Dogwood lives up to the hype and then some

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Dogwood Track Classic was a very hyped up meet this year and it lived up to its billing and then some as the meet was filled with great depths of fast times and great performances.

No race showcased this more in the meet than the boys\' 3200 meter run. In the race, there was a remarkable number of 18 runners that went under the 10 minute barrier. Most state meet races cannot match that kind of number, yet the Dogwood Track Classic pulled it off in the middle of season with some great competition, great track, and great weather. Leading the charge for that 3200 field was Ocean Lakes senior Matt Keally, who bettered his previous personal best time of 8:59 by a second as he broke 9 for the second time ever with his out-of-this-world time of 8:58.30. To show how much Keally has improved over the last year, he broke his own meet record last year, which he set in a time of 9:18.8. Also, Keally earlier in the day put his 4x800 out in the lead for good with a solid 3rd leg as the team won in a time of 8:13.34.

Also running one stellar race in the boys\' 3200 was Fork Union\'s Kippy Keino as he took second behind Keally with a great time of 9:05.94.

While Keally had probably the performance of the day on the boys\' side, it was Hickory\'s Jennifer Boyd\'s two performances that made her the standout of the meet on the girls\' side. First off in the 1600, Boyd lead from early on in the race and never looked back as she continued to distance herself from the competitive field to finish in at a excellent time of 5:03.34. She then came back to break 11 for her second time ever in the 3200 as she won with a time of 10:56.02. Overshadowed by Boyd\'s oustanding double effort was Warren County\'s Emily Harrison who took second to Boyd in both races with a strong double herself with times of 5:11.11 in the 1600 and 11:15.10 in the 3200.

The great performances didn\'t stop there in the distance events. The boys\' meter run came down to an exciting finish between two speedsters in Mills Godwin senior Matt Wolak and Louisa County senior Stephen Carlson. Wolak lead through the opening lap and kept the lead as the large pack of sub 2 runners reached the final stretch. When it appeared that Wolak may pull away with the win, Carlson swerved out to lane 2 and made a push to the line where Wolak was able to hold him to win a time of 1:55.28 and Carlson a step behind at 1:55.41.

It was an even more impressive performance by Wolak since he had been pushed to win a very close 1600 meter race earlier in the day. Maggie Walker\'s John Piersol and Midlothian\'s Anthony D\'Amato made sure Wolak would have to sweat out a win. Piersol set a quick early pace as he led the trio. On the third lap, Wolak took the lead from Piersol as D\'Amato and Piersol still sat behind Wolak. Right after entering the bell lap, D\'Amato made a move to try and pass Wolak on the backstretch. However, Wolak matched D\'Amato\'s move and on the final stretch, his superior leg speed won out as he opened up some breathing room on D\'Amato and Piersol to finish in at a time of 4:20.06. D\'Amato finished second with a big PR of 4:21.43.

Little is said or talked about James Monroe freshmen Shylan Bumbrey, but she may have caught many people\'s attention as she had a big win as well as personal best time in the 800 meter run with her time of 2:14.43. Only one girl has ran faster in the state than Bumbrey\'s time and that is state champion runner Keira Carlstrom of Oakton.

Speaking of Carlstrom, she competed as well as Dogwood but only in relay events. Carlstrom, having finished fourth in the Penn Relays mile only two days before, had two scorching 800 splits despite the fact that she was using the 800 runs as experiments as well as workouts. In the 4x800, Carlstrom got the baton as the second leg well behind in the pack from the leaders. However, part of her experiment with the meet was to hammer out a hard first 400 in the 4x800 in which she did as she covered her first lap in an incredible 61 seconds. At this point, she had ran down everyone that was ahead of her when she started her leg and gave her team a comfortable lead as she handed off to freshmen Danielle Light for a 2:12 split. Incredible split considering her very quick first lap. Light stretched out the lead even more with her strong 2:17 split and then Kate Meehan brought it home for the win as Oakton won with a state best time of 9:21.24. Later in the day, Carlstrom had another strong 800 leg on the sprint medley relay with a 2:15 split.

