Sherando boys take first, Central second at Ram Country track

STRASBURG – Sherando High School’s boys track and field team finished first and the Warriors’ girls were runnersup Saturday at the first major outdoor meet of the 2017 season, the fifth Ram Country Invitational at Strasburg High.

The Warriors’ boys were led by Jacquari Hayes, who won the long jump competition and set a meet record in the triple, with a leap of 41 feet, 5 ½ inches. He also finished fourth in the 100 meter dash.

This helped give the 4A team from Frederick County 84 ½ points to edge second place Central High, a 2A school from Shenandoah County (73).

The Central boys, who were the defending champs of the Ram Country event, were led by junior sprinter-thrower Coy Jimenez with a meet best 24 ½ points. Jimenez won the 100- and 200-meter sprints, ran a leg on the gold-medal winning 4-by-400 relay and finished fifth in the discus competition.

“Coy leads by example. He doesn’t say a lot but his teammates follow him because of his effort. He and Kyle Clanton push each other,” said Central coach Rick Lytton.

“This guy right here,” Jimenez said when asked about his personal motivator. He was pointing at Clanton, a sophomore who finished runnerup in both the 100 and 200 dashes just behind his teammate. Jimenez’s partner tied for third in the long jump

“I like to push him,” Clanton said. “That makes us both better.”

Saturday, the 4X400-meter relay team was composed of Carston Shockey, Saxon Franklin, Clanton and Jimenez.

A portion of that group won the Virginia High School League Group 2A state championship in 2016.

With Jimenez winning by about 12 seconds as the anchor, the Falcon foursome and others ran under cloudy skies and a steady breeze on Coach Glenn Proctor Field at Ram Stadium.

Yet the 10 points awarded the Central 4X400 team were not enough to out distance Sherando’s overall effort.

Hayes, who missed much of the 2016 post-season with an injured heel, also was out for much of last fall’s football season with a cracked elbow.

“Jacquari came out and had a good meet for the first time of the season. He’s really battled injuries in the last year, and it looks like he could have a big season for us if he can stay healthy,” said Sherando coach Jamie McCarty.

Hayes scratched from the 200 meter “because he was tightening up,” his coach said. “It’s too early in the season for us to push it. We have a long year ahead and we want him healthy.”

Otherwise for Sherando, sophomore Isaiah Allen showed why he may be the class in shot-put circles with a throw of 48-7, a new meet record. Allen placed fourth in last spring’s Group 4A state meet.

Warrior David Restrepo also earned a gold in the 300 meter with a time of 41.33 seconds.

“We have a good blend of old guys and young guys,” said McCarty.

Strasburg High’s Ryan Day claimed first place in the disc with a heave of 144-10.

Skyline finished ninth among 17 teams with Strasburg ending in 12th.

Senior Landon Holben provided multiple points for the Hawks. He finished runnerup in the 400 meter dash and earned a fourth in the 200 meter dash. Central’s Franklin tied Clanton for a third in the long jump. The Falcon senior also grabbed a third in the triple jump.

“Our girls right now may be a little deeper than we’ve been. There’s been a little bit more competition. I think our guys and girls will use this meet to get better. Overall, I thought we had a good meet,” McCarty said.

Davina Lane, who signed a scholarship with George Mason University, was the Northern Virginia Female Athlete of the year in 2016 because of her domination on the track and basketball court.

She won Group 4A state gold medals in the 100 and 300 hurdles – she owns four school records – and was a sometimes sprinter.

At Ram Stadium, the senior All-Stater set the meet record in the 100m hurdles (14.88); sprinted to a Ram County Invitational alltime mark in the 200 dash (26.62) and made another meet record in the 300 hurdles (40.01). She picked up a first in the long jump (17-03.5) and a fourth in the triple jump.

The Warrior delivered 44 points for Sherando.

McCarty has said that Lane, if healthy, will rewrite all her school records this season.

“She’s expanded on her results from last year. Obviously, she dominates in the hurdles, but we’re going to ask her to do a little more for us this year. We want her to get involved in the jumps,” said McCarty.

“I like to compete in as many events as possible. It keeps me busy. I love track. I can have a bad day at school and then get out on that track and  – whatever happened that day – it’s all over when I start working out,” said Lane.

Sherando’s Olivia Couillard won the 3,200 meter, completing the eight laps with a gold medal best time of 12:02.82.

Central senior Kila Watson finished fourth in the Group 2A state meet in the discus with a throw of 111-09. She reset her own school standard by going 125-8, a throw which should put her among the state leaders.

“My parents told me they would get me a new pair of track shoes if I threw better than 120 and a car if I put the discus in the river (running a good distance behind the event layout),” Watson said with a laugh.

She added that a good friend had promised her dinner for a victory, but added dessert due to the long throw.

Central High throws coach Mike Yew credits Watson “with a good load and release.”

While perhaps half of the girls competing used a single motion to fire their throws, Yew has Watson spinning in the circle and then unloading.

“He’s taught me a lot. ‘Spinning’ in the throwers’ circle is something I’ve had to learn. It takes a good bit of athleticism,” said Watson.

Watson finished third in the shot put.

James Wood (92 points) claimed the girls’ championship ahead of Sherando (80). Central’s girls were eighth among 17 teams.

Other noteworthy individual performances included Rappahannock County’s Gavin Jenkins, who placed first in the 800-meter run (2:00.57) and won gold in the 1,600 (4:27.29).

Handley’s Trey Causey topped out at 6-06 in the high jump. His girls’ teammate, Taylor Beard, went 5-06.

Points were awarded as follows: first place equaled 10 points; second was 8, third 6; fourth 4, fifth 2 and sixth 1. All track and field events were contested in flights with the times and distances re-order for the placers.

Strasburg athletics director Matt Hiserman ran the late-starting event in six hours. After a night’s worth of rain, he and dozens of officials and volunteers moved the start from its originally scheduled kickoff of 9:30 a.m. to noon to let the surfaces dry.

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com