State Track Preview: Girls Hope To End Title Drought

Posted: June 3, 2016
By ROBERT NIEDZWIECKI
The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — It’s been three years since a local girl won a state title in outdoor track and field, but the three girls who won 4A West Region titles last week all have an excellent chance of ending that brief drought this weekend.

The Group 4A state meet will take place today (5 p.m. start) and Saturday (9:30 a.m.) at Harrisonburg High School. The Group 2A state meet at Radford University will also be competed over the next two days (1 p.m. today, 8:30 a.m. Saturday).

Taking place today in Group 4A are the girls’ discus and high jump, the boys’ shot put and pole vault, and for both genders, the triple jump, 4x800-meter relay and preliminaries for the 100, 200 and 100/110 hurdles. All other events will take place Saturday.

In Group 4A, Sherando junior Davina Lane (100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles, 200), James Wood senior Grace Greene (discus and shot put) and Handley freshman Taylor Beard (high jump) combined to win six regional titles last week, and all have a legitimate chance at giving the area its first local girls’ state title since 2013, when University of Maryland standout Lisa Meneau won both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles for Handley in her senior year.

Lane is the top seed in both the 100 hurdles (14.75) and 300 hurdles (43.91). A year ago, Lane placed fifth in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the 100 hurdles.

In the 100 hurdles, Rock Ridge’s Ashlyn Nolan — whom Lane has routinely defeated this season, including last week by 0.38 at the region meet at Freedom (South Riding) High School — is the No. 2 seed (14.98). East Region champion Taylor Robinson of Louisa County (15.00) is seeded third, and West Region runner-up Rene Rosso of James Wood (15.27), a sophomore, is seeded fifth.

Based on seed time, Lane is a huge favorite in the 300 hurdles. Lane’s season-best is 43.91 seconds, while No. 2 seed and East Region champion Amari Jackson of Woodrow Wilson’s top time is 2.68 seconds worse (46.59). Rosso, who ran her best time of the year to take second to Lane last week at regionals with a 47.35 (Lane ran a 45.91) is the No. 9 seed.

Lane, who placed sixth in the 200 last year, is seeded fifth (25.45), 0.45 behind East champion DaJah Parker-Love of Churchland.

James Wood’s Greene is the No. 2 seed in the discus (123-4), but she defeated the No. 1 seed, Jesslyn Manni of Loudoun County (128-4 seed mark) at the region meet last week. Greene threw 123-4 to tie her season best, while Manni was third with a 117-0. Greene recorded a career-best 124-11 at last year’s state meet — also at Harrisonburg — to place fifth.

Greene — who also took fifth in the state in the shot put last year — is the No. 5 seed (36-11). But she beat the No. 1 seed in that event last week too. Fauquier’s Unique London (40-0) threw a 36-2.5 to take second to Greene’s 36-11, which is a career best.

Handley’s Beard is looking to add the outdoor state title to her collection after winning the Group 4A state indoor title this year with a mark of 5-3.

The top-seeded Beard is the only person in Group 4A to jump as high as 5-5 this spring, doing so at the Apple Blossom Invitational at James Wood in April. Beard won the region title last week with a 5-4 in her first high jump competition since injuring her ankle on May 4. With an eye on making sure she’s healthy for the state meet, Beard did not take any attempts at 5-5 last week.

Two girls are tied for second in the seedings with 5-4 marks — Rosso and Skyla Richardson of Heritage (Leesburg). Each jumped 5-0 last week at Freedom.

In addition to the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump, Rosso will also compete this weekend in the triple jump (No. 3 seed, 37-0.5; Caroline’s Alantra Mines is seeded first with a 39-5) and the long jump (seeded 14th with a 17-0.25).

Other local 4A girls’ state qualifiers are: Millbrook — Lindsay Lockhart (discus, No. 5 seed, 116-9); Ali Devart (high jump, tied for No. 5, 5-2), the 4x800 team (No. 7, 9:54.73), Kaycee Cox-Philyaw (3,200, No. 15, 11:42.13) and Nadia Dahimene (3,200, No. 17, 11:43.91); Sherando — Donzailya Berg (high jump, tied for No. 5, 5-2), Olivia Couillard (3,200, No. 13, 11:37.02), Allison Combs (discus, No. 13, 107-4) and Cana Curtis (discus, No. 15, 106-4); James Wood — 4x100 team (No. 11, 50.56), Emma Hammond (triple jump, No. 12, 35-9.25; high jump, tied for No. 23, 4-11) and Hannah Cavanaugh (discus, No. 12, 108-7); Handley — Mya Mintschenko (high jump, tied for No. 11, 5-0).