In the boys\' 400, Phoebus Myron Canton entered as the only sub 50 second runner entered in the contest and came out as the only sub 50 second runner as he won in a time of 49.70. The girls\' 400 was a much closer race as Stuart Draft\'s Lauren Diggs (58.69) edged out Jamestown\'s Ashley Gore (58.92).

There was no question who was the dominant sprinter in the girls\' 100 and 200 meter dashes. That runner was Amherst County\'s Jenea Brown as she won both events in smoking times of 12.42 and 25.46. Patrick Henry\'s Sherrod Lewis nearly pulled off the same double win as he won the 100 (11.05), but came up just short in the 200 (2nd, 22.16).

The hurdle events saw some quick clockings. Nelson Dawson of Heritage represented the AA ranks as he won the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.66. In the 300 meter hurdles, Marlon Smith of Armstrong won with a great time of 39.92. On the girls\' side, Afua Amponsah of Annandale had a fast clocking of 15.45 to win the 100 meter hurdles and Karen Simon had a personal best race in the 300 meter hurdles with her winning time of 46.06.

The sprint relays witnessed some exciting races. In the 4x100 meter relays, it was the Hayfield boys (42.78) and Amherst County girls (49.74) who edged out the competition for the win. In the 4x400 meter relays, it was all Phoebus as both boys (3:24.68) and girls (3:57.90) won.

Both distance medley races had some impressive winning times. The Saunders twins helped the Jefferson Forest girls win in a meet record time of 12:36.56, as Kristin gave them a large lead with her 1200 opening leg and Shannon never let Western Albemarle\'s Delaney Moje gain any ground as Shannon ran a 5:12 anchor leg. Meanwhile, the Midlothian boys had the lead from the get-go with Ryan Witt\'s 3:12 1200 opening leg and never looked back as Anthony D\'Amato finished his 4:30 1600 anchor leg to give the team a total time of 10:39.04.

Oakton\'s Bonnie Meekins was upset in the girls\' high jump by Imani Moorman of Amherst County (5-06.00), but maybe it was because Meekins was so excited about her great day in the long jump where she jumped a personal best of 18-01.25 to win the event. That wasn\'t the only win of the day for Moorman though as was victorious in the triple jump as well (36-02.50).

The top performance of the day in the girls\' field events though was by Prince George\'s Rhian Jenks in the pole vault as set a new meet record as well as cleared a personal best with her height of 11-03.00.

The Northern Region dominated the girls\' throws as Hayfield\'s Ashley Crocker won the shot put (38-11.50) and Lake Braddock\'s Jessica Sawers won the discus (127-03.00). In the boys\' throws, it was dominated by one team, Great Bridge, as Chris Widhalm won the discus (158-00.00) and James Nixon won the shot put (53-10.75) for the Wildcats.

Teammate Daniel Garrett reaffirmed himself as the second best pole vaulter in the state (behind 15-9 pole vaulter David Sullivan of Centreville of course) as he won the event with a vault of 14-07.00.

Patrick Henry\'s Jermaine Mallory had a surpisingly good day in the triple jump as he went a personal best mark of 45-04.00, while the multi-event star Julius Talley of Spotsylvania won the long jump (22-03.50).

Albemarle\'s Brandon London outdueled Maggie Walker\'s Jeff Hostetter to win out the high jump at 6-04.00.

In the team scores, it was the Oakton girls and Great Bridge boys that came on top. With Keira Carlstrom\'s strong relay legs on the 4x800 and sprint medley, which helped the team finish first and second respectively in both events, and Bonnie Meekins picking up a win in the long jump and two runner-up finishes (high jump and 300 meter hurdles), made it possible for Oakton to overcome a strong fight from the Kellam girls who finished second. The Great Bridge boys used their dominance in the throws and Garrett\'s win in the pole vault to key their win.