By Jeff Nations - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Glenn Proctor wasn't lying to Katlyn Ayers on Wednesday night -- honest.
Call it more of a fib.
As the longtime Strasburg track and field coach prepped Ayers to run the final leg of the girls 1,600-meter relay, he offered some overly optimistic encouragement.
"My gosh, she was behind by 30 or 40 meters," Proctor said. "I said, 'Katie, you can catch her.' I really didn't mean it, but lo and behold she did."
That she did, delivering a blistering 400 meters to reel in Warren County's Lexi Southard and give Strasburg the victory in 4 minutes, 29.20 seconds, better than two seconds faster than the runner-up Wildcats.
It was just one of a slew of impressive performances by the host Rams, who swept both the boys and girls competition in Wednesday's four-team quad.
Ayers came through with individual wins in the 800 (2:21.80) and 1,600 (5:20.40) to help Strasburg tally 118 points to top Warren County (61), Central (40) and Massanutten Military Academy (2).
Anthony Wallis was just as impressive in the boys distance events, scoring easy wins in the 1,600 (4:34.70) and 3,200 (10:26.40) as Strasburg tallied 94.5 points to hold back Central (75), Warren County (52) and MMA (7.5).
With Warren County's Seumas O'Reilly opting to skip Wednesday's meet for a weekend prep to try and qualify for the Penn Relays, Wallis had no real competition for his events as he churned out quick lap after quick lap.
"It wasn't bad -- I'm still trying to get faster," Wallis said. "It was a good night."
Strasburg's Troy Gordon had a pretty good night, as well, posting wins in the triple jump (38 feet, 5.5 inches) and 200 meters (23.90) and finishing a close second to Warren County's Gage Steele (11.50) in the 100.
"He had breakthroughs in all three events," Proctor said.
On the girls side, Strasburg's Taylor Cockerille scored wins in both the discus (115-08) and shot put (34-02).
"Taylor Cockerille's shot put, that is a very, very competitive throw for this time of year," Proctor said. "That sticks out in my mind."
Warren County's Jasmain Ford, who finished fourth in the 100 meters at last year's Group AA state meet, got off to a solid start by winning in 12.80 seconds. Ford also won the long jump (14-03).
"I know I can do better, but it's the first meet of the season," Ford said of her 100 time. "I can get faster."
Also winning for the Wildcats in the girls meet were Katy Harriman in both the high jump (4-08) and 200 meters (28.00), Leanna Eisenman in the 3,200 (11:51.8) and Warren County's 400 relay (52.70).
Strasburg's girls also got individual wins from Hannah Clinedinst in both the 100 hurdles (16.40) and 300 hurdles (49.60) Brittany Bowers in the triple jump (38-05.5) and Kiersten Braithwaite in the 400 (1:11.70).
"I think we're just looking stronger," Ayers said. "We have a lot more depth."
The Rams also had their share of strong outings on the boys side. Thrower Thomas Lucas uncorked an impressive winning toss of 148-04 in the discus, Dylan Callaway looked in mid-season form with a first-place finish in the 800 (2:04.80) and Ryan McElroy recovered from bumping Central's Brandon Ritter in the 110 hurdles to win by 0.40 seconds in 16.00.
McElroy didn't fare as well in the 300 hurdles, though, as the Falcons' Justin Bauserman returned the favor by edging him out by 0.20 seconds for the win.
Bauserman speed between the hurdles proved the difference.
"That's my objective -- jump the hurdle, then sprint as fast as you can," said Bauserman, who won in 42.30 seconds. "That's what I'm good at, just sprinting between the hurdles. I get my distance in the jump, then some more with the sprint. It's a good technique, I guess."
Other winners for Central included Josh Gum in the shot put (43-09.50), Cody Albright in the 400 (57.40) and firsts in both the 400 relay (47.00) and 1,600 relay (3:38.80).
"I'm very satisfied with where we're at and the way things are going," Falcons coach Rick Lytton said. "We're still very young."
Steele added a win in the high jump (5-10) to go along with his victory in the 100 meters, and Matthew Nicholson won the long jump (20-09.25) for Warren County.
MMA's undersized squad didn't pick up any wins, but Kenya Ray tied for second in the 200 meters and Stephen Casiola was fourth in the shot put for the Colonels' boys squad, and Selah Applin was fourth in the 100 and seventh in the 200 with new personal records in both for the girls team.
But even with key sprinter/jumper Rakwon White uncertain for the season while recovering from a wrestling injury, the Rams look deep enough to at least challenge for a Bull Run District title.
"We don't leave many openings," Proctor said. "The place where we're a little more void is the sprints, and we're not real solid and real deep in the horizontal jumps -- actually none of the jumps, probably. But once we get up to the 400 on up, we're very good -- and the hurdles and the throws. Those are our strengths, and have been."