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Six SW Va. athletes claim VHSL indoor track gold

Tanner Cook • Feb 29, 2020 at 7:34 PM

SALEM — Southwest Virginia athletes made an excellent impression during the VHSL Class 1 and 2 combined indoor track and field championships held Friday and Saturday inside Roanoke College’s Cregger Center.

Six athletes racked up state championships, and multiple competitors earned all-state recognition. The top six individuals and top three relay teams make all-state.

In the team race, the Union boys recorded the highest placement — sixth, with 25 points — from our region.

BRINGING HOME THE GOLD

Union senior Nathaniel Hersel won the 3,200-meter run in a personal best and school-record 9:50.76, outdistancing Class 2 cross country champion George Austin III of East Rockingham by over 10 seconds.

Wise Central’s Maddox Reynolds racked up another individual title when he won the Class 2 55-meter hurdles in 7.86 seconds. Union’s Trevor Wagner placed third (8.25).

Gate City’s Michael Calhoun unleashed a monstrous throw of 55-8.5 to win the Class 2 shot put competition by more than 7 feet. Union’s Mason Polier was second with a throw of 48-5.5.

John Battle’s Reed Samuel won the Class 2 individual long jump with a leap of 22-0.75 that bettered the next competitor by more than a foot.

J.I. Burton jumps queen Lydia Blair-James won the Class 1 triple jump with a leap of 34-8 on Friday and finished third overall in the combined competition. On Saturday, she placed fourth in the high jump, clearing 5-0 and claiming fourth based on fewer misses.

Chilhowie’s Malachi Thomas won the Class 1 high jump by clearing 6 feet, 4 inches.

OTHER NOTABLES FROM THE WEEKEND

The Battle boys 4x400 relay team was runner-up, its time of 3:40.83 less than a second off John Marshall’s winning effort.

Virginia High Nike Cross Country All-American Kelsey Harrington had a disappointing day — by her standards. She placed third in the 1,600 (5:19.08) and second in the 3,200 (11:32.40), finishing over 30 seconds behind the winner in the latter.

John Battle’s Andrew Smith was third in the 1,000 meters after zooming to a time of 2:45.0.

Ridgeview’s Isaac Lockhart was fourth in the 55-meter dash (6.70) and eighth in the 300 (38.05).

J.I. Burton’s Owen Lindsey finished sixth in the 500 (1:11.68), and Blair-James was sixth in the 55 hurdles (9.70).

Union — minus one of its better legs — finished ninth in the boys 4x800-meter relay (9:09.01), and the Virginia High girls 4x800 relay team was eighth (12:28.24).