The Oak Ridge Wildcats and Anderson County Mavericks track and field teams are competing in the state championship meet in Murfreesboro on Thursday.
Oak Ridge will compete in the girls 1,600-meter run, the boys 4×800-meter relay, the boys 4×100-meter relay, the girls 4×100-meter relay, and girls discus. The Wildcats are the number two seed in the girls 1,600-meter run, the fifth seed in the boys 4×100-meter relay, seventh seed in the boys 4×800-meter relay, eighth seed in the girls 4×100-meter relay, and ninth seed in girls discus.
Anderson County will compete in the girls 100-meter hurdles, girls pole vault, boys long jump, girls 1,600-meter run, and girls 3,200-meter run. The Mavericks are the top seed in the girls pole vault, fifth seed in the girls 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run, seventh seed in the girls 100-meter hurdles, and 13th seed in the boys long jump.
The top Oak Ridge qualifier headed into the state meet, senior Genevieve Schwartz, is the number two seed in the girls 1,600-meter run, with a time of 5:07.07. The top qualifier is Sasha Neglia of Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport in upper East Tennessee, with a time of 5:01.14.
Both girls ran those times at the Section 1 Large School Championships at Science Hill in Johnson City on May 12. Neglia finished number one there, and Schwartz was number two. Both are also cross country runners.
The time of 5:07.07 was a personal record, or PR, for Schwartz.
“I think that’s the second-fastest ever run at Oak Ridge,” Wildcats Coach Allen Etheridge said. “She ran just a spectacular race. She said afterward she’s never run that hard in her life.”
Schwartz is a signee at East Tennessee State University.
“She has really come into her own this track season as one of the best we’ve ever had,” Etheridge said.
In other events at the May 12 sectional, the Oak Ridge boys qualified for the 4×800-meter relay for the fifth year in a row. They completed the race in third at 8:17.25. (The top four finishers at sectionals advance to the state meet.) The Wildcats are the seventh seed in this relay at the state championship meet.
Oak Ridge has always been good at this event, Etheridge said.
At Science Hill, two of the boys ran their legs ran very well, Etheridge said. Senior Reid Dukes “got out well” and put the team in the right position. Seniors Will Jeter and Jose Villegas ran fine, keeping the team in a qualifying position, Etheridge said. Then, junior Dalton Morgan ran a “gigantic PR” of 2:01, the coach said.
“He’s never ran that,” Etheridge said of Morgan. “He’s never even been close to that.”
Morgan’s previous best was probably about 2:08 or 2:11, Etheridge said.
He said the girls 4×100-meter relay team, which qualified for state, was “just fantastic.”
They finished the race in 49.17, or third at the sectional. That’s the fastest time he’s ever coached, Etheridge said.
He said the girls had four solid relay legs.
“Shatyrah Copeland…she had a gear I’ve never seen her have,” Etheridge said. “She was just gunning.”
It’s the third year in a row for the girls sprint relays to go to state.
The girls 4×100 team includes sophomore Loleita Cruz, senior Desiree Bates, junior Makiya Garrett, and junior Shatyrah Copeland. They are the eighth seed in the state meet.
The boys 4×100-meter relay team also qualified for state, winning the sectional with a time of 42.83. They are the fifth seed in the state meet.
Etheridge said the boys 4×200-meter relay team, which has a slightly different team makeup, missed qualifying for state by 0.03 seconds. The Wildcats finished fifth at 1:30.93, right behind fourth-place Farragut at 1:30.90. Junior K-Juan Stacy-Wright, who is not on the 4×100 team, had an unbelievable run as anchor, Etheridge said.
After not qualifying in that race, the Oak Ridge boys came back and ready to get something, Etheridge said.
In the 4×100 race, “Caelan Thompson (a junior) came jetting out of the blocks,” Etheridge said. Oak Ridge led at that point and led throughout the race. All four team members ran well, Etheridge said.
Oak Ridge junior Jordan Graham went one-on-one with a West athlete, Etheridge said, and the Wildcats beat the Rebels by 0.02 seconds (42.83 to 42.85).
Etheridge said it’s been a while since Oak Ridge won the 4×100 at sectional, and he doesn’t remember the last time. The Wildcats had perfect handoffs, and Etheridge said he thinks the team is “in the running at state.”
The boys team includes junior Caelan Thompson, junior Isaiah Goskowicz, freshman Vaughn Coleman, and junior Jordan Graham.
Also qualifying for state at the sectional on May 12 was Oak Ridge junior Erin Van Berkel in girls discus. She finished third with a throw of 110-03.00.
“I would say she threw okay,” Etheridge said. It was her first time qualifying for something that mattered. “It’s sometimes hard to do that,” Etheridge said.
