By Tommy Keeler Jr.
ELKTON -- Central went from jubilation to heartbreak in the blink of an eye.
The Falcons' boys track squad needed only four points, which is a fourth-place finish, in the 1,600 relay. The Falcons had the second best time going into the meet, and set their sights on finishing fourth in their race -- and they did. However, Clarke County's 1,600 relay team had a better time (3:35.93) in the previous heat pushing Central to fifth and a second-place team finish in Wednesday's Region B boys track meet.
Dan River won the boys meet with 48 points, while Central finished with 47. Central didn't realize they had lost until it was announced at the trophy presentation. Central coach Rick Lytton said he was still happy with how the team did.
"I was coming in hoping to be in the top three," Lytton said.
Central started off strong in the 1,600 relay, but faded to sixth when Justin Bauserman took the baton for the final 400 meters. Bauserman passed two runners, and held on for what he thought would be good enough for the win in a time of 3:36.25.
"I was sixth and I ran up through the middle of two people and got in front of them and kept in front of them," Bauserman said. "Buffalo Gap [runner] was catching me a little bit at the end, but I held him off."
Overall it was a very good day for Bauserman who won both the 110 and 300 hurdles. Bauserman is the defending Group A state champion in the 300 hurdles. A slow start in the event almost cost him on Wednesday.
"I got on the blocks and I felt like I was really slow," Bauserman said. "And [Manassas Park's] Ryan [Kolb], as soon as I hit the first hurdle he was right beside me and I was like, 'I gotta run faster.' Once I started doing that, I nailed a ton of hurdles."
Bauserman said once he hit the back straightaway he felt better about things, but he still had to give a little something extra at the end to hold off East Rockingham's John Wright.
"[Wright] pulled back up to me and then we were getting over the [final] hurdle," Bauserman said. "I had to get past him or he was going to pass me if I didn't, so I kind of jumped through the finish line."
Bauserman's 15.24 was good enough to win the 110 hurdles, and his teammate Brandon Ritter placed third (15.72) in the event.
One of the biggest surprises of the day came from Strasburg's Troy Gordon, who won the 100 with a time of 11.19.
A quick start was key for the Strasburg senior.
"I tried not to let my nerves get the best of me," Gordon said. "I knew if I was going to do good I'd have to beat everybody off the start. I got a good start and once I had a good start I just wanted to keep my speed and get the win."
Gordon also finished third in the 200 (22.92).
Strasburg's Rachel Speaker also picked up a regional win in the discus (119-10). She said it was a good feeling to win her first regional title.
"It's huge," Speaker said. "Regjon B -- they're known for like being tough and some of the best athletes come out of here. So, just to win it -- that's pretty nice. It's definitely a confidence booster going into next week."
Central's Josh Gum finished second in the shot put (46-11.50) and third in the discus (150-03).
Strasburg's Anthony Wallis was third in the 1,600 (4:36.57).
Stonewall Jackson's Ashton Davis finished second in the 400 (1:01.23), just ahead of third-place Lexi Keller, from Central (1:01.49). Stonewall Jackson's Andrew Roy was third in the 800 (2:05.08). Strasburg's Rachel Taylor was third in the 3,200 (12:54.74) and Mark Colson placed second in the boys 3,200 (10:28.56).
Manassas Park won the girls meet with 79 points, while Wilson Memorial was second with 76. Central finished sixth with 23, Stonewall Jackson was eighth (20) and Strasburg ninth (19). Strasburg was sixth in the boys meet (33).
Lytton said this was a good meet to help prepare his team for next week's Group A state meet, which will be held at Radford University.
"I think if everybody performs like today, and like they're capable of, we'll do next week also," Lytton said.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org