Lafayette's boys rely on depth to earn 3A state track and field title

mobrien@dailypress.com
Rams win only 4x800 relay, but win capture title by 31-point margin as many contribute

Lafayette High’s boys ended their decade-long state track and field championship drought in impressive fashion Tuesday, winning the Group 3A indoor title at Liberty University by 31 points. It was a feat they achieved with precious little gold, but lots of small change.

The Rams won only one event, with Konrad Steck, Cade Moreno, James Hart and Andrew Loper combining to take first in the 4x800 relay. They otherwise depended on a lot of athletes chipping into the 77 points that allowed them to easily outdistance runners-up William Byrd (46 points), Blacksburg (45) and Western Albemarle (43).

“We talk about nickels and pennies,” said Loper, who added another six points with his third-place finish in the 1,000 meters, won by Warhill’s Chris Short. “We’ve got a lot of people getting one, two, three, four or five points, and it all works together.”

By contrast, Lafayette’s girls piled on the gold, winning five events, with Megan Jones having a hand in three and Audrey Hurley two. The Rams had their share of depth, too, but it wasn’t enough as they fell just short of the championship. They lost 123-117 to a Blacksburg team spearheaded by its nationally renowned distance corps, which scored 74 of the Bruins’ points.

Phoebus also had a good showing at the Tolsma Center, finishing second in the boys 4A meet and third in the girls. Charles Graham (55-meter hurdles) and Dartrez Thompson (300) won individual titles for the Phantoms’ boys, who also won the 4x400 relay, while All-American Carolyn Brown won the 55 and the high jump for the Phantoms’ girls.

But a slip in the hurdles and an injury in the 300 cost Brown perhaps two more gold medals, and the points to ensure her team a runner-up trophy behind champion Nansemond River. Lafayette’s fortunes depended less on one athlete than on a legion of them.

“We had a runner in every event and that put us in position to win both state championships,” said Lafayette coach Mel Jones, whose boys won their most recent indoor and outdoor state titles 10 years ago.

That kind of depth made the boys big pre-meet favorites. Finishes of second (twice) and third the past three seasons kept them from getting cocky.

“We stayed humble, kept good heads on our shoulders and tried not to get ahead of ourselves,” said Micah Canaday, who epitomized the Rams’ team ethos by scoring points in the hurdles, triple jump and on a relay. “This tells you that with hard work, you can do anything if you put your mind to it and stay focused.

“There really aren’t words for this. The journey tells you how far you’ve come.”

Mel Jones said five golds usually mean victory in a state meet, but he gave his props to Blacksburg, which passed Lafayette late in the meet with a 1-2-3-4 finish in the 3,200. The Rams had their own dominant event, with Megan Jones, Alexis Brender A’ Brandis and Alexus Wells taking 1-2-3 in the long jump.

Audrey Hurley, a sophomore, gave the Rams a first in the 500 with a come-from-behind thriller in addition to her second in the 300. Pole-vaulter Kathryn Tomczak edged closer to 13 feet, clearing 12 feet, 7 inches to win, and added points with third place in the 55 hurdles.

The Rams’ girls were victorious on two relays, with Megan Jones and Selena Jones the common denominators. They were joined on the 4x200 champs by Brander A’ Brandis and Hurley, and on the victorious 4x400 by triple-jump runner-up Wells and 1,000-meter runner-up Brooke Crookston.

Warhill’s Short won the 3A 1,000 in a runaway and ran a leg and anchored the Lions’ 4x400 relay that rallied past Blacksburg for that title. Taylor Lyons, Ethan Johnson, Spencer Conti joined him.

Tabb’s Maya Hanks added nearly three feet to her season best in winning the 4A triple jump in 40-5 3/4.

But the greatest glory on the day belonged to the Lafayette boys, whose many contributions included second places from Moreno (3,200) and Angel Jimenez (500), and thirds from Canaday (55 hurdles), Derrick Abson (triple jump) and Derrick Harris (long jump). For Harris, a standout on the Lafayette football team that lost the 3A state final on the Liberty University campus, the track state title was vindication of sorts.

