Area track athletes prepped for VHSL Championships
Four local high schools will send athletes to this weekend’s VHSL Track and Field Championships.
George Washington will send eight to the Group 4A Championships at Harrisonburg High School. Dan River will send 10 to the Group 2A Championships at Radford University. The Chatham boys will send three individual qualifiers and a relay team, while the girls will send the 4×800-meter relay team to the 2A Championships. Gretna will send three boys and a 4×800 relay team, while the girls send one individual qualifier and a 4×400 relay team to the 2A meet.
G.W. sophomore Jamil Griffin goes to 4A Championships seeded 13th in the 100 dash preliminaries and 17th in the 200 dash preliminaries.
“It’s my second time going into states, and I did really well my freshman year,” he said. “I feel, really, more comfortable on my starts.”
Freshman Kuashuan Forest will also run in the 200 dash as the 22nd seed in the preliminaries.
“It means a lot to me,” Forest said. “I appreciate my coach and my teammates pushing me and helping me to work hard.”
Eagles coach Robert Marshall hopes the two runners set personal-best times.
“Every time you run, run faster than you did before,” Marshall said. “That’s the most we ask out of any athlete when they’re running.”
Griffin, Forest, Dequaraus Davis and Malik Clements qualified to run as the ninth seed in the 4×100 relay. Marshall said they may not run, as Clements has SATs on Friday. If they get the chance to run, however, Griffin expects the Eagles to run well.
G.W. girls freshman Ania Thomas is seeded third in the 100 hurdles at 15.06 seconds and seventh in the 300 hurdles at 46.25 seconds.
“I’m expecting her to be at least in the top four in the 300 hurdles and then between two and three in the 100 hurdles,” G.W. girls coach Keith Douglas said.
Douglas would like Thomas to concentrate a little more on her form. Douglas thinks Thomas has a lot of natural talent and that her height has helped her reach this stage as well.
Thomas, Moesha Kelly, Myesha Pierre and Adrieka Thomas will run the 4×400 relay as the 12th seed at 4:12.73.
“I would hope they could at least drop another couple seconds and go 4:10,” Douglas said.
2A Championships — Dan River
The Dan River boys send Terrell Edmunds to compete in the 200 and 400 dashes, as well as to run a leg in the 4×100 relay.
Edmunds, a state champion in the 400 last season, goes in as the top seed at 49.09 seconds. He won last year’s Group A state title in 49.56 seconds. He goes into the 200 with a top seed at 21.94 seconds.
“There’s a lot of competition in the state in 2A,” Edmunds said. “Hopefully I can do well and have a repeat from last year.”
Edmunds will join younger brother Tremaine Edmunds and teammates Curtis Stephens and Jaquon Durant to run the 4×100 relay this weekend. The Wildcats are seeded third at 43.92 seconds.
“We all have to be on point, and everybody just has to do their part,” Terrell Edmunds said.
Durant is the 16th seed in the 100 at 11.54 seconds, while Stephens is the 18th seed at 11.58 seconds.
Dan River’s 4×400 relay team goes is seeded at 3:42.93. Malcolm Ware is seeded seventh in the high jump at 6 feet.
The Dan River girls send Meagan Collins to run the 3200. She is seeded 12th at 13:55.08. Collins feels a little nervous going into the event but hopes to run a personal-best time.
“ My form is something that I’ve struggled with, and I’ve tried to work with that,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of speedwork lately to try to make my kick a little bit better.”
Wildcats girls coach Thomas Pounds is confident in Collins.
“Meagan is a real hard worker,” Pounds said. “She finished fourth in the region … She’s always stepped up for a challenge.”
Joslyn King, LeNesha McCain, Kendra Glass and Alysha Walker will run the 4×100 relay as the 16th seed at 53.82 seconds.
“We finished fifth in our region, and some of the top teams that we ran against are excellent,” Pounds said.
“We ran our best time of the year — 53.8 — but there were three teams that came in with a 51.”
2A Championships — Chatham
Chatham’s KwaJay Witcher is the sixth seed in the high jump at 6 feet, 2 inches, while Kwalee Witcher is the 12th seed at 5 feet, 10 inches.
“Like my coach said, I need to come out and bring some energy,” Kwalee Witcher said.
Both Witchers are looking for momentum from their high jump performance.
“If I come out and reach top few in the high jump, … I’ll be ready to run the 200 trials,” KwaJay Witcher said.
KwaJay Witcher is the fourth seed in Friday’s 200 trials at 22.53 seconds, not far from Edmunds. Witcher is second in the 400 at 50.22.
Kwalee Witcher is seeded second in the 300 hurdles at 41.32 seconds and 15th in the 110 hurdles in 16.66 seconds.
“I’ve just got to come out fast and get over the hurdle,” Witcher said of the 110 hurdles. “The 300, it’s my main race, so I’m just going to go out full speed and finish the race.”
Shyron Smith is the ninth seed in Friday’s long jump at 41 feet. The Cavaliers 4×400 relay team is seeded ninth at 3:38.03.
The Chatham girls 4×800 relay team is the 15th seed at 11:48.47.
2A Championships — Gretna
Gretna’s Santonio Witcher is seeded fifth in Friday’s long jump at 20 feet, 11 inches.
“Sprinting at the right amount for me to jump so I can get a farther measurement,” he said. “I’m just really putting my foot right on that line and getting a higher boost in the air and trying to go far in the sand.”
He is seeded eighth in the 110 hurdles at 16.11 seconds.
“The lower you go over the hurdle, the faster your time,” Witcher said. “I’m really just trying to attack the hurdle.”
Seth Short is seeded 10th in the 1600 at 4:53.59 and 17th in the 800 at 2:10, and Christian Glass is seeded 11th in the discus at 132 feet, 1 inch. The Hawks’ 4×800 relay team is seeded 21st at 9:22.92.
Gretna girls freshman Jayla Davis is seeded 11th in the 100 dash at 13.15 seconds and eighth in the high jump at 5 feet. She is also in the 200 dash. Gretna coach Larry Ferebee is confident Davis can medal in both dash events.
“I think she’s pushed herself,” Ferebee said. “She’s really determined to particularly do something strong in the 200.”
She goes into Friday’s 200 dash trials seeded sixth at 26.75 seconds. She wants to start well and hold a good pace.
“It took a lot of my energy out last week,” Davis said. “But I know that this week, I’ll probably push it the most.”
Ferebee said he and Davis focused on the last couple steps of her high-jump approach as of late.
Davis, Amber Mason, Caitlin Clement and Kieyona Logan will run the 4×400 relay.
“Normally our best [4×400] performance has come at the state meet,” Ferebee said. “The girls are super excited. All of them, it’s their first time at the state level — got a lot of young girls, no seniors there.”
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