Van Berkel just started throwing last year. She previously threw a disc 120 feet and 10 inches, which was briefly the top discus throw among high school girls in Tennessee this season. It was the farthest throw by an Oak Ridge girl in a long time.
Etheridge said she had great warm-up throws at the sectional in Johnson City, and he thinks she “left something in the tank.”
“But she threw well enough to qualify,” Etheridge said.
He said it happens fairly often in track that an athlete picks up a sport quickly. Sam Hepler did it in the triple jump, and Brigid Bishop did it in the pole vault, Etheridge said.
Van Berkel started as a sprinter and asked to throw discus, he said.
She is the ninth seed in the state meet on Thursday.
Competing in the state meet for Anderson County is junior Brittany Bishop, who was first in the girls 100-meter hurdles in the sectional (15.32) and first in the pole vault (12-05.00). Bishop is the top seed in the pole vault at the state meet, and the seventh seed in the 100-meter hurdles.
Also competing in the state meet for Anderson County will be senior Parker Fulton, who finished second in the boys long jump at the sectional with a jump of 21-00.25, making him the 13th seed at the state meet.
Junior Maddy Moody, who also runs cross country, will also compete in the state meet for the Mavericks, finishing fourth in the girls 1,600-meter run, two places behind Schwartz of Oak Ridge at 5:09.99. Moody is the fifth seed in the state meet.
Moody also qualified for state in the girls 3,200-meter run, finishing fourth (11:23.66). Moody is also the fith seed in this event at state.
Here are other Oak Ridge results from the May 12 sectional in Johnson City:
- Boys 100-meter dash: Oak Ridge junior Tre Jackson finished 17th with a time of 11.95.
- Boys 200-meter dash: Junior K-Juan Stacy-Wright finished 10th at 23.05, and freshman Vaughn Coleman had a time of 23.41.
- Boys 800-meter run: Senior Reid Dukes was 12th at 2:04.54, and senior Jose Villegas finished 19th at 2:10.78.
- Boys 1,600-meter run: Freshman Eli Cox was 34th at 5:12.40.
- Boys 3,200-meter run: Junior Dalton Morgan finished 10th at 10:19.36, and Cox was 27th with a time of 11:13.97.
- Boys 110-meter hurdles: Sophomore Carson Hope had a time of 16.59.
- Boys long jump: Senior Shirod Graham was 13th at 18-04.00.
- Boys triple jump: Shirod Graham was seventh at 38-06.50.
- Girls 100-meter dash: Sophomore Katie Swigert was 17th with a time of 13.51.
- Girls 200-meter dash: Swigert was 16th at 28.15.
- Girls 400-meter dash: Sophomore Rebecca Joyal was 10th with a time of 1:04.32.
- Girls 1,600-meter run: While Schwartz finished second, freshman Ingrid Vidales finished 11th at 5:42.34, and sophomore Eden Gee was 26th with a time of 6:00.77.
- Girls 3,200-meter run: Schwartz was 11th at 12:16.35. Sophomore Jessie Strader was 21st at 13:05.29.
- Girls 100-meter hurdles: Junior Kate Hausladen finished at 16.85.
- Girls 300-meter hurdles: Hausladen in seventh with a time of 48.73.
- Girls 4×200-meter relay: Sixth at 1:45.34. This team also includes Cruz, Bates, Garrett, and Copeland.
- Girls 4×800-meter relay: Ninth at 10:36.64.
- Girls high jump: Senior Robyn Wood at 4-10.00.
- Girls long jump: Garrett with a jump of 16-00.50.
- Girls triple jump: Junior Sam Hepler in 15th at 31-00.00.
- Girls pole vault: Senior Brigid Bishop in 15th at 8-06.00.
- Girls shot put: Sophomore Ashlyn Riikola in 23rd at 27-05.25.
Before the May 12 sectional, Etheridge had said the Oak Ridge sprint relays had “really come into their own” this season, both the boys and girls teams in both the 4×100 and 4×200-meter relays.
The girls ran the fastest time, 49.81 at the “last chance meet” at Oak Ridge High School on May 4, since the school record was set about 20 years ago. They improved on that time with their time of 49.17 at the May 12 sectional.
Before the sectional, Schwarz had been “ferocious” in all the races in which she had qualified, the 800, 1,600, and 3,200, Etheridge said. She ran the 1,600 faster than anyone in about two decades, Etheridge said. Schwarz did not compete in the 800-meter run at the sectional, but did run in the 1,600 and 3,200.
The 2018 TSSAA (Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association) State Track and Field Championships for Division I Large Schools are Thursday, May 24, at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. See the schedule here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See the performance list for the girls state meet on Thursday here.
See the performance list for the boys state meet on Thursday here.
See the May 12 sectional results here.
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