Falcons sweep boys and girls titles at county track meet

WOODSTOCK – Central High School track and field coach Rick Lytton said following Wednesday evening’s Shenandoah County track and field meet that sophomore Kyle Clanton still has some work to do to realize his true potential as a sprinter and a jumper for the Falcons. That’s certainly saying something about Clanton’s athleticism given the performance he had just put on.

Clanton won three individual events – the boys long jump, 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash – while setting a new county meet record in the 100, helping the Falcons’ winning 4×400 relay record another record time and adding a third-place effort in the long jump. It was a performance that netted the sophomore 21 total points to earn him the individual trophy as the boys’ high-point scorer in the meet hosted by Central that included rivals Stonewall Jackson, Strasburg and Massanutten Military Academy.

“It feels pretty good. Actually it’s my first time ever winning, so it does feel great to actually have some competition with him now,” said Clanton, gesturing toward teammate Coy Jimenez, who placed fourth in the 100 at the Virginia High School League Group 2A state meet last spring. “We kind of share it on and off now, so it does feel good.”

Clanton’s day set the pace for Central’s boys, who claimed the Shenandoah County championship for the fifth straight year while amassing 100 total points on Wednesday. Strasburg (70 points) was second, followed by Stonewall Jackson (63) and MMA (10).

The Falcons also claimed the girls title, edging out runner-up Stonewall – which got a high-point performance from junior Destiny Neff – 78-75, giving Central the county championship sweep for the second year in a row.

Strasburg’s girls placed third with 61 points.

Clanton, who won the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 9 inches, blazed to an official time of 10.94 seconds in the 100-meter dash, besting the previous county record of 11.20 shared by Strasburg’s John Campbell (2001) and Troy Gordon (2013). Clanton, hand-timed at 10.68 seconds before the proper adjustments were made, edged out Jimenez in the 100 and again in the 200 later that evening.

“That was the best so far, ever, so it felt pretty good winning that,” said Clanton, who won the 200 with a time of 22.36 seconds.

“Having competition always helps and we’ve been on and off all season. I don’t know, coming out of the blocks fast and my finish has gotten a lot faster.”

The Falcons’ 4×400 relay team – which featured Carston Shockey, Saxon Franklin, Clanton and Jimenez – ran a 3:29.19, topping the previous county best of 3:32.40 set by Central in 1992.

Neff, who compiled 20.5 points for Stonewall Jackson’s girls on Wednesday, couldn’t quite propel her team to victory but did win a pair of events to power her way to the top of the girls’ individual leader board. She edged out Central’s Brooke Ryman by one point.

“Last year I almost got it but I missed it by a couple points, so it’s just a lot of hard work, dedication,” Neff said. “And I wasn’t really feeling good today so I wasn’t really sure if I would get it. Just a lot of support from my family to help me get it.”

Neff won both the 100 (13.13 seconds) and the 200 (28.06), placed second in the long jump (14-01.00) and third in the triple jump (30-07.00). Neff earned the decisive 1.5 points as part of the 4×100 relay for Stonewall, the only school to field a team in that event.

“I think my 200 had to have been the best because it felt most comfortable to me,” Neff said. “I felt like I was actually relaxed and like I was pushing my hardest.”

Ryman, who earned 19.5 total points, won the girls long jump (16-00.00) and triple jump (34-11.00) to lead the Falcons.

“She is such a hard worker and she loves track,” Lytton said of the junior. “She does cheerleading in the fall and I know she loves that, but I think she loves track just as well as cheerleading. And she works so hard. She has a great attitude and the other girls follow her example.”

Clanton was one of two Falcons to win multiple individual events on Wednesday, as Mason Lucy-Speidel won the boys 800 (2:14.47) and 1,600 (4:48.75).

Strasburg’s Ryan Day swept the boys throwing events, snagging wins in the shot put (43-07.50) and discus (139-05), while Rams senior Elijah Waters, a state champ in the 110 hurdles last season, won both hurdle events as he continued to work his way back from knee surgery.

Waters won the 110 hurdles on Wednesday in 15.59 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 42.95.

“He felt pretty good when he finished, and he didn’t push it tonight,” Rams head coach Ina Rae Crisman said of Waters. “I think he looked pretty well.”

Sawyer Lucy-Speidel added a win in the 3,200 (11:06.23) for Central, and the Falcons’ 4×800 relay team featuring both Lucy-Speidels, Shockey and Colin Bradley-Connolly won in a time of 8:57.

Stonewall Jackson’s Wade Banks won the boys high jump (6-00), Kaelan Sorrells won the 400 (52.59) and the Generals’ boys 4×100 relay team (Kyle Baker, Lukas Fultz, Ruben Gullate and Mark Keith) earned the top spot in a time of 47.56.

Strasburg’s Stephen Kloosterman took the top spot in the boys triple jump (41-00.00).

For Central’s girls, Tycara Scott won the shot put (34-00.00) while Kila Watson dominated the field in the discus (116-03). Olivia Wightman won the 3,200 (13:21.93) and Mikayla Helsley (52.74) won a two-person race in the 300 hurdles.

Stonewall’s Angela Misquith topped Helsley in the 100 hurdles (19.00), and she teamed up with Carley Bennett, Autumn Smith and Autumn Summer to lead the Generals’ 4×400 relay to a winning time of 4:31.22.

Strasburg’s girls got individual victories from Jesse Boyce (high jump, 4-08), Katie Bromley (400, 1:06.12), Tessa Hockman (800, 2:50.87) and Abby Davis (6:03.12).

“I think overall we did better than what we expected because we’re pretty banged up right now,” Crisman said.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com