Phoebus' Amira Aduma earns top track honors for fourth straight season

Contact Reporterkyanchulis@dailypress.com
For the fourth time in a row, Amira Aduma finished a track season with three state titles to her name.

HAMPTON — For the fourth time in a row, Phoebus' Amira Aduma finished a track season with three state titles to her name.

So for the fourth time in a row, Aduma also takes the title of Daily Press girls outdoor track and field Athlete of the Year.

Aduma's chance at the "four-peat" looked in danger, as the senior missed the majority of the spring season with a strained hamstring. But she returned from her injury in time to take Group 3A state championships in the 100-meter dash (11.98 seconds), 300-meter hurdles (43.18) and the long jump (19 feet, 2 1/4 inches).

Her string of triple state titles started back in the 2015-2016 indoor season, when she won the 55 meters, 300 and long jump. She repeated in all three events this year.

In the 2016 outdoor season, she won the 100 (12.23), 200 (24.74) and long jump (18-6 1/4) but finished second in the 300 hurdles. This season, she competed in the 4x400 (1,600) relay rather than defend her title in the 200; the relay finished second.

While Aduma said she would have liked to finish her high school career with a new personal record of four state titles, her resurgent finish to her high school career was not quite done.

Before she turned her sights to the University of Illinois, where she will run track next year, she left the Group 3A state championship meet June 3 with one final goal for her final high school meet, the New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, N.C.

"My hope is to finally break a minute in the 400 hurdles," Aduma said. "I've been running a minute since my ninth-grade year. But I feel more confident finally in my hurdles after running them at states."

For the first time in her career, she broke the 60-second mark in the event, finishing in a personal-best 59.18 seconds June 18. She clinched a third-place finish and became a first-time All-American.

Aduma placed third despite running in the lowest-seeded heat for the event. She had to watch every other heat afterward and wait for the times to flash up on the scoreboard to see where she stood.

She stood atop the leaderboard after the first four groups, then hunkered down to watch the final, highest-seeded heat, which included 2016 U.S. Olympian Sydney McLaughlin.

"I wanted to watch but I didn't want to watch at the same time," Aduma said. "Then when we saw the times, my mom and I just jumped in the air and started screaming.

I'm so happy I got to end my high school career on a high note."

ALL-STAR SELECTIONS

100 meters | Amira Aduma | Phoebus | senior. A University of Illinois signee, Aduma returned from a hamstring injury to win three Group 3A state championships, including the 100, though her best time came in her preliminary heat (11.98 seconds).

200 | Ryah Hinds | York | sophomore. A 24.54 finish earned Hinds second place at the Group 3A state meet and a spot on this all-star team.

400 | Amira Aduma | Phoebus | senior. Our Daily Press Athlete of the Year makes her second appearance on this list with her season-best time of 56.73 in the Real Deal Track Classic.

800 | Alex Daley | Grafton | sophomore. She ran the area's best time, 2:18.96, during the regular season and went on to finish fifth in the Group 4A state meet.

1,600 | Brooke Crookston | Lafayette | senior. Crookston led the area with a third-place run of 5:15.98 in the 4A East regional meet, then finished sixth at state.

3,200 | Meredith Beaver | Grafton | junior. Beaver posted her area-leading mark of 11:17.56 at the Dogwood Track Classic in Charlottesville.

100 hurdles | Taylynn Blunt | Menchville | junior. Blunt sped to a time of 14.94 in this event during the final Peninsula District meet of the season.

300 hurdles | Amira Aduma | Phoebus | senior. After she won gold in 43.18 at the 3A states, she placed third in the 400 hurdles at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor.

400 relay | Menchville (Carleah Johnson, Danyetta Ruffin, December Hutchinson, Taylynn Blunt). The Monarchs ran their best time of the season (48.56) during a regular-season Peninsula District meet, then placed seventh at 5A state in 49.10.

1,600 relay | Kecoughtan (Erin Weigel, Tea Foster, Aaliyah Miller, AnJane Harrison). The Warriors placed fourth at the Group 5A state meet with a time of 3:57.73.

3,200 relay | Grafton (Maya Caden, Allison Kenney, Kira Freedman, Alexa Daley). The Clippers ran their best time of the season, 9:21.11, to win a 4A East title, then followed that up with a time of 9:21.21 at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet.

High jump | Jahnelle Saunders | Phoebus | eighth grade. The best jump of the season (5 feet, 4 inches) came from Saunders for the Phantoms' junior varsity. Look for big things from her when she actually gets to high school next year.

Pole vault | Peyton Blanding | Lafayette | junior. Her highest clearance this season stood at 10-6, then she took seventh at the Group 4A state meet at 10-0.

Long jump | Amira Aduma | Phoebus | senior. Aduma rounded out her trio of Group 3A state titles, and her appearances on this list, with a leap of 19-2 1/4.

Triple jump | Maya Hanks | Tabb | senior. One of Hanks' two first-place finishes at the Dogwood Track Classic came with a 40-10 1/2 mark in the triple jump. The other came in the 100 (12.10).

Shot put | Jalani Davis | Bethel | sophomore. Davis ruled the Peninsula in both the shot put and the discus throw all season; 39-11 1/2 was her season-long in the former.

Discus | Jalani Davis | Bethel | sophomore. Davis placed fourth in the discus at the 5A state meet with a throw of 116-2.

— Kate Yanchulis and Marty O'Brien

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