Davis shines for Generals: Rams boys wins conference 35 title

By Brad Fauber

STRASBURG — Stonewall Jackson senior Ashton Davis entered Tuesday’s Conference 35 Track and Field Championships at Strasburg High School with some lofty goals. And she accomplished all of them.

Davis, who dabbled in a bit of everything for the Generals on Tuesday, solidified her qualification for the Group 2A state meet in all five of her events, set a few personal records and finally captured a season-long goal.

While Davis shined individually for Stonewall Jackson, Strasburg was busy putting together another stellar group effort in the boys competition. The Rams — last week’s Bull Run District champion — claimed the first-ever Conference 35 championship on Tuesday by winning with a final team score of 145 points. George Mason (121) finished second, followed by Madison County (70), Clarke County (69), Stonewall Jackson (50), Page County (31) and Luray (9).

Strasburg was also solid in the girls competition, as the Rams (98) finished second to runaway winner George Mason (181). Stonewall (85) was third, followed by Clarke County (72), Madison County (34), Luray (13) and Page County (9).

Davis began her busy day for Stonewall Jackson by placing second in the girls long jump with a personal-best leap of 16 feet. She then won the triple jump with a season-best mark of 34 feet, five inches. Davis also came in second (27.58 seconds) in the 200-meter race and ran the final leg for the Generals’ 4×400 relay that finished second with a season-best mark of 2:21.48.

But it was her performance in the 400-meter race that meant the most for Davis, as she finally broke the one-minute barrier with a winning time of 59.54 seconds.

“I was playing it safe by staying behind so I could catch her on the end,” said Davis, who just edged out George Mason’s Tara Holman (59.59). “I had no idea that I would’ve gotten a sub-60. I almost started crying when I got it, I was so happy. That was one of my main goals, and also my other main goal was to go to states in all my events. I did that today, too.”

Strasburg senior Matt Clutter had a solid day of his own for the Rams’ boys. Clutter won the high jump (5-08) as he beat out Stonewall Jackson’s Andrew Roy (5-08), and he was also second in the triple jump (season-best 38-06.50) and a “surprising” sixth in the long jump (18-03.50).

“Today was a pretty good day. … It felt like a good day today,” Clutter said. “Everything finally started clicking. A great thanks to my [jumps] coach [Emily Brandon] for coaching me the right way. Everything that she knows has definitely helped.”

Rams senior Jonathan Kloosterman won the boys discus with a toss of 141 feet, 10 inches, topping teammate and second-place finisher Trenton Davis (133-10) by eight feet.

Strasburg’s 4×100 relay team — consisting of Cody Darr, Tyrik “Papoose” Steed, Michael Conley and Colton Funk — won with a time of 46.08 seconds, and the Rams also got a win from sophomore Max Middleton in the 3,200-meter race. Middleton finished win a time of 10:41.18.

“I was definitely happy with it. I just wish I could get a little faster in the mile, so I can qualify,” said Middleton, who also finished second in the 1,600-meter with a time of 4:47.35. “My main goal is just to get to states with the two mile.”

Stonewall Jackson junior Derrick Smith also showcased his speed in the short distance events for the Generals boys on Tuesday, as he won both the 100-meter and 200-meter (23.57 seconds) races. His time of 11.51 seconds in the finals of the 100 qualified him for the state meet.

“The 100 was the first time I’ve run it since eighth grade I believe. I’ve been asking coach [Dick Krol] if I could run it and he finally let me run it,” said Smith, who also ran the final leg of the Generals’ 4×400 relay. “I actually ran a 11.50 in eighth grade, so I was hopefully shooting for that at least.”

In the girls competition, Strasburg continued its dominance in the throwing events. The Rams swept the top-three of the discus, as Taylor Showalter led the way with a heave of 103 feet, four inches, followed by teammates Rachel Funkhouser (100-06) and McKenna Orndorff (98-03). Orndorff also finished second in the shot put with a toss of 33-02.25.

“I actually enjoy watching, especially the discus throwers. Coach Tommy [Simmons] has done such a great job with them,” Rams head coach Jeff Rudolph said. “They’re relaxed, and to me they look too relaxed for throwers, because I like aggressive throwers. But they get the job done and it looks nice.”

Strasburg’s girls also got a win from Morgan Carter in the 3,200-meter race. Carter, who had her eye on a state qualifying time on Tuesday, accomplished the feat with a winning time of 12:27.46.

“The key was keeping to the strategy, following my splits and staying mentally strong,” said Carter, who also finished second (personal-best 5:46.36) in the 1,600. “I was a little nervous racing the mile and the two-mile. I really wanted to qualify for states officially today, so that was my main goal.”

Stonewall Jackson’s Angela Misquith also turned in a win for the Generals, as she won the 300 hurdles with a state-qualifying time of 51.36 seconds.

In addition his second-place finish in the boys high jump, Stonewall’s Andrew Roy was second in the 800 (state qualifying time of 2:05.47) and third in the 1,600 (4:52.43).

The Region 2A East Track and Field Championships are scheduled to be held next Wednesday at Monticello High School in Charlottesville.

Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com