By Brad Fauber
STRASBURG -- Strasburg track and field coach Jeff Rudolph made sure to reiterate the importance of a complete team effort in the week leading up to Wednesday's Bull Run District Track and Field Championships.
The Rams' boys team seemed to make that goal a priority. Strasburg got scoring from all over the place on Wednesday evening, and the Rams came through late when it mattered most to claim the Bull Run District championship trophy. The Rams scored a total of 103 points, topping rival Central (93) -- which finished in second place -- by 10 points.
George Mason finished third in the boys competition with 92 points, while Warren County placed fourth with 63 points.
Strasburg's district championship was its first boys title since 1988.
"That was our motivation all week. Each team meeting I brought up that each point counts, and a big thing tonight is that we got almost a point in every area, which was good. That's what we were trying to improve on," said Rudolph, who is in his first year as the Rams' head coach. "We got points in the throws, points in the distance, points in the hurdles. Our goal was points everywhere, and obviously my relay [team] got us at the end."
Manassas Park won an equally competitive meet in the girls events, as the Cougars (125) edged out George Mason (124) by a point. Warren County (63) was third in the girls event, Strasburg (48) was fifth and Central (26) sixth.
Strasburg's boys team held the lead for most of the evening in what proved to be a very competitive race between the Rams, Central and George Mason. Central rallied to take the lead in the boys competition with two events remaining, but Strasburg's distance runners came through in a big way.
Rams sophomore Max Middleton won the 3,200-meter race with a time of 10:22.44, and Brian Scholten and Timmy Wallis finished third and sixth, respectively, in the race to earn a total of 17 points -- and an eight-point Rams lead -- for Strasburg in the event.
Strasburg's boys 4x400 relay team consisting of Michael Conley, Cody Price, Austin Schlentner and Cody Darr then sealed the Rams' win with a second-place (3:40.11), just ahead of Central (3:40.43).
Falcons senior Justin Bauserman was able to close the distance with Darr over the race's final leg, but Darr held him off over the final 200 meters.
"It was a high-paced race the whole time. The team helped out a lot. They all got a lead and I just tried to keep it as much as possible," Darr said. "I could see [Bauserman's] shadow out of the corner of my eye, which made me want to run a little harder."
Darr did his part for the Rams on Wednesday, as he placed fourth (18-10.25) in the long jump and won the 400-meter race with a time of 51.87. Darr also ran the first leg of Strasburg's winning 4x100 relay team (45.43), alongside Tyrik "Papoose" Steed, Conley and Colton Funk.
"It actually went really well today. I came in first in the 400 today and was about .20 [seconds] away from the school record. I've been gunning for that," Darr said.
Bauserman was equally sharp for the Falcons, as he won both the 110-meter hurdles (16.05) and the 300 hurdles (39.83). He also finished second in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, five inches.
Bauserman earned a total of 29.5 points in the meet, second only to George Mason's Michael Addo-Ashong, who earned the district's boys Athlete of the Year honors with 33 total points.
"The 110 [hurdles], I won but I didn't have my best race. I didn't perform at my best," Bauserman said. "The 300s, I wanted to break my record here [39.46, set last season]. ... that one I performed at 110-percent, I ran my butt off.
"At the end of the day, individually I performed decent, not my best. And as a team we also performed decent. It wasn't our best tonight."
Strasburg's Jonathan Kloosterman delivered a big win in the boys discus with a heave of 147 feet, four inches to beat Central's Travis Cooper (144-07) by nearly three feet.
Warren County's boys also got a win in the throws, as Quay Caison beat Central's Josh Gum (44-07.50) in the shot put with a toss of 44-09.75.
The Wildcats got a win from C.J. Sharp in the long jump, as well, as the junior leapt an impressive 20 feet, three inches.
"This kid is quick. At the beginning of the season I told him to come out and jump because he wanted to focus more on the 100 and 200," Wildcats coach Joseph Owens said of Sharp. "He finally came out a couple weeks ago. This was his second time jumping."
Wesley Childress (400, 800) and Nick Myers (1,600, 3,200) each turned in a pair of second-place finishes for the Wildcats.
In the girls meet, Warren County had one district champion, as Rachel Oden won the 1,600-meter race with a time of 5:31.55. The Wildcats also had second place finishes from Oden (800), Crystal Utter (discus) and Scarlet Riehl (high jump).
Central's girls also had one top finisher, as Bethany Neri won the 800 with a time of 2:33.24. Neri also took second in the 1,600.
Strasburg's girls 4x800 relay team -- which consisted of Cheyenne Combs, Kelsey Jenkins, Monique McGough and Payton Miller -- finished second with a time of 11:00.92.
Manassas Park's Tianna Woodson ran away with the Bull Run District Athlete of the Year honors on the girls side, as she racked up a whopping 61 points.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD