Conference 21 Track & Field

Posted: May 21, 2015

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — When James Wood coach Matt Stegmaier looked at the performance list for the Conference 21 track and field meet, he admitted he had some concerns about the marks and times of Loudoun County.

The good thing is that his athletes never seem to be intimidated by what other schools are doing. They’re too busy pushing each other and supporting each other to be the best they can be every day, and on Wednesday, their depth and determination pushed the Colonels to the top.

James Wood scored 135 points to win the Conference 21 girls’ title by more than 13 points over runner-up Loudoun County (121.833) in an eight-team meet at Millbrook High School.

“Coming in, we thought we had a shot [to win],” Stegamaier said. “But when we looked at the performance list we thought that on paper, we should get our butts handed to us by Loudoun County.

“But like we always say, ‘don’t worry about the rankings and the numbers and all that kind of stuff,’ and that showed today. The girls stepped up and performed all over. Before we broke for practice [Tuesday] we told them they’ve got to fight, kick, scratch, whatever it is they’ve got to do, and they performed fantastic.”

James Wood won four individual events and achieved numerous other top finishes to improve on last year’s third-place performance in the inaugural Conference 21 meet.

Rene Rosso had the biggest individual highlight for the Colonels. The freshman won the triple jump with a mark of 36 feet, 4 inches to break the school record of 36-31/4 that had stood since 1993. Senior Sarah Johnson (discus, 118-6), junior Grace Greene (shot put, 35-3) and the 4x100-meter relay team of Kara Norman, Princess Sales, Becca Ferrulli and Jamie Marcy (50.78) also won for James Wood.

Sherando placed third with 83.33 points in large part because of a stellar performance by sophomore Davina Lane, who defended her Conference 21 titles in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 200 dash and set season bests in each event (including breaking her own school record in the 110 hurdles). Millbrook placed fifth with 71 points.

Loudoun County won the boys’ meet with 173 points. Millbrook took second with 130, Sherando took third with 102, and James Wood placed fifth with 46.

As the James Wood girls posed for pictures after the meet with the team trophy, Stegmaier clapped his hands and yelled, “We did it! We did it!” and Johnson said Stegmaier’s message Tuesday definitely had the Colonels fired up to make it happen.

“We’re all so different, but we all push each other to do better,” said Johnson, who also took third in the shot put (33-0) behind Greene, who took third in the discus (116-2) behind Johnson. “It gets competitive, but we want each other to improve. We’ve really improved a lot since the beginning of the season.”

Even though James Wood’s strength is in the field, the Colonels definitely got the job done on the track Wednesday.

The 4x100 team broke its own school record, the 4x400 team of Ferrulli, Rosso, Marcy and Kayla Shaffer placed second (4:24.78), and the 4x800 team of Sophia Dorsey, Halle Esparza, Lydia Sunderlin and Maria Harter placed third in 10:27.

Stegmaier also gave a lot of credit to Sales for setting two personal bests in placing fourth in the 100 (13.11) and fifth in the 200 (27.17). Ferrulli placed third in the 400 (1:03.34) in addition to taking third in the triple jump (33-4).

As for Rosso, she stood out everywhere. She took second in the 300 hurdles (48.12), third in the 100 hurdles (16.04), third in the long jump (16-43/4) and fourth in the high jump (4-11) before closing out her day with the school-record triple jump.

Rosso was in second place before hitting her 36-4 on her last jump, and Stegmaier said she did that despite a stutter-step.

“I’ve done more than I expected this year,” Rosso said. “That jump gives me a lot of confidence, because I’ve been trying to get a [state-qualifying] jump.”

It was hard to imagine Lane topping what she did last year, but she went out hard in each of her races to blow away the competition.

Lane started with a 15.18 in the 100 hurdles to beat Millbrook’s McKenzie Schrank (15.89), followed with a 45.68 in the 300 hurdles to beat Rosso by 2.46 seconds (.04 off her school record from last year), then won the 200 by 1.29 seconds over teammate Ania Summers (26.93) with a 25.64 that was just 0.17 off the school record set in 2006.

