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Saturday's state track notebook
Gloucester's O'Reilly headed for West Point
By Lynn Burke | email@example.com
Blaine O’Reilly capped his high school career by running 4:27.66 in the 1,600 meters Saturday at the Group AAA state meet. In a month, he’ll embark on a bigger adventure.
After graduating from Gloucester High School on June 14, he reports to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he’ll also run for the school’s track and cross country teams.
“I’ve wanted to go there since sixth or seventh grade,” said O’Reilly, whose brother Egan graduated from the school in 2004. “I like the options I’ll have and it’s service to the country.”
O’Reilly finished third in the first heat of the 1,600 and 14th overall.
“Not my best time, but we had our prom last night,” he said.
O’Reilly said his brother is stationed in Germany and is a first lieutenant who’s about to become a captain.
ALL BY HERSELF
The point standings show Lee-Davis of Mechanicsville finishing third in the girls team standings with 37 points. In reality, senior Rachel Butler was third, since she was a one-girl team at the meet, placing in all six events she entered.
Butler won the triple jump, finished second in the 300-meter hurdles, third in the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump, fourth in the high jump and sixth in the 200 meters.
All by herself, she outscored 53 of the 55 teams that scored points in the meet.
Denbigh’s Lakisha Carney finished fourth in the girls discus, reaching a career-best 122-3. Porter Watkins of Fauquier won with a 124-11 throw.
Carney had one throw around 125 feet, but said, unfortunately for her, it came during warmups.
She said she’s had an offer to attend North Carolina A&T University next year, the same school Bethel sprinter Crystal Carrington will attend.
NOT THIS WEEK
Heritage’s Sheanna Mitchell cleaned 5-8 in the high jump last week to finish second in the Eastern Region meet. This week, she made it at 5-6, but missed all three tries at 5-8.
“There was less pressure last week,” she said. “This week there was more because this was the state meet and because I made 5-8 last week.”
Deep Creek’s Ashley Gatling won the high jump as the only girl to clear 5-10.
She tried three times to reach 6-0¼, but missed on all three. The bar usually moves in two-inch increments, but she wanted the extra quarter-inch because the state record was 6-0 1/8 by Paula Girven in 1976.
TWO OUT OF THREE
Robert E. Lee’s Sean Holston won two races, but finished third in the 100 in his bid to sweep the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes.
Holston won the 200 by a half-second over Isiah Gyasi of Norcom, 21.47 to 21.96. And in the 400, he won by six-tenths of a second, running 47.47 to the 48.17 by Javanti Sparrow of Western Branch.
But in the 100, he ran 10.92 to finish behind Gyasi and Dejor Simmons of Deep Creek.
Holston will run for Florida State next year, where he’ll join former Bayside sprint champ Charles Clark, the NCAA indoor 200-meter champion.
“We’re friends, so me and Charles, we’ll push each other in practice,” Holston said.
Only three boys have even won the three spring races in a single state meet, including Newport News High School’s Billy Schroeding in 1965.
All seven state meet records held by Peninsula district athletes remained intact and with Tierra Brown’s record in the 100-meter hurdles, the number of state records increased to eight.
Girls state records are Menchville’s 3:34.46 in the 1,600-meter relay in 1998, the 49-9 shot put by Menchville’s Tracey Toon in 1982 and the 159-0 discus by Lafayette’s Jackie Wallace in 1981.
On the boys’ side, records are held by Ferguson’s Ronald Ray in the 400 meters (45.80 in 1972, converted from yards), Menchville’s Keith Moffatt in the high jump (7-3 in 2002), Denbigh’s Chauncey Rogers in the long jump (25-4 in 1997) and Phoebus’ Alonzo Moore in the triple jump (51-2¼ in 2001).
A DIFFERENT YEAR
Bethel won the boys 1,600-meter relay last year, running 3:20.27. That time would have placed seventh this year as the first six teams broke 3:20.
Bethel improved to 3:18.39 this year, but finished behind Western Branch and Deep Creek. Bethel’s team included Austin Cuffee, Javell Bullard, Ryan Walker and Sherrard Marrow.
STEPPING UP, PART I
Because there are more than eight teams entered in relays, the events are run in sections. Theoretically, the final heat contains the best (and fastest) teams. That’s why Woodside’s fifth place finish in the girls’ 400-meter relay was impressive.
The Wolverines were in the second of three heats and had the 15th-best time coming into the meet. But the team of Tania Minkins, Dominique Jordan, Kiara Arrington and Denyse Moore ran 48.38 to win their heat and finish fifth overall. Deep Creek won the race, running 45.95.
STEPPING UP, PART II
Woodside freshman Brandon Burton won his heat in the boys 800-meters, running 1:57.75 to finish 10th overall. He ran in the first of three heats, a heat consisting of the runners with the slowest qualifying times.
That impressed his coach, Derrell Johnson.
“We’re very excited about him,” said Johnson. “He did exactly what we asked him to do.”
That was to hang near the leaders through the first 500 meters, then make his break.
“He didn’t let the first guy get too far in front of him,” said Johnson.
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