By Jeff Nations
Strasburg track and field coach Glenn Proctor got a first-hand look at what rival Central is capable of at last week's Shenandoah County meet.
The Falcons have standout talent and plenty of depth, both of which they flashed in abundance in sweeping the annual county competition.
"They have so much depth," Proctor said. "On the boys side, they get you with silver dollars and half dollars. Now what happens on the girls side, they kind of nickel and dime and quarter you to death. They score so many points with their depth -- they just have so much of it, and quality depth."
Central gets to test that depth again at today's Bull Run District meet at Strasburg. In the girls competition, the Falcons will have to contend with a solid Manassas Park squad, as well as always-tough Clarke County and the absolute dominance of Strasburg's throwers.
In last week's county meet, the Rams swept the top six places in the discus and took five of six spots in the shot put. Rachel Speaker leads the solid discus group, while Katie Dofermire has been the most consistent in the shot.
"That's the name of the game for us," Proctor said. "Those girls are our hope in the district, and the region and the state. I don't know how many of them we can get through, but clearly those girls in the throws are our anchor."
Central's girls counter with a more balanced approach. The Falcons are capable of scoring across the board.
"We're sprinkled here and there," Central coach Rick Lytton said. "Our best individual overall would be Lexi Keller in the jumps. In the middle distance races Annie Jadot is running well. And then our distance runners in the 1,600 and 800, they are running well. Then we have one girl in the 3,200, Heather Landes, and she will do well in that. She's already qualified for the state meet in that event."
As solid as Central's girls look to be, the Falcons are even more imposing on the boys' side. Central has defending state champions in hurdler Justin Bauserman and 800 specialist Logan Patrick, but that's far from it. Bauserman has his own running mate in Brandon Ritter, who usually makes the hurdles a 1-2 finish for Central.
"They both have elevated our third hurdler, Max Shaffer," Lytton said. "Of all the boys, he has been the most pleasant surprise because last year was his first year as a hurdler. He has come a long, long way."
The Falcons can also count on big points in the throws, where Josh Gum in both the shot and discus, and Travis Cooper in the discus are looking like solid state contenders.
Proctor thinks the Falcons should be the team to beat, and not just at the district level.
"I think Central is good enough that they can win it all," Proctor said. "I really think they've got a shot at winning it all. I'm really impressed with them."
Strasburg's hopes largely rest with senior sprinter/jumper Troy Gordon and distance specialists Anthony Wallis and Mark Colson. At last week's Shenandoah County meet, Gordon was the top point scorer even without getting to compete in the cancelled horizontal jumps.
"We've got some people who can definitely place if not win a Bull Run District championship," Gordon said. "That's my goal, for myself, is to try to win a district championship."
Proctor thinks Gordon has more than one shot to bring home a title for the Rams.
"He's going to be our top dog we have in the fight," Proctor said. "With that being said, I would never discount Anthony Wallis and Mark Colson. Clearly those three are our top guys."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>