Strasburg’s Waters, Central’s relay team win state titles
RADFORD — Strasburg’s Elijah Waters has had plenty of accomplishments this season, and on Saturday he added another big one.
The junior won the 110-meter hurdle Group 2A state title in a time of 14.94.
“I’m in a little bit of awe right now,” Waters said just minutes after winning his first state title. “I’m kind of shocked actually.”
Waters wasn’t the only state champion in the area as Central’s 4×400 relay team also won the Group 2A state title. Central’s Kyle Clanton, Coy Jimenez, Wyatt Robinson and Carston Shockey won with a time of 3:30.43, in a race that came right down to the wire.
The Falcons came in ranked just a hundredth of a second behind Glenvar, and the two battled it out Saturday with Central winning by two-hundredths of a second.
“We were (ranked) first then we got overtaken at regionals (last week), but I knew that there was no other team physically or mentally like us,” Robinson said. “We’re a family. I knew we could do that and we did.”
Waters, who was seeded first entering Saturday’s 110-hurdle race, said he felt very calm before the race.
“I felt the least nervous I felt all year, until I got on that start line,” Waters said. “Then it was the biggest surge of adrenaline I’ve ever felt in my life. I came out of the blocks – I shot up a little quick — but it was a pretty good start.”
Waters, who broke the school record in both the 110 and 300 hurdles at regionals, held an early lead and held off Appomattox’s Delonta Kelso and Maggie Walker’s Robert Hicks for his first state title.
Waters followed that up with a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (40.77). Chatham’s Kwalee Witcher won the race (39.66).
“It was a good race,” Waters said of the 300 hurdles. “I got third — that’s what I was ranked. I would have got second if I wouldn’t have messed up on the last hurdle, but that’s OK. Everyone ran a good time. It was fast. It felt pretty good.”
Central’s 4×400 relay team members weren’t sure if they won the race until minutes after the race was over. The Falcons were in a tight battle with Glenvar, as well as several other teams, but trailed as Jimenez took the baton for the last lap.
Jimenez, a sophomore, was able to catch Glenvar’s Dustin Wade, and just edge him out at the finish line.
“(Wade’s) a very, very good runner. I had doubts coming in, but he went out on a comfortable pace for me, and I knew that I was faster than him in sprints,” Jimenez said. “So, I just kind of stuck with him, and then just gave it everything I had at the end.
Robinson said he knew Jimenez was going to win it.
“I saw Martinsville’s (Keylan Turner) kicked it in, over at the 200 and Coy shortly after did too. As soon as he did — I know that look,” Robinson said. “He was going to get it no matter what he had to do.”
Central’s boys team placed tied for fifth in the Group 2A meet with 29 points.
Robinson was third in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 4:37.47.
“It’s my last race for the mile in high school — that was my motivation,” Robinson said. “My last race — ‘let’s go out with a bang.'”
Jimenez placed fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.29. Central’s Donovan Armstrong was fourth in the 300 hurdles (41.25)
Strasburg placed 13th in the boys meet with 21 points. Strasburg’s Josh Runion placed fourth in the discus (136-02).
Central’s girls finished 14th in the meet with 15 points, while Strasburg was 19th with 10 points.
Central freshman Tycara Scott was third in the shot put (36-02.00). Teammate Kila Watson was sixth (34-08.50).
Watson placed fourth in the discus (111-09) on Friday. Strasburg senior Rachel Funkhouser was second in the discus (117-00).
“I was very excited and ready for my final meet,” Funkhouser said. “With the competition being so competitive this year, everyone was throwing high throws. It was just a really good experience to have for your last meet.”
Maggie Walker swept the boys and girls Group 2A state team titles. Maggie Walker won the boys meet with 84 points, and the girls meet with 134 points.
Waters said that his family and coaches played a big role in his success on Saturday. He said he also felt like former Strasburg student Chris Saville, who died earlier this year in a car wreck, was also watching over him.
“I think Strasburg definitely has an advantage over other teams this year, because we got wings. We can fly. We got Chris Saville looking after us,” Waters said. “I think everyone wanted to do good for him. Everyone loved Chris. Chris was a great guy. I know I loved Chris. I know he’d be really proud of me if he was here, and that makes me feel good.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org