After finishing the 200, Lane remarked, ‘Did you see me fall at the end?’ but that was the only thing that went wrong on a day in which Sherando coaches high-fived her repeatedly.

“I was really close to PRing at the [Millbrook] Last Chance,” said Lane, referencing the meet held May 8. “I was like today, ‘I’m going to PR. It’s going to happen.

“I was really excited about what I did in the 100 hurdles, and that got me excited for the rest for the day. [Defending my titles] let’s me know I’m still on top, and I haven’t gone anywhere.”

Other top performances for the Sherando girls came from Summers in the 100 (13.07), Katie Rogers in the 800 (2:26.94) and Paige Conner in the 3,200 (12:09.07).

The senior Schrank had an outstanding day for the Pioneers. Her performance in the 100 hurdles was a season best and one of the best of her career according to Millbrook coach Kevin Shirk, and she still took third in the 300 hurdles in a solid 49.81 even though she didn’t have much rest following her impressive winning performance in the 400 (1:01.91).

Also for Millbrook, Mia VanderToorn placed second in the long jump (16-111/4).

Shirk said he thought the Millbrook boys had an outside chance at the title, but he wasn’t disappointed by what his team did by any means.

Junior Tyler Cox-Philyaw won the 1,600 (4:19.66) and the 800 (1:58.25), sophomore Alec Schrank won the 3,200 (9:56.97) and took third in the 1,600 (4:23.43), Cameron Faint won the 300 hurdles (41.94) and took second in the 110 hurdles (16.22), Austin Devart won the 110 hurdles (16.00), Andrew Smith placed third in the 300 hurdles (43.02), the 4x100 team took second (44.86), Tyler Russell placed third in the shot put (43-9) and the 4x400 team took third (3:35.85).

“We had guys who ran well in their wins, but we also had guys step up and score some unexpected points here and there,” Shirk said. “We had guys in the discus who scored unexpected points. Those sixth- and seventh-place points add up.”

Cox-Philyaw didn’t record any season bests Wednesday, but he did accomplish his goal of scoring as many points as he could for his team.

Cox-Philyaw said he established a fast early pace in the 1,600 in hopes of forcing Sherando’s Trevor Whiteside to go out hard as well, because Cox-Philyaw wanted to tire out Whiteside in the 800.

Cox-Philyaw and Whiteside are Group 4A’s No. 1- and No. 2-ranked runners in the 800, and Whiteside nearly beat Cox-Philyaw at a meet held at Fauquier on May 1 (1:54.57 to 1:54.60).

Cox-Philyaw was able to beat Whiteside (1:59.59) by 1.34 second in the 800 Wednesday, and was comfortably ahead for most of the final lap.

“I was concerned he was on my shoulder, and when I came to the 400 Shirk was like, ‘Go now, go now,’” Cox-Philyaw said. “My body took over and surged right there.

“I’m glad I have him as my competition. It’s definitely a blessing.”

Whiteside also took second to Cox-Philyaw in the 1,600 (4:20.47), and he also ran a leg on the Sherando 4x400 team that won in 3:30.64. (David Restrepo, Tim Coleman and Jahlil Northover also ran on the relay.)

Also for Sherando, Trent McCarty won both the shot put (46-01/2) and the discus (135-10), Jacquari Hayes won the long jump (20-11) and took third in the triple jump (40-11), Jonah Pearson took second in the 3,200 (10:08.03), and the 4x800 team took third (8:31.54).

For James Wood, Landon Rutherford placed second in the shot put (45-2), Andrew Shade placed third in the 800 (2:00.8) and Max Lindquist placed third in the 3,200 (10:09.07).

The top six individuals and top three relays in each event Wednesday — as well as those meeting region standards — automatically advance to the 4A North Region meet on May 28 at Woodgrove.


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