Boys' - Apple Blossom Track & Field Invitational

Posted: April 25, 2016
By ROBERT NIEDZWIECKI
The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — It was a frequent site at the end of the meet — girl puts slip of paper with the latest results on a clipboard attached to a pole by the finish line, Millbrook senior Tyler Cox-Philyaw walks over and inspects them.

The Pioneers might not have necessarily made it a plan to win Saturday’s 48th H. Brian Landes Apple Blossom Track & Field Invitational at James Wood High School’s Kelican Stadium, but they were determined to do so once they realized how good their chances were of doing so.

Millbrook captured the boys’ meet for the first time in the school’s 13-year history on Saturday, scoring 64 points to outdistance runners-up St. Albans (D.C.) and John Champe (49 points each) in the 20-team competition. Sherando was fifth with 44 points, James Wood was 11th with 23, Handley was 12th with 18, and Clarke County tied for 16th with 4.

“It was an amazing effort by the team,” said Cox-Philyaw, who won the 800 meters in 1:59.86. “I don’t think we’ve won an invitational for at least three years, so it’s really special. I was continuously updating teammates on scores the entire meet.

“We’re definitely a lot deeper than in the past and we have a lot of upperclassmen who are stepping up like Josh [Davis] and Cameron [Faint]. They’ve improved a lot.”

The junior Faint was the only local boy to win two individual events on Saturday, taking the 110 hurdles in 15.27 to win by 0.11 and the 300 hurdles in 41.19 to win by 1.26 seconds.

Faint, Cox-Philyaw and the junior Davis (fifth in the 200 in 23.66) teamed with junior Alec Schrank (third in the 1,600 in 4:32.60 and third in the 800 in 2:03.68) to take second in the 4x400 (3:30.77).

Faint led a strong performance from Millbrook in the hurdles, as Andrew Smith took second in the 300s (42.45) and Austin Devart placed fourth in the 110s (15.75).

“We saw the performance list, and we knew we had a shot [at winning],” Millbrook coach Kevin Shirk said. “We set it as a goal once we saw where we stacked up. I’m very happy to see them pull it off. We had some really nice performances today, especially in the hurdles.”

Faint — who has already qualified for states in both hurdles events — said his success this year has been aided by the extra work he’s put in after not doing indoor track last year, as well as the presence of his teammates.

“We have a lot of good hurdlers at Millbrook,” said Faint just after the 300 hurdles, where his strong start helped him make up the stagger and take first well before he hit the curve. “Every day at practice they keep pushing you, you push them, and they help you get better while you’re helping them.”

Though Cox-Philyaw won the 800 comfortably on Saturday — Handley senior Aaron Arslan took second in 2:03.58, 3.72 seconds behind him — he’s still working his way back into shape. Cox-Philyaw didn’t make his season meet debut until Wednesday, and Saturday was the first time the 2014 1,600 outdoor state champion and 2016 indoor 1,600 and 3,200 state champion ran a race longer than 400 meters.

Cox-Philyaw said the inside of his right knee began bothering him a month ago, and after rest failed to make his knee any better a physical trainer told him he had patellofemoral syndrome. Because his right knee cap was no longer properly aligned, he was suffering pain. But after working on strengthening his knee and his quad muscle, his kneecap is back in proper alignment and he’s feeling better.

Basically, Cox-Philyaw used Saturday’s meet to gauge where he’s at fitness-wise. He was accepted to run in the Penn Relays later this week, but Saturday showed him he still has work to do, so he won’t compete in it. For example, Cox-Philyaw’s best 800 time last year was a 1:54.57.

“I just want to get an aerobic base again,” said Cox-Philyaw, who hopes to run the 1,600 within the next two weeks. “It’d be nice to get a little more tempo stuff in. I still think I can do really good things the rest of the year.”

If not for the prom, Sherando might have challenged Millbrook for the meet title. For example, early in the day junior Jacquari Hayes won the long jump with a season-best 21-2¾ and took third in the 100 (11.47), and senior Trevor Whiteside won the 1,600 (4:25.62).

But because those two were among the contingent who left early, Hayes couldn’t do the triple jump (he’s jumped nearly two feet farther than Saturday’s winning jump) and Whiteside — the area’s top-ranked 800 runner and No. 3 3,200 runner — couldn’t do a second individual event.

“We had some kids who sometimes don’t have a chance to compete who did a good job,” Sherando coach Tom Grim said. “I liked the effort that we had.

“Jacquari’s doing a great job. We’re starting to tweak a few things as far as his [jumping] approach and some of the technique that we’re using, and he’s all in. He’s ready. He wants to do well this year. Trevor had a good day. He wanted to run a little better, but it was a little windy for that.”

Sherando was also by led freshman Isaiah Allen in the shot put (second, 49-8).

James Wood was led by its 4x800 team of Jace Chipman, Jacksen Costa, Max Lindquist and Tyler Ostinato (second in 8:42.58), Lindquist in the 3,200 (third in 10:14.46) and Donte Henry in the triple jump (third in 40-4 ½).

Handley was paced by sophomore John Delaney, who won the 3,200 in a personal-best 9:54.30.

Delaney, Loudoun Valley’s Jacob Hunter, and Lindquist all ran together for the first 1,900 meters, but on the final straightaway of the fifth lap Delaney surged to the front and took a 10-meter lead heading into the sixth lap, which is when he really planned on pushing the pace.

“I knew there was a move coming in the sixth [from me],” Delaney said. “I was going to take the lead in the sixth, and I didn’t plan on letting it go. I wanted to break [the competition] if I could.”

Delaney opened up his lead from 10 to 20 meters after six laps, and he maintained that 20-meter lead through seven. But on the eighth lap Hunter began to close in, and he made a furious push over the final 100 meters to catch Delaney. It wasn’t enough though, as Delaney held on to win by 0.44 and improve his season-best by 11 seconds.

“I could tell by the reaction of the crowd [he was gaining],” said Delaney, who had never won an large-invitational race before Saturday. “I just thought, ‘Push it. Don’t put in all this work to lose.’ ”

Clarke County was led by Andy Bonett, who took fourth in the triple jump (40-3).

Greencastle-Antrim (Pa.) junior Campbell Parker won Jim Casey Most Outstanding Performer award by winning the shot put (51-8) and discus (176-0). In the discus, Parker broke Pro Football Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden’s meet record of 171-10 that he set at St. Albans in 1992.

— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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