Piersol gets records the long way as Maggie Walker sweeps team titles

RICHMOND, VA -- In a meet loaded with fast distance runners, John Piersol, Matt Wolak and Julia Siegel put on a show. All three set meet records - Piersol got two - but in Saturday's Colonial District indoor championships, it was an unlikely group of 1,600-meter relay runners that brought the Ashe Center crowd to its feet.

With a win in the books for the Maggie Walker girls, Donovan McGill, Jarrett Ridgeway, Brandon Herzog and Alex Tuck pulled away from J.R. Tucker for second place in the day's final event to give the Green Dragons a three-point win over the Tigers for the boys team title.

"We didn't have any fresh legs left," said Maggie Walker coach Jim Holdren said. "Brandon" - a freshman - "had never run on the varsity relay before.

"Those guys just put it all together. We've never - with anybody - run that fast in here before."

Piersol and the Maggie Walker distance runners did the heavy lifting. After following Freeman's Graham Kearney through a quick first half of the 1,600, Piersol ran alone in front over his next 27-plus laps on the 145-meter Ashe Center track.

Piersol won the 1,600 at 4:27.15, breaking the meet record by more than two seconds, then followed it up by bettering Des Proctor's 1986 record in the 3,200 by more than five seconds, clocking 9:37.93.

In between, Godwin's Wolak, second behind Piersol in the Richmond area 3,200 rankings, dropped down for a little speed work and earned back-to-back wins in the 500 (at a meet-record 1:07.16) and 1,000 (2:36.60). In the 1,000, Ridgeway, who entered with the sixth-best time in the country, finished second, two seconds back.

Freeman's Siegel made short work of the girls 1,600 field, winning by almost eight seconds at 5:25.61, then held off Godwin's Katherine Kamer in the 1,000 with a meet-record 3:10.33 performance.

Patrick Henry's Sherrod Lewis, the area leader in the 55 and 300, zipped to easy wins in those two races. Brooke Coleman had a big weekend for the Hermitage girls, who finished second overall, earning district titles in the triple jump and 55 and anchoring the Panthers' 800 relay to a four-second win.

In Friday's girls pole vault competition, Maggie Walker's Lauren Stewart broke her own meet record with a winning clearance of 10-0.