“This kind of does make up for it,” Harris said. “We wanted it as a team in football, so to come back to Liberty and get the ring in track takes a big chip off of my shoulder.”

O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.

 

GROUP 4A STATE INDOOR TRACK MEET

Boys

Team scoring: 1, Norcom 73. 2, Phoebus 65. Others: 7, Tabb 28. 10, Grafton 16. 31, Smithfield 3.

55: 1, Mauck, Handley, 6.52. 6, Blair, Tabb. 6.72.

300: 1, Thompson, Phoebus, 35.06.

500: 1, Middleton, Nansemond River, 1:05.48. 5, Williams, Phoebus, 1:07.44.

1000: 1, Conway, Powhatan, 2:34.65. 6, Keurajian, Jamestown, 2:39.33. 7, Moore, Grafton, 2:41.66.

1600: 1, Seufer, E.C. Glass, 4:18.79. 4, Kieffer, Tabb, 4:20.63.

3200: 1, Seufer, E.C. Glass, 9:54.24. 6, Kieffer, Tabb, 9:44.81. 8, Owens, Grafton, 10:02.11.

55H: 1, Graham, Phoebus, 7.25.

800R: 1, Phoebus 1:31.61. 6, Smithfield 1:34.76.

1600R: 1, Fauquier 3:26.79. 2, Phoebus 3:27.59.

3200R: 1, Midlothian 8:06.86. 2, Tabb 8:09.39. 4, Grafton 8:15.68.

 

HJ: 1, Gaskin, Lake Taylor, 6-4. 2, Noel, Grafton, 6-2. 3, Thompson, Phoebus, 6-0. 5, Nelson, Phoebus, 6-0.

LJ: 1, Mauck, Handley, 22-8 1/2. 4, Graham, Phoebus, 21-11. 5, Nelson, Phoebus, 21-5 3/4. 

TJ: 1, Mauck, Handley, 46-11 1/4. 5, Nelson, Phoebus, 44-9 1/4.

PV:  1, Graham, King George, 15-0. 3 Ahlin, Tabb, 13-0.

SP: 1, Warren, Midlothian, 52-6 1/2.

Girls

Team scoring: 1, Nansemond River 122. 2. E.C. Glass 78. 3, Phoebus 61. 6, Tabb 27. 18, Grafton 7.

55: 1, Brown, Phoebus, 7.01. 

300: 1, Johnson, Nansemond  River, 39.27. 2. Aduma, Phoebus, 40.50.

500: 1, Lyles, Nansemond River, 1:15.46. 3, Aduma, Phoebus, 1:19.16. 4, Gravelle, Jamestown, 1:19.18. 

1000: 1, Shupe, Jefferson Forest, 2:56.68. 5, Wanderer, Grafton, 3:12.32. 7, Bloxom, Grafton, 3:15.66. 8.  Jackson, Phoebus, 3:15.68. 

1600: 1, Davidson, E.C. Glass, 5:01.94. 2, Li. Blanks, Tabb, 5:11.47.

3200: 1, Davidson, E.C. Glass, 10:59.40.

55H: 1, Johnson, Nansemond River, 8.14. 7, Bunch, Phoebus, 9.68. 

800R: 1, Nansemond River 1:44.07. 8, Phoebus 1:48.59. 

1600R: 1, Nansemond River 4:00.61. 3, Phoebus 4:06.97. 6, Tabb 4:11.43. 

3200R: 1, E.C. Glass 9:22.14. 3, Tabb 10:00.42. 8, Grafton 10:24.93.

HJ: 1, Brown, Phoebus, 5-6. 5, Jackson, Phoebus, 5-0.

LJ: 1, Lyles, Nansemond River, 19-11 1/4. 2, Aduma, Phoebus, 18-0. 4, Brown, Phoebus, 17-5 3/4. 

TJ: 1, Hanks, Tabb, 40-5 3/4.

PV:  1, White, Jefferson Forest, 10-0.

SP:  1, Rashid, Nansemond River, 44-11 1/2.

