Blacksburg girls and Pulaski County boys claim titlesBLACKSBURG, VA -- The River Ridge District from southwest Virginia is staking a claim as one of the best and most competitive AA districts in the Commonwealth. Numerous athletes from the River Ridge are on top of the double A rankings. Four of the State's best 2A performances were set last night at the River Ridge District meet held at the Rector Field House on the campus of Virginia Tech. Cate Beranado of Blacksburg established the best 2A time in the 500m with a sizzling time of 1:18.47. Leslie Anderson of Pulaski County and Stacey Craighead of Cave Spring equaled the State's best mark in the high jump with a height of 5-01.00. Christiansburg boy's 4 x 400m relay set the standard with a time of 3:39.89. Lee Bradshaw of Cave Spring moved into first place with his dramatic win in the 1600m with a time of 4:31.78 moving ahead of Pat Eggleston of Brentsville District. There will be more on his dramatic win later in the article. Bradshaw last year's Indoor State Champion in the 1000m is also ranked first in the 1000m this year with his time of 2:39.59 he ran at the Virginia Tech High School Invitational.
The Blacksburg girl's team put on a dominating show as they claimed the first place trophy in the 2nd annual River Ridge District Indoor Track and Field Championship. Blacksburg had 132.5 points as they finished ahead of Cave Spring's 114.5 points. The Blacksburg girls claimed individual and/or relay district titles in the 300m dash, 500m dash, 1000m run, 55m hurdles, triple jump, 4 x200m relay (1:50.32), and 4 x400m relay (4:21.10). Megan Rhodes won her head to head duo with Leslie Anderson of Pulaski County in the 300m with a time of 43.06. Ariel Burbey took the 1000m run with a time of 3:15.37. Annie Grant won both the 55m hurdles and the triple jump as she was Blacksburg's lone double district champion. Grant's 55m hurdles time was 9.07 and her winning triple jump was 34-05.00.
Individually, Anderson and Laurel Sitze of Cave Spring had superior nights. Anderson was the meet's most outstanding athlete as she took three first place titles back to Dublin and two 2nd place finishes. Anderson won the 55m dash in 7.66, high jump in 5-01, long jump in 17-04.00, and was second in the 300m in 43.41 and triple jump with a mark of 34-00.25. Sitze captured both distance events in winning the 1600m (5:22.83)and 3200m (11:58.81). In both races, Rachel Travitz of Salem would take the runner-up spot.
The Pulaski County Cougar boy's team took the team trophy on a victory lap after the meet as they fought off the Christiansburg Blue Demons by a 115 to 105.83 score. The Cougar's win was by a team effort with only three individual titles. Andrew Gore won the shot put with a throw of 44-11.25. Victor Horton was the long jump champion with a mark of 19-06.50, and Lance McDaniel claimed the 1000m title with a time of 2:42.78 as he narrowly defeated his teammate, junior Josh Crowder (2:43.63). Horton led the PCHS team with 26 points as he was runner-up in the high jump (5-06.00) and triple jump (40-05.50).
The featured race of the night was the boy's dramatic 1600m run. After the race was over, the top four finishers had claimed four of the top five 2A times in the State. The race began with Bradshaw, a senior, accepting the challenge to lead. Bradshaw brought the pack through the 800m in a time of 2:20. McDaniel, a senior, decided the pace needed quickening and he went to the lead with four to go. After a brief gap, the pack closed and now consisted of McDaniel, Bradshaw, freshman sensation Peter Dorrell of Blacksburg, and junior John Horst of Christiansburg. The lead pack began their 4 consecutive laps of negative splits. McDaniel would lead until right before the bell lap as Bradshaw made his move back to the front. Surprisingly, Horst and Dorrell went with Bradshaw as they passed McDaniel. The last lap saw Bradshaw, Horst, Dorrell, and McDaniel with all having a chance to win. In the end, Bradshaw would hold off Horst to take the 1600m River Ridge District title with the State's best AA time in 4:31.78. Horst was 2nd in 4:32.30, Dorrell was 3rd in 4:33.24 and McDaniel finished 4th in 4:34.75. Three seconds separate the top 5 1600m 2A runners in the State.
The River Ridge District has an abundance of talent and great coaches. Look for the River Ridge athletes to make their mark at the Region III Meet which will be held at Heritage High School in Lynchburg on Saturday, February 19th.