Greene, Rosso Lead James Wood To Girls' Team Championship

Posted: April 25, 2016
The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — After suffering their first loss in five meets this year on April 15 at the Wolverine Classic at Woodgrove High School, on Saturday the James Wood girls’ track and field team faced the difficult task of trying to get back on the winning track without two of its best athletes.

While the Colonels might have been shorthanded as a team, they had the benefit of having a little extra motivation to succeed on Saturday.

“I think this meet is a very special one to me and all of the James Wood athletes,” Colonels senior thrower Grace Greene said.

The Colonels definitely proved that on Saturday at their Kelican Stadium home with a dominating performance.

For the first time in at least 25 years, James Wood won its H. Brian Landes Apple Blossom Invitational, now in its 48th year. The Colonels scored 84 points to top the 20-team field by 39 points. Sherando and Rock Ridge tied for second with 45 points, Handley was ninth with 23, Millbrook was 14th with 13 and Clarke County was 18th with 8.5.

There were a lot of spectacular local individual performances on Saturday — Sherando junior Davina Lane won two events and set one meet record (in the 100-meter hurdles) and one school record (in the 100), and Handley freshman Taylor Beard tied a meet record to win the high jump — but no team put everything together like James Wood.

Greene won the Jim Casey Most Outstanding Performer award by winning the discus with a season-best mark of 123 feet, 4 inches and the shot put with a mark of 36-9½, just a half inch off her season-best.

Sophomore Rene Rosso placed in the top three in five events — the long jump (second, 16-8 ½), the triple jump (second, 34-7), the 300 hurdles (second, 47.81), the high jump (third, 5-1) and the 100 hurdles (third, 15.59).

The 4x100 team of Sophia Addison, Jamie Marcy, Kara Norman and Princess Sales dusted the field by 0.87 seconds and won with the second-fastest time in school history (51.15). It was performances like that one that so impressed James Wood coach Matt Stegmaier.

Marcy was subbing in for injured senior Becca Ferrulli, who also doubles as one of the area’s best jumpers (ranked second in the area in the triple jump). On Saturday James Wood didn’t have Ferrulli — who injured her hamstring at Woodgrove — or one of their other elite jumpers in Emma Hammond (ranked third in the area in the triple jump), who was been out since experiencing leg pain the day after the Ram Country Invitational at Strasburg on April 2.

“The kids that are supposed to perform came out and performed,” Stegmaier said. “And we had kids step up. Without Emma and Becca, that hurts us. To win the meet with the spread that we had between first and second, that’s nice to see. The girls that we needed to step up really stepped up.”

In addition to Marcy, Stegmaier raved about junior Hannah Cavanagh (second in the shot put, 34-9, and fifth in the discus, 104-9) and freshman Sara Solomon (third in the triple jump, 32-4), who improved on her seed mark by two-and-a-half feet.

In Greene, Cavanagh certainly has someone to set a high standard for her.

Greene — who earned all-state honors in both the shot put and discus last year — continued to take ownership of the ABI. Last year she won the shot put and took second in the discus to 2015 James Wood graduate Sarah Johnson, and this year she led most of the way in winning both competitions.

“Grace is a great model for the rest of the girls, and even the guys,” Stegmaier said. “You’re at your home, this is your house, and you should perform. [The throwers] always consistently do that here, and Grace deserves [the Jim Casey award].”

Greene said “this means everything” after receiving the Jim Casey award because of how hard she’s worked.

“I love throwing here,” Greene said. “It feels great to come out and win both, and have Hannah come in second. Even though we lost Sarah, it’s nice to have someone else who can push me. Sometimes she’ll out-throw me in practice. [Overall] I feel a lot more confident in myself this year compared to this point last year, and I’ve been more consistent.

“And it was great to see the team win. I think we came in knowing we could do it, and we knew what we had to do. This year the girls are all very close — the boys too — and that helps. We push each other and cheer for each other, and I’m very excited for conference, regions and states.”

