By Tommy Keeler Jr.
Most sports focus on the team, especially when it's postseason time. Sherando track and field coach Tom Grim knows things are a little different with track and field.
"Right now we're in our individual phase," Grim said. "When we go to districts, we go to win as a team. Now it's all about the individual. If somebody qualified in a couple events we'll ask them, 'Do you want to not do a certain thing so you could be better for that event?' Once we get to this level if we place well, the team will do OK."
Sherando will be one of the three area teams participating in today's Region II track meet at Fluvanna, and placing high as a team will be difficult for any of them.
The Warriors are coming off a second-place finish in the Northwestern District meet, but Grim said there's a lot of strong and fast teams in the region. The girls squad is very young, with only four seniors, and Grim said it should be a great experience for many of the younger athletes.
"They get to see where it is that they gotta go," Grim said. "And they get a first-hand look at what's going on."
One of the athletes who has picked one event to run is Sherando senior Nisha Moore, who will run only in the 800. She won the 800 at the Northwestern District meet, and will focus on that as she tries to make her mark at the state level. She also qualified for the 400 for regionals.
"It's hard to run both. I think she could do well at both, but I think her chances are better at the 800," Grim said. "At the 800, I really like her chances."
Sherando's 4x800 team has already qualified for states, as has Angelique Matthews in the 100 hurdles. On the boys side, Chris Smith has already qualified in the high jump, where he is the defending state champion. Seth Chewey has also qualified in the 800.
Smith has been out for several weeks with a hamstring injury, and Grim said he is hopeful that he can go today.
Grim said he is also hopeful that the boys 4x400 relay team will qualify for states. Sherando junior Alaina Combs was the only two-time winner the Warriors had at the district meet, winning at both the discus and shot put.
Grim said he thinks the weather will help out all of the athletes at the meet.
"This time of the year you start seeing times drop, you start seeing the field events pop out there," Grim said. "Because it's warm you don't have to spend all your energy trying to stay warm. Everything is warm already."
Warren County has 10 athletes participating in the Region II meet, led by Matt Nicholson and Katy Harriman.
Nicholson won the long jump in the Evergreen District meet, and has already qualified for states in that event. He should also have a strong showing in the high jump in regionals.
Harriman has already qualified for states in the high jump, and Warren County coach Kennon Yeck said he expects her to have a strong day in the long jump, high jump and 300 hurdles.
"The other kids finished fourth or fifth in the district and will have a hard time getting out of regionals," Yeck said. "Matt and Katy will be the ones most likely to move on to states."
Skyline only has two athletes in the Region II meet. Shayne Clifton will be in the high jump and shot put. Senior Darius Schmitz will be in the 110 hurdles, the triple jump, high jump and the long jump.
Schmitz, came out for track for the first time this year, and has been a pleasant surprise for coach Steve Burton.
"On the first event of the year he went over 40 feet in the triple jump with about two days of coaching," Burton said. "So we knew the potential was there."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org