There aren’t any No. 1 seeds among the local Group 4A boys this weekend, but there’s plenty of state championship experience.

Distance standouts and seniors Tyler Cox-Philyaw of Millbrook (headed to William & Mary) and Trevor Whiteside of Sherando (Air Force) will look to end their decorated careers in style. Cox-Philyaw won the outdoor 1,600 state title as a sophomore. At this year’s indoor state meet, Cox-Philyaw won the 1,600 and 3.200, while Whiteside won the 1,000.

Whiteside said last week he thought he might focus on the 800 and 4x800 at the state meet, but he and Cox-Philyaw are entered in both the 800 and 1,600. Cox-Philyaw was fourth in both events last year, and Whiteside was second in the 800.

In the 800, Whiteside is seeded second with a 1:51.95, three seconds behind Loudoun Valley cross country star Andrew Hunter (1:48.64). Cox-Philyaw is seeded ninth with a 1:56.78.

Hunter — the Group 3A state champion in the 1,600 last year — is not entered in the 1,600 though. (In addition to the 800, Hunter is also doing the 3,200, where he‘s the top seed by 39 seconds.)

So while Hunter will be the heavy favorite in the 3,200, the 1,600 could go to anybody based on seed time.

Lafayette’s Konrad Steck — who won the 4A East Region title last week with a 4:17.34 — is also choosing to run the 800 and 3,200, leaving Midlothian’s Randy Hahn (4:18.22) as the top seed.

Whiteside is seeded second after running a career-best 4:18.45 to win the 4A West Region title last week.

Cox-Philyaw — who has battled injuries all spring — did not run the 1,600 at regionals last week. But in his only 1,600 of the spring, the No. 3 seed beat Whiteside at the Conference 21 West meet with a 4:18.84, a time that could have been faster had he elected not to shut himself down over the final 100 meters to conserve energy.

And not to be overlooked is Millbrook junior Alec Schrank, who is seeded fourth with a 4:19.64. (Schrank is also seeded second in the 3,200 behind Hunter with a 9:22.25.)

The only other local region champion besides Whiteside last week was Millbrook junior Cameron Faint, who won the 300 hurdles. Faint is seeded fourth in that event with a 39.57, 0.90 behind No. 1 seed and East Region champion Josh Rominger of Midlothian (38.67). Faint is also entered in the 110 hurdles (No. 14, 15.17).

Sherando freshman Isaiah Allen is the No. 2 seed in the shot put (51-1.5), but East champion Ben Beatty of Courtland has a top mark of 62-9.

Other local 4A boys’ state qualifiers are: Sherando — 4x800 team (No. 4 seed, 8:09.10), Jacquari Hayes (long jump, No. 9, 21-10; triple jump, No. 13, 44-3.5); Thomas Shea (800, No. 11, 1:57.43; 3,200, No. 20, 10:00.35), Alex Martinez (discus, No. 12, 134-1) and David Restrepo (300 hurdles, No. 14, 42.02); Handley — Trey Causey (high jump, tied for No. 12, 6-0), John Delaney (3,200, No. 13, 9:54.30); Millbrook — Austin Devart (300 hurdles, No. 15, 42.04; 110 hurdles, No. 16, 15.33), Antwon Rodgers (long jump, No. 16, 21-7.5), 4x400 team (No. 17, 3:30.07) and 4x100 team (No. 20, 44.69); James Wood — Chris Vitagliano (long jump, No. 8, 21-10.75) and Max Lindquist (3,200, No. 16, 9:58.48).

Events that will take place today in the Group 2A meet are the boys’ shot put and high jump, the girls’ discus and pole vault, and for both genders, the long jump, 4x800 and preliminaries for the 100, 200 and 100/110 hurdles. All other events will take place Saturday.

Clarke County boys’ state qualifiers are: Michael Dietz (800, No. 4 seed, 2:03.36), Andy Bonnett (triple jump, No. 5, 42-11); Nicholas Dawson (1,600, No. 10, 4:42.11), 4x400 team (No. 12, 3:40.45), 4x800 team (No. 13, 8:58.87) and 4x100 team (No. 17, 45.56).

Eagle girls’ state qualifiers are: 4x800 team (No. 3, 10:33.06), Madison Webster (3,200, No. 5, 12:04.43; 1,600, No. 10, 5:37.76), Skylar Bragg (1,600, No. 6, 5:34.33; 3,200, No. 7, 12:06.48), 4x400 team (No. 6, 4:25.73); Madison McLean (400, No. 8, 1:03.21; high jump, tied for No. 12, 4-11), Stephanie Miller (800, No. 13, 2:32.21) and Allegra Eyles (high jump, tied for No. 14, 4-10).

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