Boys ABI Track Meet

By ROBERT NIEDZWIECKI | The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — After Sherando junior Isaiah Allen stepped into the shot put circle for his final throw of the day, the assembled crowd began a slow, rhythmic clap.

Allen went into his spin, and as he released the shot forward he let out a scream.

When the official announced his mark after the shot landed at the 50th annual H. Brian Landes Apple Blossom Track & Field Invitational at James Wood High School, the crowd had something else to clap about. Allen’s toss went 58 feet and 6 inches, the sixth time in six attempts that he broke his own school record on Saturday. Allen came into the meet with a top mark of 55-9.5, and he improved with his each throw Saturday.

Allen said the crowd also clapped for him prior to his last throw when he won at the Handley Invitational on April 14, and he added that it felt good to get that type of reception again.

“That’s extremely amazing that this community supports me enough to do that,” Allen said. “That definitely gets my adrenaline up and gets me hyped for that last throw — just to go out and give everything I got and show out for everybody.”

Allen’s performance in the shot put — he won by more than 10 feet and qualified for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals — was part of an impressive effort for the Warriors.

Sherando wasn’t able to field its ideal lineup because some of its athletes had to leave early to attend the school’s prom, but the Warriors still managed to finish in second place with 77 points, just 14.5 behind Loudoun County (91.5). Sherando junior T.J. Washington (triple jump) and senior Kyle Holliday (110 hurdles) also won events for the Warriors.

All five local schools placed in the top 10 of the 20-team meet. James Wood was fourth (64 points), Handley was fifth (59), Millbrook was eighth (32) and Clarke County was 10th (30.5). The Judges and the Pioneers also had to alter their lineups for their own schools’ respective proms.

Handley’s lineup had a particularly unique look, but not because of the prom. University of Virginia-bound senior and All-American high jumper Trey Causey only competed in track events on Saturday (he won the 100 meters, took second in the 200 and anchored the 4x100 team to second place) after he took third in the high jump at the Penn Relays on Friday. The Judges were also without a couple of their other top athletes for various reasons.

The meet’s Jim Casey Outstanding Performer award went to Loudoun County’s Evan Briscoe, who won the 200 (22.43 seconds), and long jump (21-3.25), took second in the 100 (11.21) and helped the Raiders set a meet record in the 4x100 (42.98).

As for the local outstanding performers, Sherando’s Allen was unsure for much of the week if he would have a day to remember on Saturday.

“I was working on a lot of technical stuff this week in practice, and I was having a bad week,” said Allen, whose personal record coming into Saturday came on April 12. “[On Friday], I ended practice with a decent throw, and it kind of boosted my spirits for today. It went about 52, 53 [feet]. It was a nice, easy throw, and I didn’t think it went that far. That just told me that when I came into today with some adrenaline, and kind of amped it up a little bit, I could probably get it out there a little bit more.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting a really good series of 57s and 58s, but I’m completely happy with that. A good week of hard work really showed out today.”

Allen had a throw of 58-3 in the preliminary round, and he also had another throw Saturday that exceeded 57 feet.

Allen had to settle for second in the discus (145-6, five inches behind Skyline’s Tucker Fortney), but that effort was still part of an impressive day for Sherando in the field events.

Washington won the triple jump by almost four feet with a mark of 45-8.25, and Washington took second in the long jump (21-2.5). Freshman Keli Lawson contributed a third-place finish in the triple jump (41-8.5) and sophomore Jabril Hayes was fourth in the long jump (20-3.75).

Holliday led Sherando’s effort on the track, recording a time of 15.99 seconds to beat runner-up Ethan Smith by 0.12.

Holliday said a strong headwind hurt his chances of running a PR (Holliday came in with a seed time of 15.79), but he was glad to win his first large invitational meet. He spent the first three years of his career chasing people like Cameron Faint, the former Millbrook star who is now at George Mason University, but he also learned from Faint, too.

