Lane, McGill stand out at Handley Invitational

WINCHESTER — Sherando sophomore Davina Lane was the leading points producer among local individuals at the 74th Handley Track and Field Invitational, but a new star crept on the horizon on the warm, windy Saturday. She was Skyline freshman Olivia McGill, who erupted in just the second major competition of her varsity career to claim first-place medals in the 100 and 200 meter dashes at the 20-team event at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Stadium.

Lane scored 23 points to lead her Warriors to a fourth-place finish (54.25 points) among girls teams, while McGill’s acclaim was good for 20 of the Hawks’ 21 tallies. Skyline finished tied for 10th place among girls with Millbrook.

A victory for Trent McCarty in the discus (143-02.50) and a fourth-place finish in the shot (43-08) — good enough for 15 points–helped pace the Warrior boys to sixth place overall (47 scores). This led the local teams, including Skyline, Sherando, Strasburg and Warren County. Strasburg’s Rachel Tischler netted 14 points, while Warren County’s Quay Caison, along with Warriors’ Thomas Powers and Katie Rogers, rounded out the locals’ double-figure scoring with 10 points apiece.

McGill blazed to 12.90 seconds in the 100 and ripped off a 27.11 in the 200 against a day-long stiff breeze that had paper fluttering and leveled times and distance reports. However, Lane won the girls 300 meter hurdles (48.69), finished runner-up in the girls 100 hurdles (16.47) and placed fourth in the girls 200 (28.06). Tischler finished second in the girls 3,200 meter (11:48.73) run and third in the 1,600 (5:34.93). Caison’s throw of 45-07.50 won the shot put.

Powars finished second in the 1,600 (4:43.48) and ran a leg of the 4×800 relay team that finished second with a time of 8:32.8. Rogers finished runner-up in the girls 800 meters (2:432.44) and ran a leg of the second-place Sherando girls 4×800 relay team (10:27.59).

The top eight finishers scored points–10-through-1-from first place on down. Individual medals were awarded to the three top finishing participants in each event. Team trophies were awarded to the top three teams.

Skyline head coach Steve Burton’s assistant coaches Rodger Seemiller and Charlie Dodge have been following McGill’s progress through her middle school career. They knew what they had. They just didn’t know how she would react to the competition and conditions.

“She’s a real filly,” said Seemiller, who covers sprints for the Hawks. “We knew she could run. We just didn’t know how she would respond to this atmosphere. As a young kid with the wind, we didn’t know. But this is just the start. For someone so young [14], she really held it together.”

“She ran into the wind today, so her effort was even more impressive,” said Dodge.

“We all ran our hardest,” McGill said of the competition at the seven-lane Billy Higgs Track and Field complex. “I’m happy I won because I had some really difficult competition.”

McGill competed for the first time on the varsity level at a meet at James Wood earlier in the week against windy, brisk temperatures. She was ready for Saturday’s weather.

“My coach just said to lean into it,” she said. “I was really nervous, but my adrenaline was pumping. I think it was fun for everybody.”

Lane was attracting McGill-type attention while running as a freshman last year. She said the 100 meter hurdles is her main event, but that coaches requested she run the 300 hurdles as well.

“That was kind of a surprise. They put me in there to see how I could do,” she said.

Like Lane, Strasburg’s Tischler is a known quantity. After earning All-State honors in cross-country, the senior is attacking the spring in like fashion.

Tischler has added a strong kick, something she has been working on.

“I used to not know exactly when to kick, but I’ve worked on it, and I think I’m getting better,” she said. “I just go by feel and then try to make up the distance. It’s a lot of fun, knowing you have something to save until the end.”

Indeed, in both the 1,600 and 3,200 she started off well behind the leaders, but caught up gradually as the laps wore on. In the former, she led the bulk of the competitors many yards behind the leader. Finally on her last time around the oval she moved into third behind Loudoun Valley’s Ciara Donohue (5.24.79) and runner-up Taylor Brown of Liberty-Bealeton (5:33.91).

Tischler’s time in the 3,200 puts her effort third on the all-time school list behind two Rams who ran college track after high school, according to Strasburg assistant coach Jeff Rudy.

The Strasburg distance coach is excited to see what Tischler’s final spring holds.

“It was a great start for her. Now it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season holds up. We’re really just beginning,” said the coach.

Even though Caison topped the boys shot put chart, he believes he can improve his status as the spring wears on.

He finished eighth in the 2014 state Group 3A shot put championship, and he is hoping to improve this year.

“I did pretty well. I wasn’t surprised with the result, but I wasn’t happy with the way I was throwing. I’ll keep getting better,” Caison said.

Sherando’s Powars finished second to Potomac Falls’ Chris Galloway (4:37.34) in the 1,600, good enough for eight points. The Sherando junior also ran the second leg of the runner-up boys 4×800 relay. He teamed with Thomas Shea, Jonah Pearson and Jahlil Northover for a time of 8:32.28.

“I thought for our first time in decent weather we did OK,” Sherando assistant coach Jamie McCarty said. “We might look at our girls relay teams and switch things around.”

As a team, Skyline’s girls (21 points) tied Millbrook for 10th place. The Strasburg girls (18) finished in a tie with Hampshire, West Virginia for 12th place. Warren’s girls rounded out the scoring with three scores.

Skyline’s boys finished eighth with 33 points, Strasburg totaled 15.25 for 15th. Warren rounded out the local boys competition with 12 points and 16th place.