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Silver Knights Ready for the Gun Lap at State

By Staff | May 18, 2016

Tyler Consolidated High School’s track teams are in prime shape to compete at the WVSSAC championship on Friday and Saturday at Laidley Field in Charleston.

Several Silver Knights qualified for the state meet, so the teams and individual athletes are poised to beat last year’s results. Taken as a whole, there is a lot promise to earn points across the board in the relays, sprints, possibly distance and field events.

“Many Single A teams are very strong this year,” Coach Jill Lemasters said. “Could we place as a team at the state meet? It is possible, but going down to the state meet there are others wanting the same title. Our boys and girls will have to go down and want to succeed. They will have to each run their best and not slow down or look back. Single A this year will have faster times than the Class AA and AAA in many events . Who will finish as the top Single A team. It’s time to travel down to Charleston this weekend and cheer on the Knights! It’s going to be an exciting weekend!”

And this will not be the first time many of the Silver Knights have been to the big show, so they’ll know to what to expect. The boys’ team finished in 6th place while the girls’ team finished in 12th against a highly competitive field in 2015.

The Silver Knights have trained hard and are ready to peak for the upcoming meet. The boys’ team was ranked in eighth place among the top 10 teams in the state, according to the latest power rankings from runwv.com. That number has surely improved since the Silver Knights finished as runner-up at the Regional championship meet last week at St. Marys.

“The team is pumped! If you don’t have the incentive to do your best at the State meet you should go do something else,” Coach Joe Semple said.

Relay squads

The Silver Knights’ powerful relay squads are test the competition.

“All the relays have begun to peak at the right time and that is critical,” Semple said. “Each runner will need to knock off a couple more seconds in order to place on Friday evening which is a possibility.”

Both boys and girls teams’ 4×100 meter relay squads have performed consistently throughout the season. The boys’ team Tyler Anderson, Trent Shepherd, Josh Peck and Federico Perez is the third best team in the state behind Wheeling Central and Williamstown. Mere fractions of second separate the three teams.

During the regional track meet, the Tyler’s four horsemen raced around the track to win the relay with a time of 44.65 seconds. That’s about a second better than the team’s time 45.41 from last year’s state meet when the relay team finished fourth. Three members of that squad Anderson, Peck and Shepherd are back for another shot at the gold. And if you compare the team’s first place time at regionals to that of their closest rivals, the Silver Knights may come away with a win.

“The 4×100 team of Josh Peck, Trent Shepherd, Fede Perez and Tyler Anderson are truly amazing to watch with their speed,” Coach Jill Lemasters said. “But the 4×100 isn’t all about speed. It is about who can get the baton around the track the fastest.”

The Silver Knight’s 4×200-meter and 4×110-meter hurdle teams are among the best in the state too, so that’ll add to the team’s point totals.

The girls’ 4×100-meter relay team Macy Long, Katelyn Gogan, Ariel Fish and Sydney Glover placed second with a time of 51.65 seconds at the regionals. Wheeling Central’s squad won the relay by about two strides about a second and half ahead.

“Our 4×100 is currently the team with the fastest time heading into the state meet,” Semple said. “They have the potential to win, but there is a target on them and every other team will be hoping to knock them off the podium. There are no guarantees.”

Last year, this same girls’ team beat Wheeling Central and nearly broke a meet state meet record when they took home the gold with a time of 51.50 seconds. Will history repeat itself?

“The 4×100 is excited to try to defend their title,” Coach J.C. Kimble said.

Distance teams

Senior Daron Weekley is on track toward a solid 800-meter race at the state meet. Weekley powered down the last straight-away to claim the top spot at the regionals last week with a time of 2:08 minutes. Last year at the state meet, Weekley finished in sixth place with a time of 2:05 minutes. He has consistently been ranked within the top 10 best 800-meter runners in the state.

Speaking of distance runners, Gavin Corley placed second and posted a time of 5:02 minutes in the mile at the regionals the first time he’s qualified to compete in the mile for the state meet. That’s not even the sophomore’s best time this season 4:55 minutes. And Corley’s mile times are usually posted after he’s competed in a few other races.

“Gavin finishing second was expected by our coaching staff,” Coach Brenna Haggerty said. “He has been working toward this goal all season. His times/performance are a result of his hard work and concentration. It is very hard to make it down to the state meet in individual events, so this is an accomplishment.”

Semple added, “Gavin is quickly learning what it takes to be a successful middle distance runner and has come a very long way this year. To place in the top 6, Gavin will have to take about 20 seconds off of his best time. The mile is a very difficult event to place in.”