“I just remember advice he’s given me,” he said. “A lot of people competitively better than me, I take advice from them to learn to get better, as well as my coaches and people who support me. My friends, family.

“I’ve had decent meets [this year]. I know I can run faster. It comes down to if the conditions are right.”

Also for Sherando, sophomore Ty Waits came in third in the 400 in 51.50.

The Warriors did not have a 4x400 team Saturday and might have entered people in different events if not for the prom, so Sherando coach Jaime McCarty was pleased.

“When you have the prom, you work around it,” McCarty said. “You move some kids, and you probably don’t run a couple of things that you would like to. But our guys showed up and performed really well in the events that we were in.

“Loudoun County’s a good team, and Handley was right behind us for most of the day. It’s always going to be a battle. Hopefully a performance like this will be a springboard for us into the postseason.”

James Wood moved ahead of Handley with its third third-place finish of the day in a relay event.

The 4x800 team (8:33.10) of Tyler Ostinato, Bryce Ratlief, Kevin Konyar and Jacksen Costa started things off, and the 4x100 team (44.61) of Drake Tews, Jackson Clyburn, Jeremiah Addison and William Crowder (third in the 200 in 23.12) followed. The 4x400 team (3:41.39) of Ostinato, Clyburn, Owen Emerson and Addison then gave the Colonels another six points.

“All the boys in the 4x8 went under 2:10 for the first time ever, so we’re really pleased with how they did there,” James Wood coach Mike Onda said.

The Colonels also received strong performances in the throwing events, as junior Chance Grove took third in the discus (137-10) and senior Dominic Revetta placed third in the shot put (47-5).

Handley’s Causey has made his biggest impact in the high jump during his career, but he set personal records to win the 100 in 11.13 and take second in the 200 in 22.82 on Saturday.

The circumstances surrounding both of those events showed that the work Causey is putting in on the track is paying off, and also showed his fortitude. Causey had a poor start in the 100, but recovered to run down Briscoe in the final 30 meters.

“I didn’t get the best start, but it felt pretty good since I was able to make it up and win it,” Causey said.

And before Causey learned what his time was in the 200, he assumed it wasn’t a great effort because of how tired he was after getting in at midnight on Friday night from his trip to Philadelphia.

Causey also helped the 4x100 team that included Kobi Vance, Jayden Vardaro and Miles Ashe to a time of 44.05 in taking second.

Handley was also led on Saturday by senior John Delaney (second in the 1,600, 4:29.01), junior Cooper Dawson (third in the long jump, 20-5.75) and sophomore Quinten Newman, who improved on his seed mark of 42-9 to set a personal record of 48-2.5 and place second.

Also on Saturday, Handley’s Jack Armel tied for seventh in the pole vault with an 11-6 at the Cassel’s XBC Track Experience in Chantilly.

Millbrook was paced by its 4x400 team of Brad Hambrick, John Pullen, Dylan Wallace and Christopher Simonelli (second in 8:28.14).

“I was thrilled with the boys 4x8, because we weren’t quite sure what they could do coming in,” Millbrook coach Kevin Shirk said. “Basically everyone of them ran as well as I could have expected. John split a 2:01, and he’s never ran faster than a 2:07. They got a regional qualifier, which was our goal, and they got that by about 10 seconds.”

Millbrook was also led by David Blackstone. The senior took third in the 110 hurdles in 16.39 and might have won the 300 hurdles had he not clipped a hurdle on the final straightaway. He settled for second in 41.47, just 0.07 behind Woodgrove’s Bill Zach. Blackstone was also seventh in the triple jump (40-6) and eighth in the long jump (19-2.25).

Clarke County had three fifth-place finishes — freshman Samuel Brumback (high jump, 6-0), senior Rico Nappi (shot put, 44-9.5) and junior Nick Dawson (800, 2:05.86).

— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Follow on Twitter @WinStarSports1

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