Team VA Showcased In Friday's Relays


The Virginia relay teams gained an early upper hand on their out-of-state rivals as the invitational events of the Virginia Showcase commenced on Friday afternoon.

Entries from the Old Dominion captured three of the first four events, winning both the boys' and girls' distance medleys, as well as the girls 1600-meter relay.

In the day's first event, it was the Western Branch girls from Chesapeake who tried to steal the 1600-meter relay in the opening two legs. Na'Taja Ballard opened up a two-second lead for the Bruins on the opening leg, before handing off to Nylah Wiggins, who edged the margin to 2.5 seconds, as Branch crossed the midway point in 1:52.5.

But the powerful Bullis team from Potomac, MD, held their ground, and their third leg, Sage Hinton, running a magnificent 53.8 second split, made up all of the lost ground, and added five meters to a sturdy lead, before handing off to Mirai Bernard, who finished the job with a 55.35 split. Bullis' winning time of 3:49.07 sprung the quartet into the US #1 position.

However, the Branch boys team claimed redemption, with Keith Frazier, Caleb McGirt, Quinton Massie, and Aaron Goggins overcoming Bowie and a pair of DeMatha squads to win the boys 1600-meter relay in 3:23.03 (US #7).

Next up was the distance medley, and L.C. Bird, seeded at 10:10, but lacking an official tune-up race, ran away from the field of 12 for the victory. Brendan Taylor (3:10 - 1200) Jayson Ward (49 - 400), Luke Affolder (2:02 - 800), and Jacob Plummer (4:18 - 1600) carried the baton for the Skyhawks, who will be in the mix for the Virginia Class 5 boys state title late in February.

The Hawks' final time of 10:19.40 also scored as a new US #1.

Finally, in the girls' distance medley, the foursome of Kate Radcliffe, Elizabet Davis, Jenna Stutzman, and Sterling Hall held off a sturdy Weddington team to win the event in 12:46.13. Weddington's Anna Ritter held the lead for two-thirds of her leg, but Hull stayed within striking range, and made the purposeful pass with three laps to go, pulling away for the win with a final 400 of 74 seconds.