 

 

 

GROUP 3A STATE INDOOR TRACK MEET

 

Boys

 

Team scoring:  1, Lafayette 77. 2, William Byrd 46. Others: 6, Warhill 35. 13, New Kent 17. 32, Poquoson 1.

55: 1, Alexander, Heritage-Lynchburg, 6.41. 8, Nixon, Warhill, 6.78.

300: 1, Fletcher, William Byrd, 36.12.

500: 1, McCoy, Blacksburg, 1:07.71. 2, Jiminez, Lafayette, 1:09.04. 3, Johnson, Warhill, 1:10.16.

1000: 1, Short, Warhill, 2:31.56. 3, Loper, Lafayette, 2:36.39. 7, Conti, Warhill, 2:42.79.

1600: 1, Kern, Alleghany, 4:19.21. 3, Steck, Lafayette, 4:22.82. 6, Carlin, New Kent, 4:34.92. 8, Gault, Poquoson, 4:37.08.

3200: 1, Willcutts, Western Albemarle, 9:28.54. 2. Moreno, Lafayette, 9:42.19. 6, Carlin, West Point, 9:54.72.

55H: 1, Fletcher, William Byrd, 7.69. 3, Canaday, Lafayette, 7.97. 4, Wells, Lafayette, 8.00. 

800R: 1, Western Albemarle 1:33.32. 5, Lafayette 1:36.19.  1600R: 1, Warhill 3:30.76. 7, Lafayette 3:41.15.

3200R: 1, Lafayette 8:05.77. 3, Warhill 8:09.13. HJ: 1, Ballengee, Staunton River, 6-0.

LJ: 1, Fletcher, William Byrd, 22-11 1/4. 3, Harris, Lafayette, 21-5 1/2. 5, Wells, Lafayette, 20-9 3/4. 

TJ: 1, Fletcher, William Byrd, 47-9 1/2. 3, Abson, Lafayette, 42-5 1/2. 4, Canaday, Lafayette, 41-8 1/2. 6, Morris, New Kent, 41-6 1/2. 

PV:  1, Rider, Western Albemale, 14-0. 2, Kowal, New Kent, 14-0.  SP:  1, Patti, Staunton River, 51-8 3/4. 8, Harris, Lafayette, 42-5.

Girls

Team scoring: 1, Blacksburg 123. 2, Lafayette 116. Others: 10, Warhill 15. 24, New Kent 2.

55: 1, Morris, Heritage-Lynchburg, 7.26.

300: 1, Morris, Heritage-Lynchburg, 41.32. 2. Hurley, Lafayette, 42.37. 6, Wells, Lynchburg, 43.38.

500: 1, Hurley, Lafayette, 1:17.29. 4, Wells, Lafayette, 1:22.67.

1000: Fleming, Blacksburg, 3:00.44. 2, Crookston, Lafayette, 3:03.56.

1600: 1, Fleming, Blacksburg, 5:02.61. 8, Jeon, Lafayette, 5:50.04.

3200: 1, Angermeier, Blacksburg, 10:59.13. 5, Savedge, Lafayette, 11:40.89. 6, Hrncir, Warhill, 11:58.93.

55H: 1, Harris, Huguenot, 8.52. 3, Tomczak, Lafayette, 8.92. 

800R: Heritage-Lynchburg 1:46.80. 2, Lafayette 1:48.65.

1600R: 1, Lafayette 4:12.18. 8, Warhill 4:26.17.

3200R: 1, Blacksburg 9:35.45. 3, Lafayette 9:58.71. 4, Warhill 10:02.02.

HJ: 1, Scott,  Armstrong, 5-2. LJ: 1, Jones, Lafayette, 17-3 1/2. 2, Brender A’ Brandis 17-0 3/4. 3, Wells, Lafayette, 17-0 1/4.

TJ: 1, Jones, Liberty-Bedford, 37-5. 2, Wells, Lafayette, 36-0. 6, Brender A’ Brandis, Lafayette, 34-8.

PV: 1, Tomczak, Lafayette, 12-7. 7, Stevens, New Kent, 8-6. 

SP:  1, Crump, Hidden Valley, 38-11 3/4. 8, Brown, Lafayette, 32-6 1/2.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette
52°