Parkersburg boys and Jefferson girls end track season with Class AAA titles
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After rain was the theme of the first two days of the state track and field competition, the usual warm conditions that were often associated with the event at the University of Charleston stadium returned throughout of the AAA class part on Saturday.
With him, the Parkersburg men’s team clinched their first tag team title since 2014, while the Jefferson girls walked away with the highest honors for the first time since 2009.
“We thought we had a team that could compete for a title last year, but obviously we didn’t make it,” said Parkersburg boys coach Rod O’Donnell. “Winning it this year really shows the work these guys did in the offseason and how focused they were on this event.”
Wheeling Park senior Torrence Walker picked up victories in three events for the boys’ honors, and Morgantown sophomore Irene Riggs also took first place in a trio of events for the girls.
Walker, who notched his first victory on Friday in the 400 meters in 48.45, notched two more titles on the last day of the season. The Patriots speedster set a 100-meter state record in the prelims at 10.50, and followed it with a final of 10.59 in the final. This put him ahead of first-year teammate Jerrae Hawkins, Jr., who was second at 10.75.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” Walker said. “It’s just a blessing. We have worked so hard this season and I am delighted. ”
Walker also won the 200 with a final of 21.43 which defied James Jett’s 1989 state record, when the former Jefferson legend who continued to play in the NFL set it at 21.39 .
“It’s an honor to be up there and I’m really honored to be known as one of these best guys and to be in a band with these names,” Walker said.
Like Walker, Riggs also won a Friday event, as the Mohigan star won the 3,200-meter race at 10: 50.51. Complacency did not set in on Saturday as Riggs won the 1600 in 4: 56.32 and the 800 in 2: 15.70.
“I’m happy with the way I played,” said Riggs. “I tried to do everything I could to help my team. In the US it all boils down to one day and you never know how it’s going to be here. “
The JHS girls followed a Lorelei Bangit win on Friday in the 400 (57.54) with a pair of first places in the relay on Saturday that helped the Cougars claim the title with 87 points.
In the 4 × 100, Jordan Carr teamed up with Trinity Blue, Hailey Dillow and Bangit to finish first at 49.86.
“The relay teams were important and they did a really good job for us,” said Jefferson girls coach John Serian. “Everyone played their part.
The Cougars also won the 4 × 200, with Carr, Dillow, Blue and Arayia Maiben finishing in 1: 44.60.
“It’s been a long year and I have great assistant coaches,” said Serian. “The sprint coach is Dana Clark and she does a hell of a job. I work with pitchers and successful pitchers. This is the first year that we have really good throws and it is a blessing.
Lily Haught of Hurricane was another winner of several events. Haught won the 100 hurdles with 14.83 and edged Marlee Porter of Wheeling Park in the 300 hurdles by the narrowest margin (44.01 to 44.02).
Porter claimed a victory in the 200 in 25.54 and teamed up with Mia Zecca, Maya Taggart and Abby Barki to give the Patriots a 4 × 400 victory in 4: 08.65.
Brook’s Mara Pendergrast won the high jump at 5-04, while Lilli Ross of Lincoln County won the shot put title at 35-05.75.
Other individual winners included: Candace Morris of Capital in the 100 meters with a final of 12.13 that was just 0.04 seconds away from matching the state record held by Ciara Chic of Riverside; Skylar Yates of Hedgesville in the pole vault (10-01); Sierra Lanham of University in the long jump at 17-10 and Ravyn Goodson of Huntington in discus with a throw of 120-06.
The Parkersburg quartet of Lily Wharton, Claire Tatterson, Kendal Domenick and Addison Gherke won the hurdles in the 4 × 110 shuttle in 1: 05.68.
Amelia Summers, Maddie Gump, Jennifer O’Palko and Anna Lester of Morgantown won the 4 × 800 in 9: 50.57.
The Mohigans were second behind the Cougars with 77 points, while Wheeling Park was third with 74 points.
For the Parkersburg boys, Justin Waybright won both the discus (164-05) and the shot put (48-08.50) to ease the charge towards the title. The shot put was particularly important for the Big Reds, who also finished second and third respectively to Charlie Bauman and Casey Mahoney, for 24 of their 110 points.
“The throwing events have been a big part of our success,” said O’Donnell. “Mostly what Justin was able to do, but those three guys in the shot put were big.”
The Big Reds also secured a key victory from Keegan Barnette in the 800 meters (1: 59.34), with teammate Franklin Angelos finalist in that event. Aaron Kupfner gave PHS first place in the 110 hurdles in 14.86.
“It was a total team effort,” said O’Donnell.
After setting a new state record on Friday with a time of 8: 52.82 in the 3,200, Larry Edwards of the University also won the 1,600 in 4: 12.02. Edwards’ individual victories were half of the four titles UHS won. The others came from Daminn Cunningham in the long jump at 21-08.75 and the 4 × 800 relay team of Edwards, Jordan Thomas, Rocco DeVincent and Ryan Blohm, who finished in 8: 00.18.
Jefferson won a pair of relays with Caleb Shelton, Justin de Moulin, Keyshawn Robinson and Isaiah Fritts winning the 4 × 200 (1: 28.79) and Moulin, Kyle from Nobel, Justin Gottlieb and Harris Kester winning the 4 × 400 (3: 32.39).
WPHS secured a title without Walker considering the 4 × 100 team of Alex Canestrato, Sincere Sinclair, Christian Sorge and Hawkins Jr. with 43.35.
Musselman’s 4 × 110 shuttle hurdles team of Cesar Zilleruelo, Ty Hosby, Wyatt Newcome and Jacob Sturba finished first with 58.31.
Other individual winners include: Doryn Smith of Martinsburg in the high jump at 6-02; Noah Waynick of Huntington in the 300 hurdles at 40.53 and Francisco Amore of Washington in the pole vault at 16-00.
Wheeling Park was second behind Parkersburg with 81 points, while University (59) and Jefferson (53) were third and fourth, respectively.