EASTERN REGION INDOOR TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS
WHEN: Field events and running preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. Saturday. Monday’s running finals begin at noon.
WHERE: Todd Stadium.
ADMISSION: $7 for adults and $2 for children under 12.
OUTLOOK: The talent pool and depth of Bethel’s boys makes them a dangerous team at the regional level, where the competition favors the most elite athletes and teams with the largest number of them. The Bruins are strongest in the 800- and 1,600-meter relays, as well as the 300 (Javell Bullard) and 500 (Sherrard Marrow). But they could struggle to keep up with talent-rich teams in distance and field events. Western Branch is loaded, striking a nice balance with its excellent 3,200 relay squad, Jeffrey Artis (hurdler and triple-jumper), Kevin Newsome (55 hurdles), Torry Womack (55 dash) and Javanti Sparrow (300). Menchville should bring good balance to the meet with its broad talent pool, and Hampton’s Lavell Handy single-handedly could boost the Crabbers’ scoring by being competitive in the 55 hurdles, triple jump and long jump. Similarly, Phoebus’ Darrius Shelton (sprinter and jumper) should help the Phantoms with his versatility. Lakeland’s Chris Copeland (high jump) and Oscar Smith’s Frede Spellman (shot put) are special athletes to watch. Bethel’s girls come in as defending champs, but will be pressed by a host of strong South Hampton Roads teams. The Bruins should be in the competitive mix in some of the sprints and relays, as well as the shot put (Kayla Campbell), but probably will find it hard to match the deep talent possessed by squads like Western Branch, Grassfield, Deep Creek and Landstown. Gloucester’s Hannah Varnell (1,000 and 1,600), Heritage’s Ruth Hunt (55 dash) and Denbigh’s Brandy Peat (shot put) are likely to be among the best athletes in their events. The 55 hurdles, the 300 and the 3,200 are some of the girls’ events that feature potentially highly competitive fields. The top six finishers in all events qualify for the Group AAA state meet — truly indoors at George Mason University — in two weeks.