Temperatures in the upper 70s and hard-to-breathe humidity may have affected times at the regional meet, particularly in the distance running events. Cloudy skies with a chance of rain and cooler temperatures in the 50s may greet milers when they compete around 11 a.m. Saturday at Laidley Field.

Given the right conditions, Corley is poised for a solid performance at the state meet.

Distance runner Jahnvi Duncan may be on pace to break the 6-minute barrier at the state meet, which could make her a solid contender for a spot at the podium. She ran a mile in 6:06 minutes at the regional championship, so a few seconds shaved here and there may be in the cards.

And the 4×800-meter squads placed at the regionals, so they should be poised for a strong performance this weekend.

“The 4×800 team surprised everyone in the region with their performance. They beat several teams for the first time,” Semple said.

Lemasters added, “The 4×800 team of Daron Weekley, Dan Miller, Destry Nelson and Gavin Corley will be a very competitive and exciting race to watch!”

Sprinters

Anderson has been ranked among the best sprinters in the state, particularly in the 200-meter dash. The senior placed second and posted a time of 23.11 seconds at the regionals. He ran 23.88 seconds last year at the state meet, so there is a lot of potential for a strong showing this time around. He was named All LKC recently for his stellar performance at the conference meet in Roane County.

Worth noting, Anderson is primed for a top spot in the long jump. As a sophomore, Anderson placed second with a leap of 20-feet, 1.5 inches last year at the state meet. When Anderson competed at the regionals last week, he posted a longer jump 20-feet, 6.25 inches. That said, Anderson may have some stiff competition from Paden City’s Zach Yeater who captured the gold with a leap of 21-feet, 7.5 inches at the regionals. But no worries; Anderson has been consistently ranked among the top five best in the state. Anderson’s teammate, Trent Shepherd, is also ranked among the best in the long jump.

“Tyler had the longest jump this year until regionals,” Lemasters said. “He will have to stay focused because there are many boys jumping 19 and 20 feet this year. Tyler will jump 20 feet but will he jump his farthest? Will he jump 22 feet? There is a good possibility. We will all be on the edge of our seats watching long jump.”

On the girls’ side of the ledger, Katelynn Gogan has put points on the board all season in the 100-meter and 300-meter high hurdles. The multi-sport senior posted a 100-meter time of 16.8 seconds last week. regionals which is much faster than her time from last year’s state meet 17.28 seconds when she captured sixth place to one point to the team’s score.

“Katelyn has been working really hard to make it in the 100 and 300 hurdles,” Kimble said. “I think she has a really good chance at placing in those two events.”

Field events

Jarrett Lemasters and Levi Morgan, both juniors, are ranked among the best pole vaulters in the state. As a sophomore, Lemasters vaulted 11-feet at the state meet to capture a fifth place finish and put two team points on the board. Last week, Lemasters placed second with a vault of 12-feet and Morgan had 11-feet, 6-inches about the same height vault that his teammate had at the state meet last year if that provides any indication as to the teen’s skills.

“Both boys have jumped their best,” Lemasters said. “Levi is reaching for 12 feet and Jarett for 13. We should have both boys placing with those jumps.”

Lemasters is tied for second with a Williamtown vaulter according to the rankings, so if he puts up a solid performance at the state meet he could claim a top spot at the podium.

Seniors Devon Harris (shot put and discus) and Hogan Wells (discus) have posted solid performances in their events, so they’ll be ready for the big meet. Recently, Wells set the school’s discus record at more than 134-feet. And Harris is ranked 10th in the state in the shot put with a throw of 44-feet, according to runwv.com.

“The throwing field event is stacked this year,” Lemasters said. “Our boys have some nice throws and will compete well. We hope they both throw personal bests for some more points in the field area.”

Emily Lancaster (pole vault), Tessa Boyd (discus) should put up some points on the board at the state meet. Lancaster, a freshman, placed third with a vault of 8-feet at the regionals as well as scoring points in the long jump and as a member of the 4×200-meter and 4×400-meter relay teams. Given time, Lancaster could be a top contender in the years ahead in any event she chooses.

“Emily PR’d in the pole vault and is looking to crack the top 6,” Kimble said.

Boyd placed third in the discus with a twirl of 95-feet, 3-inches last week at the regional meet. She could grab some more points for the Silver Knights.

“Tessa has done an excellent job this season and has gotten better each meet,” Kimble said.

All in all, the Silver Knights should put a lot of points on the board and move closer to becoming more and more of a track powerhouse.