Thinclads ready for championships
This Friday will mark the start of the West Virginia track and field state championships and there will be plenty of athletes from the area giving it their all in hopes of winning the gold.
After a season of hard work and dedication, both Tyler Consolidated and Paden City will be represented in numerous events.
For the Silver Knights boys, they will be seen in 12 of the 18 events including all five relay events. Two of the events were qualified automatically while the other three were at-large qualifiers as a result of having one of the top times in the state. The shuttle hurdle relay team finished first in the region by over two seconds.
Another event Silver Knight fans will be keeping their eye on, if they can, is the 100 meter dash in which Nate Taylor and Nate Zills will be competing. Taylor finished second in the regionals by .07 of a second while Zills earned an at-large spot after running finishing fifth in the regionals.
Both will be competing in other events. Taylor also qualified for the 200 meter and 400 meter dashes. Zills will be found on multiple relay teams.
In the distance running, Aaron Estep will be in the mile run after finishing third in the four-lap event at regionals.
Another bulk of Tyler Consolidated’s expected points will come from Cullen Grover. After picking up a state championship in wrestling, he’ll look to add two more individual golds in the 110 and 300 meter hurdle events. He will look for yet another as part of a team in the shuttle hurdle relay.
Other participants from the regional championships that were in relays and qualified for the state championship include Dirk Fletcher, Aaron Matthews, Travis Hoyes, Aaron Estep, Bryn Perkey, Joseph Semple, and Troy Wable and can be interchangable in the events, which isn’t always a cut and paste method.
“Probably the toughest relay we’ve had to figure out is the 4×200, because there are guys I’d like to keep in there but I can’t because other events are just so close to it,” said Semple. “We’ve been experimenting a lot with it. It’s ironic that our 4×200 qualified last week because they dropped the handoff. The time we ran was probably slower than our ‘B’ team time and we still got in and it was kind of amazing. So we’ll switch it up this week and try to get the right combination.”
In the field events, Tyler Consolidated will be represented in one event as Jordan Smith returns to the biggest stage hoping to improve from last year’s results.
“They’ve been solid performers all year,” said Head Coach Joe Semple. “There’s a couple of other guys in individual events that have a chance to score in Aaron Estep in the mile and Nate Zills in the 100, and I would not be surprised if both of those guys placed at the state meet.
For the Lady Silver Knights, relays will also be well represented at the state meet as the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400, and 4×102.5 will all have Tyler Consolidated participants. The 4×100 won second to qualify automatically while the others received at large bids.
The field events will also have a lot of Silver Knights. Jackie Clark looks to place at pole vault, Tiffany Lohri qualified for the long jump, Lynsey Casteel automatically qualified at shot put, and Maddeline Schlabowski and Carlee Morris will both be throwing the discus.
Rheanna Foley will run the 400 meter dash and has a legitimate shot at winning the event with one of the best times in the state. Alaina McCoy placed fourth in the region in the 800 meter run, but will go to Charleston with an at-large qualifying time. Lohri will also run both individual hurdle events.
Lohri, Acree, Clark, and Foley all qualified for four events.
“Last year we only had eight girls and now we have 10, so we’re going the right way,” said Coach JC Kimble. “We’re getting more girls in more events.”
The Paden City Wildcats also qualified for some events at the regional championships at Wheeling Park a couple days later.
As with Tyler Consolidated, the Wildcats are also strong in the relays as the boys qualified for the 4×200 and 4×400 meter relays. The 4×200 with Josh Bennett, Braxton Herrick, Michael Glover and Taylor Still finished third while the 4×400, with Ethan Drain in Glover’s place, finished sixth but was one of the four at-large qualifying times.
Bennett and Still also qualified for individual events. Bennett participated in the long jump after finishing third in regionals. Still finished fourth in the 200 meter dash, but was one of the four at-large qualifiers.
The girls Lady Wildcats were also strong in the relays as they qualified for all five events. Three of the relays saw the Wildcats place in the top three at regionals with the 4×400 and 4×800 running at-large times.
Girls that ran for relays at regionals included Sasha Newson, Shauna Durant, Amanda Sellers, Alli Bertozzi, Amanda Tallman, Amy Toman, Erica Sapp, Amanda Heasley, Joni Myers, Dominique Craft, and Taylor Parsons.
A number of these girls will be in individual events as well. Sellers should be a main point-getter for the Lady ‘Cats after finishing second in the 100 hurdles and first in the 300 hurdles and has the best time in the state for Class A this year.
Amy Toman will participate in the high jump and Shauna Durant will look to place in the discus. Former state champion Sasha Newson is another favorite in the long jump after finishing first by over a foot.
With all of the local athletes participating, both Tyler Consolidated and Paden City are looking to make big impacts.
The Silver Knights boys are currently fourth in RunWV.com’s power rankings with the Lady Knights in ninth.
“If you look outside of region one, there’s mostly only one other region that gives us any competition and that’s mostly out of one team and that’s Keyser,” said boys’ head coach Joe Semple.
Of the top six teams in the state, they’re all out of Region I except for one in Region II, and that’s the Golden Tornado.
The Lady Wildcats are also amongst the top teams in the state as they’re ranked sixth in the state.