Central boys run away with district crown
STRASBURG – A season full of success for Central’s boys track and field team had Falcons coach Rick Lytton a little leery about his team’s focus entering Wednesday’s Bull Run District Championships at Strasburg High School. The Falcons proved those concerns were unfounded.
Central showed off its depth yet again in the eight-team meet, as the Falcons boys rolled to a team championship with a final score of 146 points. That score easily eclipsed second-place William Monroe (79) and more than doubled that of third-place Strasburg (64.5), the two-time defending district champion.
“We had some very, very good performances today, which I was a little bit afraid that they would take winning the thing for granted,” Lytton said. “But I don’t think they did. They performed very well as a whole.”
George Mason (138) cruised to a win in the girls championship in similar fashion. Warren County (76) was third, followed immediately by Central (65) and Strasburg (47).
Central’s boys had three individuals claim Bull Run District titles on Wednesday, while also winning both the 4×400 and 4×800 relays.
Senior Wyatt Robinson had a direct hand in three of those six championships, as he won the 1,600-meter and contributed to both winning relays. Robinson ran the second leg of the 4×400 – the final event of the evening – which the Falcons won with a time of 3:36.08, a new season best. Robinson was joined by teammates Carston Shockey, Kyle Clanton and Coy Jimenez.
Robinson began his day by running the anchor leg of the Falcons’ 4×800 relay – which included A.J. Crider, Mason Lucy-Speidel and Sawyer Lucy-Speidel – during which he erased nearly 100 meters of distance between himself and Strasburg’s Aaron Walker – built by the Rams’ Dylan Campbell, Matt Chimento and Ryan Davis – over two laps. Trailing Walker by less than 50 meters entering the final turn, Robinson kicked into a sprint over the final 200 meters and streaked past Walker to the finish line for a winning time of 8:45.30.
Robinson used a similar kick in the closing 200 meters of the 1,600-meter run to overcome George Mason’s Ryan Henderson.
“No matter what the distance, I always try to catch the next person,” Robinson said. “I think my coach called out a 10-second time in between me and (Walker in the 4×800) when I got the baton. No matter the distance, no matter the runner, I’m always trying to get there and I think that’s why I love going anchor for the four-by-eight because I love the catch-up. That’s how I always do my best.”
The freshman Clanton got Central’s boys rolling on Wednesday, as he made good on his top seed in the boys long jump to come away with a winning leap of 20 feet, 2 inches. But he needed his final jump of the day to do it.
“I was losing at that final jump and then I came away with that final jump, so I had to do something,” said Clanton, who also placed third in the 400-meter run and fourth in the 100-meter dash. “I had to go all out and jump my best. I have a good coach, that’s one of the good things.”
Jimenez continued his strong season by winning the 400 (51.55 seconds), while also placing second in the 100 (11.33) and third in the discus (125-06). Saxon Franklin added third-place finishes in the long jump, triple jump and 200-meter dash for Central.
Strasburg didn’t win any team hardware on their home track, but the Rams did sweep the High Point MVP honors claimed by Grace Davis and Elijah Waters.
Waters won the boys 110-meter high hurdles (15.42) but was edged out by Madison County’s De’Ondre Twyman in the 300 hurdles, as his 41.88 fell just short of Twyman’s 41.69. Waters also placed second in the 200 and was fourth in the long jump.
“It’s really nice having people that are really pushing you because those are the same guys I’m gonna see the rest of the season,” Waters said. “I’m gonna see (Twyman) at conference. I’m gonna see him at regionals. Knowing that they’re that fast is gonna make me run a little bit faster. Especially getting beat. He ran a really good race.”
Davis won the lone district title for Strasburg’s girls, as she placed first in the long jump with a leap of 16-00.75. The sophomore was third in the 200 and fourth in both the triple jump and 100.
“She really performs with the competition,” Rams head coach Emily Brandon said. “You have those kids that will perform when it’s small duel meet, but then you have kids like Grace where she thrives off that competition. And that’s really, I think, how she’s been winning high point. … With her really stepping up in these big meets, that’s really been key for us as a team.”
Strasburg senior Joshua Runion gave the Rams three total district champions when he won the boys discus with a throw of 131 feet, 5 inches. Runion entered Wednesday as the top seed.
Warren County finished the evening with one champion, as sophomore Cor’shauna Cunningham took home first place in the girls shot put. Her throw of 33-05.50 beat Strasburg’s Rachel Funkhouser, the top seed, by over 9 inches.
“It was pretty fun,” Cunningham said. “It was some thinking about it too much, and then you realize that you have to relax and not think about it, just go with it and let it fly. Because once you get it down pat and not worry about it or get so nervous, it goes. It goes really well.”
Wildcats junior Diamond Maldonado placed second in the girls long jump and the 100. She also ran a leg of Warren County’s 4×100 relay – alongside Mackenzie Perry, Taryn Post and Caile Broy – that placed second, as well as the Wildcats’ third-place 4×400 relay (which included Nichole Rittgers, Victoria Partin and Rebecca Ranney).
“We were real happy with was (Maldonado) was doing today,” Wildcats coach Joseph Owens said. “We’ve had to rest her a little bit with shin splints and stuff this season. She wasn’t super excited about her mark in the long jump but it was just nice to get her out here and jumping, because she hasn’t jumped in the last couple. It’s nice to get her out there and kind of build back up.”
Central’s girls claimed two individual champions, as Cianne Fields pulled out a win in the triple jump (32-06.00) while Kila Watson beat the top-seeded Funkhouser in the girls discus with a throw of 117 feet.
“I actually wasn’t (expecting to win),” Watson said. “We were working, my form was a little messed up and we were working on it. I was just expecting to get like over 100 today and do pretty solid for myself.”
Warren County’s Quay Caison was second in the boys shot put, while Jacqui Ris was second in the girls 3,200. Post and Partin were second and third in the girls 300 hurdles.
Central’s Donovan Armstrong placed second in the boys 110 hurdles, while Phillip Dysart was third in both hurdle events. Strasburg’s Stephen Kloosterman tied for third in the boys high jump, while Ryan Day was third in the shot.
Central’s Tycara Scott was third in the shot put, while the Falcons’ Casey Rubenstein, Brooke Ryman and Monica Martinez were each third in the girls discus, long jump and 3,200, respectively.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org