Postponed State Track Events Will Be Finished Wednesday

Posted: June 7, 2016
By ROB NIEDZWIECKI
The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Group 4A and Group 3A state track and field meets will be completed after all, but because some athletes made other plans don’t expect to see as many people as you saw listed in the pre-meet program when it resumes.

The Virginia High School League announced on Monday that the Group 4A and 3A competitions will be completed on Wednesday starting at 2:30 p.m. at Harrisonburg High School.

Meet officials decided on Saturday to end the meet at about 5:15 p.m. after a delay of two hours and 30 minutes because lightning was in the forecast for the rest of the evening. The last event that took place that day was the Group 3A girls’ 800 meters.

On Saturday, 4A/3A meet director Joe Curcio said the rest of the meet had been cancelled and that there would be no team state champions unless clear-cut winners could be determined. But in a phone interview on Monday, Shawn Knight, the VHSL assistant director for athletics who is in charge of outdoor state track, said Curcio should not have indicated that the meet would not be completed.

“[Curcio] was not in a position to determine what would happen with the rest of the meet going forward,” Knight said. “It was never our intention to not complete the meet.”

The Group 4A boys’ high jump — which was started but not finished — and the Group 4A girls’ 800 will lead things off on Wednesday.

The only other events that will need to be completed after that are the 3A and 4A boys 800s, and the 200s and the 4x400s for all divisions.

Only a handful of local athletes were slated to compete in the remaining events in Group 4A.

Millbrook coach Kevin Shirk said senior Tyler Cox-Philyaw (800 meters) and the boys’ 4x400 team plan on competing. Sherando coach Tom Grim — who announced on Saturday he is stepping down after 17 seasons as Sherando’s track coach — said senior Thomas Shea is ill but he plans on competing in the 800.

However, two other Warriors who are eligible to compete will not.

Sherando junior Davina Lane — who won the 100-meter hurdles and the 300-hurdles — qualified for the 200 finals with the fourth-fastest time in the preliminaries on Friday, but she is in Colorado.

Sherando senior Trevor Whiteside — the No. 2 seed in the 800 — is in Virginia Beach. In a phone interview, Whiteside said it would be possible for him to come back to run in the state meet, but that would disrupt his training for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., from June 17-19.

Whiteside said if the VHSL had announced makeup plans on Saturday before he left for Virginia Beach that it planned on continuing the meet on Wednesday, he might have made an attempt to run in the state meet.

“I wish it hadn’t taken a couple of days to reschedule,” said Whiteside, who left for Virginia Beach on Sunday. “People made plans to go on vacation, some people have to work. I know the Curry twins [Madison and Brock of Fauquier, both entered in the 4A boys’ 800] won’t be able to be there.”

Grim said on Saturday it would have been better to move the meet schedule up to beat the storm, and he added on Monday that meet officials could have also tried to wait out the storm on Saturday night. He agreed with Whiteside in that an announcement about continuing the meet should have been made before Monday.

“If people had known sooner, they could have delayed their vacations or changed their plans,” Grim said.

Knight did say that Curcio made the right call as far as not trying to finish the meet on Saturday because of how poorly the forecast looked.

One thing the VHSL could do in the future is to have a predetermined date to finish a state track meet if it can’t be completed on its original date to avoid situations like Saturday’s, when Curcio indicated that the state meet would not be completed at a later date. Knight said on Monday that it would be difficult to do that though.

“Saturday was an unusual situation,” Knight said. “Setting up a track meet is not like setting up a basketball game, where you need three officials, or a football game, where you need seven. With track you’re talking upwards of 45-50 officials, so it would be difficult [to schedule people for a contingency plan]. A lot of people worked together to find a date to continue the meet, and Wednesday was the best option.”

Some people might have wanted to get the meet done on Saturday, and some people won’t be able to make it to Wednesday’s meet. But one thing that everyone can probably agree upon is that it’s better to have a state meet that finishes as opposed to one that doesn’t.

“We fully intended on finishing the meet,” Knight said. “A lot of high school athletes have worked hard all year to get to the state meet, and we didn’t want to take the opportunity to compete at the state meet away from them.”

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