won the pole vault with a 14-foot clearance, while Tabb's Zack Coldsnow easily won the shot with a 55-9.25-foot throw.
In other 4A field events, Sherando's Isaiah Allen almost won the shot by 10 feet with a winning toss of 62-5.5. Dinwiddie's Leslie Young captured the discus in 124-5.