Note: This story was last updated at 1 p.m. May 14.
HARDIN VALLEY—The Oak Ridge track and field team had 13 athletes qualify for seven events in the state track meet during the Class AAA Section 1 Finals at Hardin Valley on Saturday.
The seven events included three relays, three runs, and the 100-meter dash.
Here’s who qualified:
- Girls 4×200-meter relay—senior Breanne Young, junior Desiree Bates, sophomore Makiya Garrett, and junior Shatyrah Copeland (4th with a time of 1:45.22);
- Girls 4×800-meter relay—senior Abbey Greenhalgh, junior Genevieve Schwartz, and freshmen Rebecca Joyal and Muskaan Vohra (4th with a time of 9:53.08);
- Girls 3,200-meter run—Schwartz (4th with a time of 12:02.05);
- Boys 4×800-meter relay—senior Jake Etheridge and juniors Reid Dukes, Will Jeter, and Jose Villegas (3rd with a time of 8:06.50);
- Boys 1,600-meter run—Etheridge (3rd with a time of 4:33.87);
- Boys 3,200-meter run—Etheridge (4th with a time of 9:55.97); and
- Boys 100-meter dash—sophomore Jordan Graham (4th with a time of 11.53).
The sectionals, which included Region 1 and Region 2, were at Hardin Valley Academy on Saturday. See the results here. The top four finishers in the sectional events qualified for the state championship meet.
Oak Ridge will compete in the state track meet in two weeks on May 25-26 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. See the 2017 TSSAA State Track Meet schedule here. (TSSAA stands for Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.)
“We’ve had a good day overall,” Oak Ridge Coach Allen Etheridge said of the sectional meet early Saturday evening, with several distance runs and hurdle and relay races remaining. “We’ve got a bunch of kids who are going to compete at the state level.”
Jake Etheridge qualified for three events Saturday. That’s the same number of events that his sister, Adrian Etheridge, qualified for in 2011, said Allen Etheridge, their father.
Allen Etheridge said the boys and girls 4×800-meter relays performed as expected.
“We ran really, really well,” he said.
It’s been six years since the girls 4×800-meter relay team went to state.
“It’s really great to have them back,” Etheridge said.
Vohra, the freshman anchor for the girls 4×800 team, ran a wise, intelligent race, he said.
Assistant Coach Ed Wright said Oak Ridge had been in fourth, but the fifth-place team had caught up, even though the Wildcats ran a great third leg, setting a personal record. Vohra pushed the pace for 200-300 meters, opening up a gap again, Wright said.
Etheridge said the girls 4×200-meter relay team made all their exchanges well for the first time.
“They were all good,” he said. “They came to play.”
The Wildcats knew that team was fast, but the handoffs are hard to do, with runners “coming in and dying,” Etheridge said.
Wright said Graham finished fourth in the 100-meter dash even though he’s been battling a right hip flexor issue. The team’s trainer is working with Graham, and he will be ready for the state track meet in two weeks, Wright said.
The last two events in which Oak Ridge qualified were the boys and girls 3,200-meter runs. Allen Etheridge said Jake Etheridge and Schwartz ran to qualify in those races and were not trying to win.
Schwartz put herself into position to “snag a spot,” Etheridge said. Then, when a spot opened with about 200 meters to go, she was able to sprint and take it.
Wright, who was recently named head coach of the Oak Ridge cross country team, said Jake Etheridge ran a very intelligent 1,600-meter race.
“All he had to do was sit in third or fourth” and let other runners push the pace, Wright said. “He sat in third and finished third,” qualifying for state.
“He did what we wanted him to do,” Wright said.
There were a few other races where the Wildcats had a chance.
The boys 4×100-meter relay team, which came together late in the season, finished fifth, just missing the fourth-place qualifying spot. That team includes senior Eli Woods, junior Tony Miller, and sophomores Tre Jackson and Jordan Graham. At the Wildcat Relays last week, that team ran 0.5 seconds faster than they had any other time this season. They ran even faster Saturday and finished 0.23 seconds out of fourth place.
“They did run well,” Etheridge said of the team’s performance Saturday.
The girls 4×100-meter relay team was leading until the second handoff but did not qualify. Still, that same team qualified for the 4×200-meter relay, Etheridge said.
Last year, Oak Ridge only had one girl qualify for the state track meet, so this year will be more balanced, Etheridge said.
Saturday’s performance was good, he said.
The Wildcats also qualified for seven events last year, but with 11 students. Three of the Oak Ridge athletes last year each competed in two events.
Oak Ridge Today asked Etheridge how many years in a row Oak Ridge has sent athletes to the state track meet.
“Forever,” Etheridge said. “I’m not sure there’s ever been a year that we didn’t send one.”
In terms of overall team rankings at Saturday’s sectional, Hardin Valley Academy was the top girls team, West High School was second, and Science Hill High School was third. Oak Ridge finished 11th overall.
The Dobyns-Bennett High School boys team finished first, Hardin Valley Academy was second, and Jefferson County High School was third. The Oak Ridge boys finished 10th overall.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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