The Walsingham Academy girls track team has been a model of consistency in recent years — the past three seasons all ending in state championships.
Still, a state championship this year was no guarantee for the Trojans, especially after Cape Henry Collegiate had recently dethroned them as Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools champions, a title they had won each of the past three seasons.
But with a strong team effort in less than-ideal conditions, Walsingham Academy’s girls track team picked up their fourth straight Division II Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association championship May 19. The Trojans scored 139.5 points to take the top spot among 22 teams on a soggy track at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sports Backers Stadium, with Cape Henry coming in second with 98 points.
“They have had a pretty special year, all in all,” said Walsingham girls track coach Rich Higgins.
That special year included a trip for members of the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams to the prestigous Penn Relays, and a second place finish among larger schools in the Virginia Catholic State Track and Field Championships.
Depth and relays helped Walsingham, placing two people in six events and finishing no worse than second in three relay events — firsts in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and second in the 4x800 relay.
That was a big boost for the Trojans, who had just one first place individual finisher — Clare Kinney in the pole vault.
“I think, ultimately, that’s what really did it for us is the depth that we had,” Higgins said. “Cape Henry did not have that amount of depth. They had a couple of really fantastic athletes who gave their all, but they don’t have the same amount of depth we had, and that played out across a very long day. Because with the rain and one lightning delay … the meet took a very long time.”
The pole vault, with Kinney’s first place and Emma Lobash’s second, gave the Trojans 18 points to open the meet.
“I think it really helped us to get off to a good start like that,” Higgins said. “And I think mentally, then, everybody was really going for it.”
Higgins said he was holding his breath during the relays with the wet conditions.
“The rain was coming down, but they were perfect,” Higgins said.
Still, there were other top finishers, including seconds from Leyjah Hamrick in the 100 — setting a school record and finishing two, one-hundreths out of first — and Jocelyn Covaney in the 100 hurdles, and a second and third from Covaney and Christin Toth in the 300 hurdles. Emma Lobash took second in the pole vault.
Catherine Schumacher also took third in the 1,600, Toth finished third in the 200 hurdles and Cammie Mann third in the triple jump.
And though the Trojans will lose some seniors from this year’s team, don’t expect a major drop off next season. Higgins said the fun atmosphere, a team of long-time assistant coaches and the athletes themselves, keeps a high-level of consistency for the Trojans’ track program.
“It’s been a combination of, we’ve had some very talented girls come out for track and cross country,” Higgins said. “And what’s happened is that, as they’ve built success, it continues to build on itself, because other kids come out and want to do it.”
Walsingham Academy girls track at VISAA Div. 2 championships
100 — Leyjah Hamrick, 2nd — 12.56 (school record)
100 — Caroline Schumacher, 4th — 13.01
200 — Caroline Schumacher, tie-3rd — 27.49
400 — Kiely Curran, 4th — 1:02.64
800 — Clare Kinney, 5th — 2:34.91
1,600 — Catherine Schumacher, 3rd — 5:39.04
100 hurdles — Jocelyn Covaney, 2nd — 17.67
100 hurdles — Christin Toth, 4th — 18.57
300 hurdles — Jocelyn Covaney, 2nd — 51.57
300 hurdles — Christin Toth, 3rd — 52.20
4x100 relay (Caroline Schumacher, Leyjah Hamrick, Sarah Benson, Cammie Mann) — Walsingham, 1st — 50.92
4x400 relay (Leyjah Hamrick, Khatiana Perez, Sarah Benson and Kiely Curran) — Walsingham, 1st — 4:21.58
4x800 relay (Clare Kinney, Frankie Riggs, Emma Lobash and Khatiana Perez) — Walsingham, 2nd — 10:35.26
High jump — Cammie Mann, 3rd — 4-10
High jump — Sarah Benson, 5th — 4-6
Long jump — Cammie Mann, 4th — 15-9.75
Long jump — Sarah Benson, 5th — 15-8.25
Triple jump — Cammie Mann, 3rd — 33-4.5 (school record)
Pole vault — Clare Kinney, 1st — 8-0
Pole vault — Emma Lobash, 2nd — 7-0
Discus — Clare Kinney, 5th — 89-8
Shot put — Clare Kinney, 6th — 28-0
Note: Walsingham’s boys finished 11th overall, with Holden Kearns taking second in the shot put for the team’s best finish.
Walsingham boys track at VISAA Div. 2 championships
Shot put — Holden Kearns, 2nd — 46-9
Pole vault — Nate Benson, 2nd — 9-0
3,200 — Patrick Murphy, 4th — 10:42.73
4x800 relay (Jack Schonk, Ethan Ricker, Patrick Murphy, Jake Lobash), 5th — 9:03.81