Top performers back on track

By Jeff Nations

WOODSTOCK — Ashton Davis had no complaints on Monday.

The Stonewall Jackson High School senior, like everyone else at Monday’s six-team match at Central, made her long-awaited outdoor season debut on a day that almost felt like spring. That Davis, a runner and jumper, was still getting dialed in for the upcoming year was a small matter.

“Before today, I hadn’t put my run-throughs and my pop-ups together,” Davis said of her jumps. “I think I did well, I might’ve placed.”

Davis did indeed place in both the long jump (second) and triple jump (third), plus won the 400-meter run and took second in the 200 before capping her night with a dazzling anchor leg on the Generals’ 1,600 relay.

Central coach Rick Lytton also had plenty to smile about Monday, as the Falcons won the boys competition with 132 points to outpace George Mason (100), Skyline (93), Clarke County (78), Warren County (56) and Stonewall Jackson (28).

In the girls meet, George Mason won with 171 points. Central was second with 70, followed by Clarke (68), Stonewall (65), Warren County (57) and Skyline (43).

Central had its own standout cap the night in the boys 1,600 relay, as Justin Bauserman ran a blistering anchor to chase down three teams and help the Falcons to finish second.

“I was very, very impressed with that as early as it is,” Lytton said of Bauserman’s final relay leg. “I’m glad the meet ended when it did. It’s much colder than when we started, and I always worry about a possible injury when it gets cold like this.”

Bauserman, a two-time defending state champion in the 300 hurdles, easily won that event in 42.40 seconds as well as the 110 hurdles (16.00).

The Falcons also had a strong day in the throws, where Josh Gum won the shot put (46 feet, 3 inches) and took second to teammate Travis Cooper in the discus. Cooper won that event with a throw of 139-10. Central also picked up an individual win from Daniel Molina in the 200 (24.40).

Skyline flashed a retooled group that looked heavy on speed. The Hawks scored a victory in the 400 relay (47.20) and got a win from Jamal Parker in the long jump (19-03.50).

“We have some of our basketball players who’ve put in some time this year with the track team,” Burton said. “Really, they came out for track to help themselves with basketball and are finding that, ‘Oh yeah, I’m pretty good.'”

Not to be outdone, Skyline’s 3,200 relay of Luke Cline, Demetry Arnold, Tanner Steed and Geraldo Sierra also posted a win in 9:15.60.

“I have nine distance runners, which I’ve never had,” Hawks distance coach Mike Tanner said. “I’m glad to have so many kids come out.”

Warren County’s Nicholas Myers tallied the Wildcats’ lone boys victory in the 3,200 (10:56.00).

Clarke County’s Justin Dulaney had a spectacular season debut, winning the 100, high jump and triple jump. Other boys winners were George Mason’s Alec White in the 400, Preston Custer in the 800, and Truman Custer in the 1,600. The Mustangs also scored a victory in the boys’ 1,600 relay.

In the girls meet, Stonewall’s Davis did much of her damage on the track despite running in the opening “slow” heat in both the 400 and 200. Davis was second in the 200 behind George Mason’s Tara George after earlier winning the 400 in 1:00.90.

“It was a good race,” Davis said of the 400. “I got out really fast. I might have died a little bit in the last 50, but overall I couldn’t have asked for anything better in a first race. My 200, it’s not really my race, but I felt a lot of power it in it. It felt good, it felt fast.”

Stonewall coach Dick Krol thought Davis and some of his other athletes should’ve been facing stiffer competition but were instead seeded in the slower heats.

“She should’ve been up there with more competition,” Krol said. “Same thing with the 200 — they put her in the slow heat.”

Davis got her revenge with that blazing final leg in the 1,600 relay as she and teammates Cheyanne Crigger, Cheyanne Green and Amanda Dotson took home the win in 4:37.00.

Warren County’s 3,200 relay of Claire Morrow, Fiona Sayers, Rachel Oden and Jacklyn Rankin won in 11:18.50 and the Wildcats got an individual win from Crystal Utter in the discus (92-10).

“It went well,” first-year Wildcats coach Joseph Owens said. “This was a really good meet for us to kind of gauge where we’re at as a team. As with everybody else, we’ve had some struggles with the weather and just trying to get out there and put in a full week.”

Central’s Lexi Keller beat Clarke’s Allegra Eyles in a jump-off to win the high jump (4-08), and Skyline’s Shayne Clifton won the triple jump (31-07.50).

Tara Holman led a strong George Mason contingent with wins in both the 100 and 200.

Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or jnations@nvdaily.com>