By Jeff Nations
STRASBURG -- If Rachel Speaker had taken the time to gaze through the chain-link fence out toward the football field during Wednesday's track and field meet at Strasburg, she might have noticed a significant number of her teammates doing ... well, nothing really.
With the Rams prepping for Friday's Wolverine Classic at Woodgrove, a state-qualifying meet, the five-team home meet on Wednesday just wasn't vital enough to wear down many of Strasburg's athletes. That meant an off day for many of the distance runners, and a light day for the sprinters and jumpers.
Speaker knows this -- there are no off days for the throwers.
"We don't get a day off -- we work," Speaker said. "We go to every meet like it's like a state meet, almost. I'm not jealous because they need that break to make sure they get a PR on Friday. For us, it's easier to recover from a meet like this."
That full-time approach paid dividends for the Rams on Wednesday, as Strasburg's girls throwers chipped in a disproportionate amount of points to help their team take first place. Speaker won the discus and Katie Dofermire won the shot put to pace the Rams' throwers, who piled up 36 of their team's 102 points.
The Rams were so dominant in the throws that it almost seemed like a practice day to Dofermire, who won the shot with a toss of 31 feet, 11 inches.
"It really didn't feel like a meet today," Dofermire said. "It's not that we prepared any differently, but especially in the shot it felt like we were competing against our own teammates."
Speaker had a big day, nearly eclipsing her personal best with her winning discus throw (111-03) which came on her last attempt. That nipped teammate Kymbryanna Jackson, who also had a PR (110-04). Then in the shot, Speaker scored a PR of her own (31-01.25) to take second.
"I had one good throw," Speaker said. "I hadn't been throwing shot good in practice, so when I came into the meet today I was a little iffy about it. Then my very last throw, I hit a career PR."
The short-handed Rams were no match for William Monroe (153.5 points) and George Mason (76.5) in the boys competition. Strasburg (46) did top Moorefield (20) and Massanutten Military Academy (10).
"When you have them nicked up like that, you can't hardly use them in a meet like this," Rams coach Glenn Proctor said. "You've got to try and save them for the qualifying kinds of meets, so we did that an awful lot today. Those are things you have to do. Our kids understand why we do it, so they're able to deal with it even though you always like to win and you particularly like to do well when you're at home."
William Monroe's Dakwan Morris had a phenomenal day for the Green Dragons with five individual event wins. Morris took first in all three jumps, as well as the 100- and 200-meter dash.
Strasburg's lone first-place finish in the boys competition came in the 400-meter relay, an event where the Rams were relatively full strength. The quartet of Michael Conley, Cody Darr, Troy Gordon and Rakwon White won in 45.60 seconds.
In the girls competition, Rachel Harriman chipped in a first-place finish in the 800 with a personal-best time of 2:50.50.
"She's run in shorter races, but she's moved up to distance," Proctor said.
Also winning for Strasburg's girls were Brooklyn Amrich in the long jump (13-06.50) and Marissa Sager in the triple jump (27-07.75).
George Mason took second in the girls meet with 73 points, followed by William Monroe (66), Moorefield (36) and MMA (12).
"It's a pleasant surprise, how much we won by," Proctor said. "I know we withheld some kids and limited others, so I'm actually surprised."
Selah Applin had the best day for the small MMA squad, taking second in both the 100 (14.20) and 200 (30.10).
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>