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Central freshman Reynolds races to top seed into 55 hurdles

Kevin Mays • Feb 25, 2019 at 9:03 PM

SALEM — Wise Central freshman Maddox Reynolds seemed a little — or maybe more than just a little — nervous before Monday’s qualifying preliminary of the 55-meter hurdles in the VHSL Class 2 Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Afterward, Reynolds was all smiles.

He entered the event with this season’s best time on the Class 2 state level and did not disappoint at Roanoke College’s Cregger Center.

Reynolds bested his time with an 8.16, good enough to earn him the top seed in Tuesday’s championship. Not bad for a freshman who did not even attempt the hurdles until spring of his seventh-grade year.

“I just ran hurdles one time in the seventh grade and everybody said I was pretty good at it,” said Reynolds, who split his indoor track season with junior varsity basketball. “Even this year, I’ve run hurdles about four times in a matter of three months because I had basketball this year, too.

“This is exciting. This is my sport and I’m glad I’ve got God and my family to see me through this.”

Central coach Chris Crabtree said Reynolds’ skill on the hurdles is all natural ability. Crabtree knew that when he saw him hurdle for the first time during Reynolds’ middle school days.

“The first time he did hurdles, when he jumped the first two hurdles, I looked at everybody and said, ‘Don’t give him any advice, don’t change a thing. Just leave him alone because the worst thing we can do is mess with him,’ ” Crabtree said. “The best thing we can do is just stay out of his way. He’s figured it all out and has just done all of it on his own. It’s just natural ability.”

UNION SHOWS STRONG

On the first day of preliminaries and field events, Union — coming off its Region 2D championship — had a strong showing.

Zion Mitchell recorded the second-best qualifying time behind Reynolds in the 55-meter hurdles, an 8.29.

Senior Avery Jenkins had a fourth-best qualifying time in the 55 dash, a 6.79, and will compete in the finals of that and other events on Tuesday.

Jenkins just missed scoring points in the long jump by finishing ninth.

Region 2D shot put champion Justin Barnett finished fourth in the state competition with a throw of 48-01.5.

“I think everybody is putting a lot of pressure on themselves after having such great success last week,” said Bears coach James Hamilton. “Tomorrow should be a good day.”

BLAIR-JAMES PLACES

J.I. Burton’s Lydia Blair-James earned a spot in the finals of Tuesday’s 55 meters with an eighth-place finish in the prelims.

Blair-James also earned a fourth-place ribbon in the high jump with a leap of 4-08 and just missed the podium in the triple jump, placing ninth.

MORE ACTION TUESDAY

The state meet concludes Tuesday with field events — girls shot put, boys pole vault, boys high jump, boys triple jump and girls long jump — and finals in all of the running events.

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