By Tommy Keeler Jr.
HARRISONBURG --It all came together.
Central senior Josh Gum had not been having the kind of season he wanted leading up to the Group 3A state track and field meet on Saturday at Harrisonburg High School. However late in the week, Gum started to feel a little better about his chances in the discus on Saturday and it showed.
"Just the last two days have been great," Gum said. "I came in [Friday] and threw a consistent 145. I only threw like 10 and [Central assistant] coach [Mike Yew] was like go home, and I came in here confident. I think most of it was just confidence. I wasn't confident the whole year. I've been up and down."
Gum's confidence shined on Saturday as he finished second in the discus and broke a school record, which was held by teammate Travis Cooper.
Gum threw a 156-00, and Cooper threw a 145-08 to place third. Culpeper's Matt Chavers won the event with a throw of 156-07.
"When it came off I knew it was going to be good, but unfortunately it was seven inches shorter than what I needed," Gum said. "All in all it was a good day. I got a PR, and broke a school record. That's fine for me at states."
The combo of Gum and Cooper helped lead Central to a 10th place finish (22 points) in the boys meet.
Cooper, who was the top seed in the discus, said he was hoping to have a better throw, but he was still happy with how he did, especially being a senior.
"Anytime you place in a state meet it's a good way to go out, Cooper said. "So, you can't really be that mad about getting third place in the discus."
Central senior Justin Bauserman didn't go out like he wanted to, but still placed twice for the Falcons.
Bauserman, the two-time Group A champion, finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (40.43), where he was the top seed entering the finals.
Central moved up to the Group 3A level this season, and Bauserman said the competition is certainly better.
"When you move up like this you're going to get better competition -- and I found it," Bauserman said. "These kids are good. They're fast. I respect them for that.
"I did the best that I could."
Bauserman placed sixth in the 110 hurdles (15.61), despite knocking over the second hurdle.
Even though he didn't win in the 300 hurdles, Bauserman was very happy about what he's been able to accomplish in four years at Central. Bauserman is second all-time in the 110 hurdles, and has the 300 hurdles school record.
"Im glad to have an impact on the school," Bauserman said. "That's definitely what I want to do before I graduate, definitely put my name or impact in the school."
Warren County finished tied for 28th in the girls meet as Crystal Utter placed sixth in the discus on Friday with a throw of 109-01.
Central's 4x800 relay team of Heather Landes, Lexi Keller, Emily Walker, and Bethany Neri finished 14th and set a school record with a time of 10:33.50 on Friday.
"We couldn't ask much more from them," Central coach Rick Lytton said.
Neri finished 15th in a time of 5:36.50 in the 1,600 on Saturday.
Warren County's Quay Caison placed eighth in the shot put (45-08.25) on Friday. Warren County's Wesley Childress was 14th in the 800 (2:02.38).
Skyline's Jamal Parker was 11th in the long jump (19-09.75).
The 3A girls event was won by Blacksburg with 85 points. The 3A boys meet was won by Christiansburg with 70 points.
Lytton said he was very proud of how his team performed throughout the two-day event.
"We're very excited about how things went," he said. "Overall, we're very pleased with how we performed."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd