By Jeff Nations
Sherando track and field coach Tom Grim expects points to be at a premium in today's Northwestern District meet, and the longtime Warriors coach has left no stone unturned in his search for scoring possibilities.
No matter how he stacks it, though, Grim doesn't think Sherando's boys will have the firepower to compete for the team championship. The girls' competition, however, is a different story.
"If I had to be a betting man, I'd say it's probably between James Wood and Handley in the boys meet," Grim said. "And on the girls side, I think it's going to be a dogfight between probably us, Handley and Millbrook."
Sherando's boys took a serious hit when talented jumper Chris Smith tweaked his hamstring just more than a week ago. Smith, the defending Group AA state high jump champion, had already missed some time this year with "jumper's knee." The hamstring issue came up in practice.
"It wasn't like he was trying to do something new," Grim said. "It was just a simple workout and he felt something pop."
Smith won't compete in today's district meet, and the Warriors are already shorthanded due to a spate of injuries among their sprinters.
Sherando still has solid scoring potential, in spots. The Warriors look solid in the distance relays, where they hold the top seeding time in both the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. Senior Seth Chewey is the top seed in the 800 with an area-best time of 1:58.70, and teammate James Reese rates second in the 3,200.
The Warriors' real strength is on the girls' side, and much of that is depth.
"We've got a few we can win, but we'll definitely place," Grim said. "We're going to score points in just about every event, and we should place pretty good in some of them."
Junior Alaina Combs could provide a big lift for Sherando in the throws, where she rates as the top seed in both the shot put and discus. Combs and teammate Rachel Dixon form a potent 1-2 punch in the discus for the Warriors.
Sophomore Laurel Morton ranks as the top seed in the triple jump, and Angelique Matthews should contend for the long jump championship. Nisha Moore should go head-to-head with James Wood's Amber Hawkins for the 800 title, while Leah Avery is among a group of freshman vying for the 200 crown.
That group, plus others, are being counted on to produce. To get even more out of his roster, Grim did a little creative scheduling. Moore will also run in the 100 and Matthews will compete in the 200 to try and boost Sherando's point total.
Skyline simply doesn't have the numbers to compete for a district crown, but the Hawks have several athletes capable of making some noise in the meet at Handley. Among them are hurdler/jumper Darius Schmitz and sprinter Deante Hogan, plus throwers Kare Summers-Butler and Anthony Meador.
In the girls meet, Shayne Clifton will compete for points in all the jumps and both throws for the Hawks.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>