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Silver Knights’ Boys Finish Ninth at State Track Meet

By Staff | May 22, 2018

Tyler’s Nathan Barker runs the high hurdles to a second place finish at state.

Tyler Consolidated’s boys track team put 23 points on the board at the state meet on Friday and Saturday, despite having one of the smaller contingent of athletes among the Class A teams.

Junior hurdler Nathan Barker, who went in to the meet as one of the better 110 hurdlers, proved it to be true on Saturday as he came away with a second place finish in the event with a 16.33 time, just a fraction of a second behind St. Marys’ senior Daulton Houser, to give the Knights eight points.

Barker finished third overall in the preliminaries but stepped it up a notch the finals, knocking a couple seconds off his time to go ahead of Tucker County junior Ben Callaway, who was in second place after the preliminaries.

With 16 entrants in the race, Tyler Consolidated’s Barker showed the state what they will be up against next season as he is now the top hurdler returning.

Freshman distance runner and high jumper Spencer Corley didn’t quite get the results he had hoped for, but his performance is nothing to overlook as he nailed down a fourth place finish in the high jump with a leap of 5′ 10.” Corley went into the event as the state’s top performer, twice jumping 6′ 2″ this season, giving him the number one seed at state. He got the same height as the third place finisher from Clay Battelle but had to settle for fourth, getting his jump on his third attempt.

As you often see at track meets, Corley demonstrated some fine sportsmanship by congratulating his competition on their wins. His jump gave the Silver Knights four points. He later ran the first leg of the Knights 4×800 meter relay team that finished in sixth place, adding another point to their total. The team consisted of Corley, his older brother Gavin Corley, Josh Frum and Destry Nelson.

Nelson, who is the Silver Knights’ only runner in the 400 meter race, added two more points to the total with a fifth place finish in the event after grabbing the top spot in his heat in the preliminaries with a 52.06. As a junior, Nelson will be one of the top three returnees in the race for next season. He was up against the top two runners in the state in South Harrison’s Freddy Canary and Magnolia’s Brooks Parsons.

The Silver Knights’ super sophomore Mark Rucker, one of the state’s fastest runners, found himself against some tough competition on Saturday, in the 100 meter race. In the preliminaries, Rucker finished fourth in his heat and was sixth overall. In the finals he jumped up one spot to fifth overall as Webster County’s Dawson Tharp fell two spots from fourth to sixth. Rucker’s run gave the Silver Knights two more points. Less than three-tenths of a second separated the second through sixth places. First place was won by South Harrison’s senior state record holder, Freddy Canary.

Rucker also was entered in the long jump as one of the top seeds, but he had an off night and was given a fault when he had to miss his final jump to compete in the Silver Knights’ 4×100 relay team which finished first in its heat and third overall with a time of 45.35. This added six more points to the team total.

The team consisted of first leg junior George Tennant, sophomore Jonathan Miller, junior Nick Gorby and sophomore anchor Rucker. With all four members returning next year, the Silver Knights will be in position to win the event or be near the top next season. Hard work now and commitment during the off season will be the key to the Knights success.

“We need to work on our handoffs and our starts, which we think will help us take a couple seconds off our time. I am working on my speed and strength every day. We want to get to where we are contenders for the title when we head back down next year,” said Rucker.

Spencer Corley was just a couple seconds off placing in the open 1600 meter run, finishing in the 10th spot with a fine time of 4:50.28 – an improvement of 3.6 seconds better than his seeded time of 4:53.88. He was seeded as the seventh best runner going into the race. Look for Corley to be out on the track or running hills somewhere to increase his strength and endurance in anticipation for next year.

The Silver Knights’ shuttle hurdle team was just fractions of a second from placing with a 1:04.93 and looked to be in the running for second or third place when one of their runners hit the hurdle and fell right prior to a handoff. The team of three underclassmen and one senior never gave up and finished the race, nearly making the grade. Barker ran the first leg with Elijah Day (sophomore), Evan Maxwell (senior), and sophomore Zack Placer as the anchor.

The Silver Knights’ girls team could only manage three points at the state meet and finished in the 21st spot, tied with Pocahontas County. The Knights picked up two points in the shuttle hurdle relay with a fifth place finish in a time of 1:12.37 to edge out Magnolia, who came in sixth with a 1:12.55.

The Silver Knights team was made up of all underclassmen – Rachel Thomas, Kirshana Smith, Rachal Hashman, and Emily Lancaster. Lancaster added the Knights’ other point with a sixth place pole vault finish of 8-06.00.

The Knights 4×400 relay team – consisting of Rachel Thomas, Katie Pratt, Demery Nelson and Sarah Hashman, didn’t place in the points but ran a good race in a time of 4:58.92. Silver Knights’ freshman Abi Thompson also competed at the state meet, getting a 6:02.79 in the open 1600 meter run.

Although the girls only managed three points for the weekend, they picked up some valuable experience, which should carry over for next year for this young group. Eight girls made the trip for Tyler Consolidated with hopes of having a larger contingent next year.

Paden City had one boys relay team make the trip south as the shuttle team got an at-large bid with its time from the regionals. The boys team consisted of three seniors and a junior. First leg was senior Landon Smith, followed by senior Seth Bohrer, junior Alex McCoy and the anchor leg of Steven Smith. The boys went into the race seeded with a 1:07.33 and bettered their mark by running a 1:06.07.

The Wildcat girls, behind the efforts of sophomore speedster Abbe Stackpole – who scored all 10 of the Cat’s points, finished in 14th place, just two points behind Magnolia – who landed the 13th spot with 12 points.

In the 100 meter dash, Stackpole was in seventh place following the preliminaries, but her qualification for the finals proved to be a motivator for her as she came from behind with a late kick in the finals to pass their runners and finish in the third spot behind Doddridge and Wheeling Central. She picked up six Wildcat points in the race.

Her other medal winning race was also in the dashes, as she once again was in the seventh spot after the preliminaries of the 200 meter dash. Her 27.28 in the preliminaries was not good enough for her, and she kicked in the jets to move up three spots to number four and give Paden City four more points with her time of 27.11. Her run moved her ahead of Clay Battelle, Madonna, and Union.

Paden City also ran in the 4×200 meter relay with a team of freshman Destiny Duncan, freshman Mallory Yeater, sophomore Destiny Harrison and sophomore Stackpole. The Wildcats finished fourth in their heat but ended 11th overall with a time of 1:57,82, a second better than 12th place Magnolia.

In the 4×100 meter relay, the Wildcats used the same team to finish fifth in their heat but ended 11th overall with a time of 54.78. This young group of girls gives the Wildcats a bright spot for the future of Paden City girls track with hope to lure more girls to compete next season.