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By Jeremy Stafford - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Handley sophomore Lisa Meneau is at once honored and proud and frustrated and intimidated.
She runs on Handley's 4x400-meter relay team, so she's honored. She's depended upon to help the Judges' relay team defend the Group AA title it won a year ago, so she's proud.
But the relay team isn't running the sub-4:00 races it ran last year, so she's frustrated. And in Thursday's Region II meet at Warren County, she wasn't seeded highest in the 300-meter hurdles, so she was intimidated.
But sometimes frustration and intimidation, and honor and pride, all breed similar results.
Meneau won the 300 hurdles by nearly a second (45.88), she rallied to help the Judges' 4x100 relay team finish first (49.76), and though the 4x400 relay team still isn't running the times it did a year ago, Meneau and teammates Britani Myers, Caroline Crowe and Verna Hilaire-Lee won the event rather convincingly (4:04.63).
In the 300 hurdles, Meneau was seeded behind Dominion's Kiya Day, yet Meneau was the only runner to break 46 seconds.
"I just pictured myself winning, and I mentally prepared myself," Meneau said. "I just went, and that third gear came out, and I just went for it."
And Meneau did it with shin splints. And in scorching, torrid weather. And because of it, Handley tied Louisa County for third place with 52 points.
"[Meneau] works hard, and she has a couple gears that I'm just finding out that she has," Handley coach Sam Finley laughed. "Overall, I don't know what I would do without her."
Myers won the 400-meter dash (57.77) after hitting her final kick in the race's final 50 meters, and Crowe placed second in the high jump (5-02.00).
But while Meneau said she was unimpeded by Thursday's sweltering weather -- in fact, she said she runs best in it -- most other runners were severely hampered.
Sherando senior Krista DeCeault, though she won both the 1,600-meter run (5:07.54) and the 3,200-meter run (11:15.34) by long margins, admitted that she did let the weather get to her. And so her times were slower than she'd hoped for.
Still, being a Region II winner in two events is a feat that impresses her.
"I need to enjoy this and take this in," DeCeault said. "Last year, if I could say that I was district champion and region champion, I would cry -- I can't even believe where I've gotten."
Sherando placed third in the meet with 31 points.
Warren County, with 12 points, tied with Orange County. Wildcats sophomore Jasmain Ford won the 100-meter dash (12.26).
Skyline junior Oshene Kelly placed third in the triple jump (35-08.75) and accounted for all six of the Hawks' points.
James Wood junior John Simms had a bittersweet meet, first winning the boys 100-meter dash (10.87), then pulling his right hamstring midway through the 200-meter dash.
Simms hobbled through the final 100 meters of the 200. He said he isn't yet sure if he'll run in next week's Group AA meet. But he still gleamed over his winning of the 100.
"Honestly, it was just like gold, it was just like one big bright light ... just actually winning," Simms said. "It was the most incredible feeling, I was about to shout when I won."
Simms said he pulled his hamstring running the 100 in last year's Region II meet.
But James Woods' 14 points, and its 10th-place finish, fell just short of Sherando's 16 points and ninth-place finish.
Warriors sophomore Chris Smith won the high jump (6-04.00) and said he's glad to be peaking at the end of the season.
"I'm ecstatic, that's for sure," Smith said. "I tried to do something, so I did it."
Sophomore Justin Neff placed third in the discus (129-04).
Warren County's 14 points tied with James Wood. Senior distance runner Seumas O'Reilly finished third in the 1,600-meter run (4:22.07).
Skyline sophomore Thomas Madden placed second in the 3,200-meter run (9:43.05). The Hawks finished with 10 points.
Handley junior Derek Dowrey placed second in the shot put (51-00.50).