By Jeff Nations
STRASBURG -- Central track and field coach Rick Lytton delivered a specific, no-nonsense message to his team before Thursday's Shenandoah County Meet.
"I told the kids before the meet that this was the first of the serious meets, that from now on the meets are very important," Lytton said. "And this is a rivalry meet, but it's also a very good warm-up for the district next week.
"We told them to dig down and get a little bit extra, and most of them did."
At the end of the night, Lytton's instructions were just as clear -- don't drop those trophies.
The Falcons hauled away both team trophies by sweeping the annual meet. The Central boys won for the first time since 2001, piling up 88 points to down Strasburg (60), Stonewall Jackson (42) and Massanutten Military Academy (9).
In the girls competition, the Falcons totaled 81 points to top Strasburg (56), Stonewall Jackson (53) and MMA (10).
Freshman Lexi Keller led Central's girls by tallying a meet-best 14 points by winning the 200-meter dash (27.70 seconds) and taking second in the 400 and high jump. The 200 victory came in the second time Keller's ever competed in that event.
"We've talked about her running anything from the 100 to the 3,200," Lytton said. "We're still sort of experimenting with what she's running."
Strasburg senior Troy Gordon topped all rivals with a meet-high 20 points, including victories in the 100 (11.20) and 200 (22.80), a second in the shot put with a personal record toss of 39 feet, 10 inches, and a third place in the high jump. He also helped the Rams to a second-place finish in the 400-meter relay.
Gordon's winning time in the 100 tied a meet record held by Strasburg graduate John Campbell since 2001, and Gordon benefited from having a speedy challenger in Central's Felix Atilano.
"Yeah, it helped me," Gordon said. "He's obviously the competition out here, and it's always good to run against him."
Gordon was originally scheduled to do the long jump and triple jump, but the recent rains scratched those events because the jump pits weren't usable Thursday.
"In most of the explosive, power events he's been our workhorse," Rams coach Glenn Proctor said of Gordon. "The thing is, we didn't have the horizontal jumps today, but if we'd had them he may have won both. And he still comes away with the high-point award."
Central's Justin Bauserman set a new meet record in the 300 hurdles (40.20) and also won the 110 hurdles (15.10). Bauserman also ran the opening leg on the Falcons' first-place 1,600 relay (3:41.20), joining teammates Logan Patrick, Daniel Molina and Brandon Ritter for the victory.
Also winning for Central's boys were Travis Cooper in the discus (137-05), Josh Gum in the shot put (43-07), and the quartet of Molina, Patrick, Atilano and Joey McConkey in the 400 relay (46.30).
Strasburg also got multiple wins from Anthony Wallis in the 1,600 (4:32) and 3,200 (10:24.30), plus a victory by Mark Colson in the 800 (2:08.30).
Stonewall Jackson's boys winners were Will Sterner in the high jump (5-06) and Joshua Misquith in the 400 (57.00).
In the girls meet, Strasburg's throwers were simply dominant. The Rams took the top six places in the discus, with Rachel Speaker winning with a throw of 116-06. Strasburg took five of the top six places in the shot put, as well. Katie Dofermire won that event with a toss of 32-03.50.
Stonewall Jackson had plenty of highlights, as well, including two-time winner Amanda Dotson in the 100 hurdles (18.70) and 300 hurdles (52.80), despite clipping the final hurdle in that event.
"It's exciting, I've never placed at County before, especially first," said Dotson, a junior. "This is something new to me."
The Generals' Ashton Davis also took home an individual county title in the 400 (1:02.20), plus teamed with Cheyenne Crigger, Christina Dinges and Kirsten Maltibano to win the 400 relay (54.60). Stonewall's Kortni Beeson joined Crigger, Davis and Dinges in a first-place effort in the 1,600 relay (4:22.40).
"Today we got hurt because they don't have jumps, and jumps is an area where our girls have been pretty good," Stonewall coach Dick Krol said. "We thought coming in with the girls, if things feel our way, we might have a shot. But again, we needed those jumps."
MMA scored its lone victory in the girls meet, as Selah Applin won the 100 (13.60) despite not running her fastest time of the year.
"I've gotten faster this year, a lot faster," Applin said. "I trained more and started running long distance so I'd be consistent when I run the 100 and not get tired."
Central's overall depth proved too much. Anna Ragland added a win in the high jump (5-00), Katie Ritenour won the 1,600 (5:48.80), Bethany Neri was first in the 800 (2:37.50) and Elsa Garcia won the 3,200 (12:39.90) to help the Falcons win the team title.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>