Waters is double winner; Rams take second

STRASBURG — Elijah Waters didn’t run a perfect 300-meter hurdles, but the Strasburg sophomore still had enough to pull out a Conference 35 meet sweep.

Waters won both the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles, but it was in the 300 hurdles that he had his toughest competition. Waters was just able to cross the finish line ahead of Page County’s Kyle Biller with a time of 43.49 seconds.

“I accidentally did less steps than I usually do in between [hurdles], which normally is a good thing, but I did one less instead of two less and I had to switch legs,” Waters said. “So that threw my race off a little bit. I felt [Biller] on the last hurdle and I had to kick it to get first.”

Waters had a little easier time of it in the 110 hurdles, as he won the race in a time of 16.51.

“Technically, probably his best race all year was today,” Strasburg coach Jeff Rudolph said of Waters.

Waters helped the Rams finish second as a team with 105 points. Clarke County won the boys meet with 119 points. Stonewall Jackson finished fifth with 58.

Strasburg placed third in the girls meet with 70 points. George Mason won the meet with 140. Clarke County was second (99) and Stonewall Jackson was sixth (46).

Junior Rachel Funkhouser played a key role in Strasburg’s success as she won the discus with a throw of 116-08, which was also a PR. She also finished fifth in the shot put.

“I just came out ready to play,” Funkhouser said. “I felt really good about all my throws that I did. I’m blessed. I thank God for it.”

Rachel Tischler also had a strong day for the Rams, despite not feeling well. Tischler said she wasn’t sure if she was going to run the 1,600 since she was a little under the weather, but she was happy with how she did. She won the 1,600 with a time of 5:36.84.

She also finished second in the 3,200 (12:10.25), behind George Mason’s Logan Funk. Tischler was in fifth halfway through the race behind a pack of Mustangs, but she able to run all of them down except Funk, in a very close finish.

“I was hoping I’d reel her in, but she had a great race. So kudos to her,” Tischler said. “It was pretty impressive.”

Strasburg’s Cody Darr won the boys 200 in a time of 22.71. Darr, who has already qualified for the state meet in the 200, said he was happy with how he ran in the conference meet.

“My goal was to get my time down,” Darr said. “I felt like I got off to a pretty good start, which is always a nice thing to have.”

Stonewall Jackson had a solid day in both boys and girls as well.

Freshman Wade Banks won the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 8 inches. The jump was a personal best for the transfer from the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Banks and teammate Isaac Blank, who finished fifth, have been doing well in the event all season.

“It’s kind of good to have someone on your own school to go against — just to motivate you,” Banks said of Blank. “He’s jumped 5-08 before, so I wanted to jump 5-08 so I could be up there with him.”

Stonewall Jackson senior Derrick Smith had a strong day as well. He finished fifth in the 200 (24.00), second in the 100 (11.79) and won the 400 (52.20).

Smith and Madison County’s De’Ondre Twyman were battling near the finish line, but Smith was able to hold him off for the win. Smith said he learned from the 100-meter race.

“I was mad. I should have pulled out the 100,” Smith said. “I knew what the times were coming into the 100, so I think it was in my head a little bit. I was just a little slow out of the blocks, just a little tired and slow in general. The 400 I said I’m not even bothering looking at the times. I just went out and ran.”

Stonewall Jackson’s Hayley Gibson won the 800 with a time of 2:29.90, a new PR.

Gibson has already qualified for the state meet in the 800, and said she tried to use the conference meet as a warm-up.

“I’m just getting ready for states, because I’ve already qualified and I’m ready to go,” Gibson said.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com