By Jeff Nations
STRASBURG -- Central junior Justin Bauserman was doing a bit of clock-watching on Wednesday at the Bull Run District track and field championships.
That's normally no big deal, but in this case Bauserman was gazing at the clock while he was finishing up his 300-meter hurdles event -- maybe even mid-hurdle, but definitely on the closing stretch.
Bauserman had that luxury, being in front, but he admits it might have cost him a bit.
"It was really fast," Bauserman said of the top 300 hurdles heat. "I was watching the clock -- I think if I hadn't been watching the clock, I would've ran a 38, but I was watching it and I wasn't really running."
If so, the rest of the state had better watch out. Already the defending Group A state champion in the 300 hurdles, Bauserman clocked a personal-best 39.46 seconds to win. That time, incidentally, broke the old district record of 39.75 that Bauserman set just last year. Bauserman also added a victory in the 110 hurdles and anchored the Falcons' winning 1,600 relay as Central rolled to a district team championship with 100 points to outpace runner-up Manassas Park (79). Host Strasburg finished fifth with 58 points.
"A lot of times athletes sort of melt when it's a hot meet, but they didn't do that today," Lytton said of Wednesday's sweltering weather. "I was thinking this morning, I didn't get to tell them that this meet is about fifth and sixth-place points. Without me telling them, they realized that's what they had to do. The ones who usually have good days had good days today, and the others stepped up. I'm very proud of them. This is a tough track district."
Clarke County's girls pulled off an improbable victory in the final event, the 1,600 relay, to tie Manassas Park for the girls championship with 126 points each. Central was fourth with 59, and Strasburg took fifth with 38.
Central junior Josh Gum also contributed mightily to the Falcons' team championship despite not having his best day in the throwing area. Gum, the top seed in both events, won the shot put (44 feet, 5.75 inches) and discus (141-05) without equaling his seeding distances.
"A bad day throwing with a championship is better than a good day throwing without it," Gum said. "It's a sour-sweet kind of thing. I came out on top, though, so it worked out at the end."
Bauserman could say the same thing after a less-than-smooth trip in his winning 110 hurdles race. He clocked a winning time of 15.51, but teammate Brandon Ritter made him work for it with a runner-up effort in 15.70.
"I was jumping way too high," Bauserman said. "I noticed that coming down through the straight stretch right about in the middle, so I brought my leg down and I started getting improvement toward the end."
Much of Central's continued success will come from that stellar hurdles duo of Bauserman and Ritter.
"He's a good, good hurdler," Lytton said of Bauserman. "He can be goofing off in practice, but when it's time to run hurdles I mean, he's all business. And Ritter has come with him this year. Ritter's a notorious goof-off in practices, but in the meets he's really come through. And again Max Shaffer snuck in and got some places so he can go to the regional meet."
Like Gum, Strasburg's Rachel Speaker didn't have her best day throwing the discus. Also like Gum, she didn't have to on Wednesday as she recorded the winning distance of 116-09.
"I'm happy that I won, but this is just step one of the postseason," Speaker said. "It's cool to get a win in, but I was looking for a PR. I didn't get it, but that's all right."
Strasburg's Troy Gordon had a typically productive day for the Rams, winning the 100 meters (11.20) and taking second in the 200 and third in the shot put.
Strasburg senior Anthony Wallis also looked to be in fine form, recovering from a second-place effort in the 1,600 (4:37.15) behind Clarke County's Zachary Campbell to easily win the 3,200 later in the day. Wallis clocked a season-best 10:12.20 in the 3,200.
"With competition I probably would have been a little bit faster," Wallis said.
Strasburg coach Glenn Proctor was pleased with his team's performances, and expects the Rams to rise in the rankings as the postseason rolls along.
"We're pleased with where we were, about where we thought we'd be, actually," Proctor said.
Manassas Park's Chuck Moorman was the meet's top male scorer with 42 points, and the Cougars' Tiana Woodson did the same in the girls meet with 41 ½ points. Clarke County's Andre Kidrick was named the Bull Run's Girls Coach of the Year, and Lytton took on the Boys Coach of the Year honors.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>