Skyline’s McGill breaks invitational record


WINCHESTER – For 48 years the annual H. Brian Landes Apple Blossom Invitational has been the unofficial arbiter of spring, not to mention the kickoff for the festival that takes place here once a year.

And now, after all that time and all those runners,  Skyline High School is home to the fastest girl that ever ran here – sophomore Olivia McGill, who set the ABI 100-meter dash record Saturday with a time of 12.24.

That record speed not only was the all-time meet mark at James Wood High School’s track, but was better than the time she set at the 2015 Virginia High School League Group 3A state championship (12.63). Her personal best remains 12.17.

“It’s really something,” said Skyline head coach Steve Burton. “This meet has been around a long time. It’s a prestigious thing to win here and set the record.”

McGill was one of the local winners in this 22-team meet, drawing high school track and field teams from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Most events were competed in flights with the best times and distances earning points from first- to fifth-place.

Host James Wood won the girls side of the meet with 84 points compared to Sherando and Rock Ridge (45 apiece). Handley scored 23 tallies, Strasburg 19, Millbrook 13, Skyline 11 and Warren County 4, among others.

On the boys’ side Millbrook (64) claimed the first-place trophy ahead of runnerup Sherando (41), James Wood 23 and Skyline 8, among others.

While McGill earned what appeared to be the only record set on a day that started with sprinkles only to usher in afternoon sunshine, other locals plied their trades well, too.

In a change from last season, when Strasburg’s girls distance runners set the stage for the Rams’ women’s effort, this season the leaders for the girls’ team are senior shot and discus throwers Rachel Funkhouser and Miley Hupp.

Funkhouser has already qualified in the Group 2A state championship for her third consecutive season. She finished second in the discus at the end-season tournament last year.

On Saturday, Funkhouser’s shot-put throw of 34 feet, 6 inches earned her third place.

She came back with a throw of 112-01 in the discus for the runnerup medal.

Teammate Hupp finished fourth in the disus with a throw of 105-10. Hupp, as a junior, just missed scoring points for the Rams in the state tournament last year

Strasburg coach Emily Brandon said the girls are best friends and among the best leaders on the team.

Both mentioned longtime weights coach Tommy Simmons for their good fortune this spring.

“You’ve got to credit Coach Simmons. He’s built a legacy here and we owe a lot to him,” said Hupp.

“I just use what Tommy Simmons teaches us and it works,” added Funkhouser.

Sherando’s boys and girls’ teams received the most points among the coverage-area teams. They depended on popular names.

On the girls’ side, junior Davina Lane won the 100 and 300 meters hurdles.

Lane ran a 14.99 in the 100, almost tying her personal best (14.97) set at last year’s Group 4A state championship meet. She came back in the 300, clocking a time of 47.25 seconds for first place. She owns the school record in the event, a 44.63 time at states.

When she crossed the finish line in the 300, she let out a whimper of frustration. “Oh, my goodness!” she exclaimed.

“I was tired. I had to practically just hop over the last hurdle,” Lane said.

Lane had thought about going home after her 100-meter feat, but her mother, Tiffany, talked her into hanging around for the 300.

“‘Don’t go, you’re on fire’,” is what she told me,” said Lane.

Sherando’s Olivia Couillard finished second in the 3,200 meter run, timing 11:57.66

For the Sherando boys, Jacquari Hayes won the long jump (21-02.75) and finished third in the 100 meter dash (11.47).

Trevor Whiteside chose only to run the 1,600 meters. He won it with a time of 4:25.62. Teammate Thomas Shea finished fifth in the event.

The Sherando team of Thomas Powars, Billy Brown, Garrett Allegra and James Kelly placed fourth in the 3,200-meter relay with a time of 8:44.57.

Shot putter Isaiah Allen of the Warriors threw 49-08 to finish second in the event.

Skylne’s Landon Holben finished third in the 400-meter dash, running 52.17.