ELKTON — R.E. Lee senior Oliver Wilson-Cook finished his high school running career in fine fashion Saturday in the VHSL Track and Field Championships held at East Rockingham High School.
After finishing second to Maggie Walker’s Adam Sachs (4:32.54 to 4:30.73) in the 1600, Wilson-Cook was not to be denied in the 3200, the final race of his high school career. After going stride for stride with the top runners for seven laps, he pulled away in impressive style on the final lap to post a sizzling 9:40.47 in the 3200 and smother the competition for a first-place medal in the penultimate event in the boys’ 2A state track meet. The Lee runner will take his running talents to Division I Appalachian State in the fall.
The meet featured athletes from all corners of the state to decide the boys’ and girls’ champions in both 1A and 2A competition. The event, originally slated to be a two-day affair with a number of events slated for Friday night, turned out to be a jam-packed one-day event after thunderstorms washed out Friday’s preliminary competition.
In addition to track and field events, the day’s festivities included a mini-graduation for five athletes from schools who missed their own graduation in order to compete in the state meet. The graduates included a school valedictorian and a state track relay champion.
Wilson Memorial’s Paige Miller was the only other local athlete besides Wilson-Cook to capture first during the day’s meet. The Hornet junior set a personal and school record (breaking her own school record) and repeated as state 300-meter hurdle champ when she nipped James River’s Katelyn Wiley at the finish line with a time of 46.53 in 2A competition. Miller also finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.03 and sixth in the high jump for a stellar outing.
Several other athletes medaled in multiple events including Stuarts Draft senior Colby Phillips who placed fifth in the 100 in 11.28 in 2A competition. Phillips also picked up a sixth in the long jump, leaping 20-7.5. In the 200, he captured fourth in a time of 22.75.
In 1A boys’ competition, the Riverheads distance crew had a stellar outing off the legs of sophomore Clay Kelly and junior Tyler Wilmer. In the 1600, Kelly took sixth in 4:41.94 and Wilmer was eighth in 4:53.23. In the 800, Wilmer came out of the slower heat to take third in the 800 in 2:06.62.
Kelly capped off the Riverheads distance showing for the day with a fourth-place finish in the 3200. His time was 10:23.93.
Riverheads’ coach Ian Wallace said he was very pleased with the production of his boys’ team. The Gladiators won the regional meet last week in an event that saw Kelly take first in the 1600 and Wilmer win the 800. “Our distance crew did a great job today. Tyler has really come on this year. Both of his times today were personal records,” the Gladiator coach said. He also pointed to his 4x800 team of Ryan Kehrer, Logan Corbin, Steven Sorrells, and Wilmer that finished 11th but still lopped 10 seconds off its best time. The team had been scheduled to run Friday but the rain pushed the event into Saturday.
Boys’ 2A competition
Maggie Walker High School took the overall boys’ 2A meet with 84 points. Wilson Memorial was seventh with 25 points and Stuarts Draft was eighth with 24.6 points. Lee was 13th with 18 points.
Several other local athletes shone in the boys’ 2A competition. In the pole vault, Buffalo Gap junior Tucker KIracofe took second after he cleared 11-9. Wilson senior Michael Holmes was sixth with a vault of 10-3. Holmes also placed sixth in the 110-meter hurdles in 16.38.
Stuarts Draft junior Freddy Watkins took second in the high jump. The Cougar also finished in ninth in the discus with a toss of 133-05. His brother Jayden Watkins, a sophomore, tied for seventh in the high jump.
Stuarts Draft freshman Aaron Nice took fifth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 42.88.
The 4x800 relay team from Wilson went the distance for a second-place finish of 8:27.61. The team consisted of Vincent Leo, Rafe Shumate, Taylor Armstrong, and Chris Wood.
In the 800, Shumate, a junior, took second in 2:00.07. Buffalo Gap sophomore Jesse Abshire was sixth in 2:08.31. Wilson’s Leo finished sixth in the 3200 in 10:12.62.
Gap took eighth in the 4x400 relay when Abshire, Blake Cross, Kiracofe, and Curtis Lowe finished in 3:38.31.
Girls’ 2A competition
Maggie Walker High School won the girls’ 2A team competition with 97.5 points. East Rockingham was second with 60. Buffalo Gap was 10th with 27 points and Wilson Memorial was 11th with 23 points. Draft was 21st with 8 points. Lee finished 35th with .14 of a point.
Speed was the name of the game for Augusta County athletes in the girls’ 2A competition. In the 400, Greensville County’s Jazlyn Jefferson nipped Stuarts Draft senior Jordan Ramsey at the wire to win the race in 59.91. Ramsey finished in 1:00.46.
In the 100, Gap speedster Jackie Richey, a sophomore, was fifth in 12.8 seconds. Richey was fourth in the 200-meter dash where she finished in 26.37.
In the longer distances, Buffalo Gap junior Annika Fisher continued to show her ability when she finished one second off her personal record with a fourth in the 1600 in 5:16.95. She was even better in the 800 when she finished in second place with a time of 2:23.73.
The Wilson 4x800 relay team of Rachel Murie, Eliza Dana, McKenna Vess, and Spencer Tuttle took fourth in 10:24.63. Hornet senior distance runner Tuttle also medaled in the grueling 3200 with an eighth-place finish in 13:07.37. That race saw Virginia High’s Kelsey Harrington set a state record in 10:37.07.
In the final event of the 2A girls’ meet, Buffalo Gap’s Lexi Strange, Kaley Kiracofe, Fisher, and Shea Ostrander took fourth in the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:20.73.
Wilson’s Rachel Murie finished ninth in the pole vault.
Boys’ 1A competition
Lancaster High School won the boys’ 1A meet with 70.5 points. Riverheads finished 14th with 17 points. Several other Gladiators proved to be among the best in the state on Saturday in boys’ 1A competition. In the triple jump, Riverheads senior Jaden Phillips took eighth with a leap of 39-2.25. In the discus, Gladiator senior Cameron Lee was eighth with a toss of 116-01. In the 200, Riverheads’ senior Drew Bond finished just out of the money in ninth place in the 200 with a time of 23.53.
Girls’ 1A competition
Patrick Henry (Cave Spring) won the girls’ 1A meet with 114 points. Riverheads finished 13th with 12 points.
Gladiator senior athlete Olivia Modlin finished out her high school career with two fine efforts in the 1A shot and discus. She took eighth in the shot put with a throw of 33-5 and placed sixth in the discus with a toss of 104-06. The latter event saw West Point’s Jenna Kirkland set a state record with a winning throw of 130 feet.
Also medaling for the Gladiators was sophomore Savanna Crawford who took seventh in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18.18. Riverheads’ 4x800 relay team of Penny Shelton, Kordelia Hunsberger, Madison Walton, and Kelsey Back finished seventh. Riverheads’ Jordan Jones was ninth, just out of the medals, in the high jump.
The Lady Gladiators 4x400 relay team finished fifth in the final event of the meet when the team of Madison Walton, Makenzie Sacra, Penny Shelton and Jordan Jones ran 4:33.95.