Waters shines in Shenandoah County meet

Strasburg's Elijah Waters clears the final hurdle in the boys 110 hurdle event during the Shenandoah County track meet Monday in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily
Central's Wyatt Robinson runs the last leg of the 4x800 relay race during the county track meet Monday at Strasburg High School. Central's boys team won the event and set a county record in the event. Rich Cooley/Daily
Strasburg's Elijah Waters won first place in the long jump Monday at the Shenandoah County meet in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily
Stonewall's Hayley Gibson runs the final leg of the 4x800 relay during the Shenandoah County track meet Monday at Strasburg High School. Rich Cooley/Daily
Central's Coy Jiminez runs by the competition to win the 100-meter dash Monday during the Shenandoah County meet in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily
Central's Saxon Franklin leaps during the long jump competition last week at the Shenandoah County track meet in Strasburg. The Falcons are one of the favorites in the Bull Run District meet on Wednesday at Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County meet was the first meet back from injury for Elijah Waters. The Strasburg junior came back in style by winning three events in the meet.

Waters was the top scorer in the meet to help the Rams finish second as a team.

“It’s great. It’s just nice, not only like the individual thing, it’s nice that I got points for my team because that’s really what you come out here as an athlete to do,” Waters said. “You need to get points for your team. It’s not about you. It’s a team sport.”

Central won both the boys and girls meet, which started on Monday at Strasburg. Heavy rain suspended the meet until Wednesday, where it moved to Central.

Waters wasn’t the only Strasburg athlete to shine in the meet. Strasburg’s Grace Davis was the top point scorer on the girls side.

Central’s boys team finished with 123 points, while Strasburg was second with 79. Stonewall Jackson was third (35) and Massanutten Military Academy was fourth (4). In the girls meet, Central had 98 points, Stonewall Jackson had 51 points, followed by Strasburg (47) and MMA (17).

Waters won the boys 110-meter hurdles (15.1) on Monday in his first race in over two weeks. Waters suffered a hamstring injury two weeks ago and hadn’t been able to practice or perform at meets.

“I was a little nervous actually, most nervous I’ve probably been since the first meet of the year,” Waters said. “I got on the line, I didn’t act nervous I acted confident. I went out there and probably didn’t do my best, but I ran a good time.”

Things were much more complicated on Wednesday in the boys 300-meter hurdles. Waters said he was feeling sick throughout the day, and he faced some tough competition from Central’s Phillip Dysart. The pair were in a tight battle that came down to the wire. Waters (41.27) was able to edge Dysart, but the pair collided with each other as they crossed the finish line and fell down.

“I came in feeling sick and then I got on the line and everyone talking to me, joking around, having fun — I felt a lot better. I think that definitely helped me in the 300-meter hurdles, especially to have someone push me,” Waters said. “Because I was just going to cruise and he was running fast today, so I got to about the 200-meter mark and I had to give everything I had or else I knew he was going to beat me. So I had to push myself a lot.”

Waters also won the long jump (20-03.75) on Monday and placed third in the 200-meter dash (24.81). Central’s Saxon Franklin won the 200 (23.93) to cap off a strong meet for him.

Franklin also won the triple jump (38-10.25) on Monday and placed third in the long jump (19-06). He said he didn’t feel like he performed as well as he could have in the triple jump, but he was glad to still win it.

“I was having an off day, but sometimes you have off days and you just have to make the most of them,” Franklin said.

Central’s Coy Jimenez won the boys 100-meter dash (11.30) on Monday and then the 400-meter dash (51.23) on Wednesday. Jimenez said it was tough to get ready for Wednesday’s meet after stopping on Monday.

“You just have to get all charged up and ready to go,” Jimenez said. “You just got to listen to some good music, get yourself going and take into consideration that it’s county. It’s the start of the last couple meets this season. You want to do your best.”

Strasburg’s Ryan Day won the shot put (42-06) on Monday and then came back Wednesday and won the discus (125-07).

Stonewall Jackson’s Isaac Blank won the high jump (5-10) to lead the Generals.

“He’s worked very hard this year and improved,” Stonewall Jackson coach Dick Krol said of Blank. “He’s worked extremely hard in the high jump. It’s showing. It’s really nice to see it showing for him, because he definitely has worked hard on it.”

Davis led the way for Strasburg in the girls meet by finishing second in the 100-meter dash (13.50), 200-meter dash (28.82), long jump (15-07.00) and triple jump (31-05.00). She was also part of Strasburg’s wining 4×100 relay team (56.82).

“Grace Davis scored a lot in all of her events, so that really helped us out a lot,” Strasburg coach Emily Brandon said.

Stonewall Jackson’s Destiny Neff won both the 100-meter dash (13.30) and the 200-meter dash (28.50).

Neff said she wasn’t sure if she was going to beat Davis in the 200, the two were in a close race before Neff pulled it out down the stretch.

“I was a little scared at first, because I was a little sore today,” Neff said. “… She started gaining on me. I just sped up and tried my hardest to get through.”

Hayley Gibson won the 800-meter run in a time of 2:31.55. She said she has been slowed down by an injury lately but still felt good about her race Wednesday. She was also part of the 4×800 relay team on Monday that won with a time of 11:07.60, breaking the county meet record. Gibson along with Haley Bennett, Angela Misquith and Brandy Webb, have qualified for this year’s state meet in the event.

“It’s the first time our school has had a 4×8 (relay team), so it’s a really big deal,” Gibson said. “The first time and we’re already coming out here and beating teams and doing a really good job. So we’re really happy with it.”

Central’s Brooke Ryman won the long jump (15-09.50) and the triple jump (31-05.00). Central’s Madison Nichols won the 1,600-meter run (6:08.00) and teammate Monica Martinez won the 3,200-meter run (14:32.00).

The Falcons were happy to pull out the team sweep.

“Our boys team and our girls team too — we really mesh well,” Franklin said. “Putting in the hard work — we’ve done what we needed to do. … It’s shown when we’ve come to track meets. We’ve beat schools that are much bigger than us.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

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