Sherando’s Lane seems to be on track for yet another big postseason after her performance on Saturday.

Lane showed immediately on Saturday that she’s a lot further along than she was at this time last year in winning the 100 hurdles. Last year she didn’t break 15 seconds until the state meet, but she recorded a time of 14.99 on Saturday to break the record of 15.07 set by former Handley star Lisa Meneau — now competing as a junior at the University of Maryland — in 2013.

In winning, Lane defeated Rock Ridge’s Ashlyn Nolan by 0.07. Lane caught Nolan at the seventh of 10 hurdles, then finished strong. Lane lost to Nolan at both the Handley Invitational (by 1.11 seconds) and ABI (0.28) last year, but she’s now beaten Nolan twice in two weeks after defeating her by 0.12 at Woodgrove.

“I love running with her, because we both push each other,” said Lane, who was determined to win at least one event after not winning any at last year‘s ABI. “But I knew I could beat her. I feel like I’m further ahead than last year, because I haven’t ran my main events in many of my meets so far. I ran [the 300 hurdles] for the first time at the Wolverine Classic and I was so close to my PR (44.63, just 0.04 off her best from last year), so that’s great for me.”

Lane followed up by taking third in the 100 in school-record time of 12.63, breaking the previous mark of 12.74, to take third. The main reason Lane did that event instead of the 200 — which is one of the last events in track — was so she could leave early to go to Sherando’s prom.

The only thing is, Lane’s mom wouldn’t let her leave without running the 300 hurdles. Lane actually made those aforementioned comments before she ran them because of her plans to leave early, and she had a bit of a perturbed look on the infield as she prepared for the 300 hurdles.

Lane’s form fell off a bit for the last couple of hurdles, but she still recorded a winning time of 47.25 seconds, 0.56 ahead of Wood’s Rosso. Lane came off the track saying, ‘Ugliest race ever” but she did say that it was good for her to get the experience of another 300 hurdles under her belt.

“I’m actually going to thank [my mom] for making me do it,” Lane said. “I needed it.”

Sherando was also led by freshman Olivia Couillard, who took second in the 3,200 (11:57.66).

Lane was the only girl to break a meet record on Saturday, but Handley freshman Taylor Beard continued her incredible freshman year by tying the meet record of 5-5 in the high jump. Beard now shares the mark with Thomas Johnson’s Kendall Bolte (2001) and James Wood’s Anna Maskell (2002).

Beard is no stranger to success. She captured the Group 4A indoor state high jump title with a mark of 5-3, which was also her best mark in middle school.

Beard took up track in seventh grade because of how well she jumped playing basketball, but she didn’t expect to have so much success so soon at the high school level.

“I just thought I’ll do it, and I’ll see how it goes,” Beard said. “It gave me confidence to win states, but I don’t really think about winning. I just try to get better, and I’m glad I’m getting better.”

Beard jumped a season-best 5-4 in a dual meet with Warren County on Wednesday before winning on Saturday. Only three people cleared 5-0 on Saturday, and the high jump officials moved the bar an inch up at a time at that point. Beard was the only person to clear 5-3, so the bar was moved to 5-5, and she got that on her second attempt.

Beard also demonstrated strong improvement in the long jump as well, improving her seed mark by 10 inches to take third place with a 15-10.

“She’s obviously very talented,” Handley coach Mike McKiernan said. “She’s still unrefined and can get stronger physically, but what’s beautiful is that she really wants to learn. She’s very coachable and really tries to take the advice that we give her. She’s very relaxed, very happy-go-lucky at practice. She has a wonderful attitude. What’s exciting is that there’s still room to improve with her.”

Millbrook was led by its winning 4x800 team of Kaycee Cox-Philyaw, Hannah Croyle, Mellany Groll and Nadia Dahimene, who recorded a time of 10:11.81 to win by five seconds.

Clarke County was led by Allegra Eyles, who took fourth in the high jump (4-9), and Skylar Bragg, who took fourth in the 3,200 (12:06.48).

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