Conference track meets kick off local sports week

Warren County's Quay Caison launches the shot put during the Bull Run District meet held Wednesday in Strasburg. Caison placed second in the shot put. Rich Cooley/Daily

The 2016 high school sports regular season is approaching its close, which means the postseason will soon kick into high gear. For some local teams, playoff action is already upon them.

Tennis teams began their conference tournaments last week and will continue forward in the playoffs this week, while all six local public school track and field teams will take part in their respective conference meets over the next three days.

Stonewall Jackson will host the seven-team Conference 44 track and field championships at 2 p.m. today, while Skyline and Warren County will travel to Culpeper for the eight-team Conference 28 meet, which is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start.

Warren County is coming off an unofficial start to the playoff track and field season after competing in last week’s Bull Run District Championships. The Wildcats’ girls placed third in that meet, which was comprised largely of VHSL Group 2A schools.

“I’m really glad the weather held off and we were able to have (the district) meet because there are definitely some tweaks that we’re going to make going into Monday,” Wildcats head track coach Joseph Owens said. “Nothing huge but here and there it’s nice to know what kind of adjustments you’re gong to make heading into the real thing.”

On Tuesday, Strasburg will host the Conference 35 track and field championships, which will also feature Central in the five-team field. Central’s boys rolled to the team championship in the Bull Run meet, which included all five members of Conference 35.

“We just want to stay steady and we don’t wanna be on a plateau,” Falcons head track coach Rick Lytton following last week’s meet. “We want to peak just a little bit more than we did today.”

Strasburg’s boys placed third as a team at last week’s Bull Run District meet and trailed only Central among its conference foes, while the Ram girls were fifth in the district meet, trailing George Mason, Clarke County and Central among conference competitors. However, Strasburg did sweep the boys and girls High Point MVP awards in the district meet, and head coach Emily Brandon said the Rams are right where they’d hoped to be to start postseason competition.

“This was great to kind of see where we stood,” Brandon said. “Not everyone is qualified for regionals, so next week our goal is, if we can’t hit the time or the distance to reach top six and get as many as we can to regionals. … But I think that we were able to see where we kind of stand and we’re ready for next week.”

Sherando will compete in the six-team Conference 21 West track and field meet at noon Thursday at Handley. Randolph-Macon Academy will compete in the VISAA state track and field meet Saturday.

Playoff tennis action will continue today with a handful of conference tournament semifinal matches. Central’s girls and boys teams will host Clarke County (at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively) in Conference 35 action; Skyline’s boys will travel to James Monroe at 3 p.m. and Warren County’s girls will travel to Riverside at 4:30 p.m. in the Conference 28 tournament; Stonewall Jackson’s girls will travel to William Campbell at 1 p.m. in Conference 44; and Sherando will host Harrisonburg at 3 p.m. in Conference 21 West.

Conference tournaments in other sports will also begin later this week for Sherando, Skyline, Stonewall Jackson and Warren County. Poor weather in recent weeks has left plenty of game action for the regular season’s final week.

Sherando baseball (vs. Woodgrove, Handley) and softball (at Millbrook, at Handley) will each play doubleheaders on Monday. Sherando’s baseball team will host Millbrook Tuesday, while the softball team will travel to James Wood Tuesday and Skyline Wednesday. The Warriors will play Handley in boys/girls soccer today and Millbrook on Tuesday, and the girls will also travel to Skyline on Wednesday. The Conference 21 West tournaments begin on Thursday.

Skyline will play James Wood in baseball, softball and soccer today, while Warren County softball hosts Strasburg. The Wildcats play Clarke County in baseball, softball and soccer on Tuesday, while the boys soccer team will also host Madison County Wednesday. The Conference 28 tournaments begin Friday.

Stonewall Jackson will play Riverheads in baseball, softball and girls soccer Monday and Luray in all sports on Tuesday, including a baseball doubleheader against the Bulldogs. Play-in games for the Conference 44 tournaments are scheduled for Friday.

Central baseball and softball will travel to Rappahannock County to play a make-up game against Clarke County Monday before the Falcons take on Madison County in all sports on Tuesday. Central’s baseball team hosts George Mason on Thursday.

Strasburg baseball will host Mason today, while the Rams host Rappahannock County in girls soccer before the baseball, softball and boys soccer teams take on the Panthers on Tuesday. Strasburg closes out the regular season with games against William Monroe in all sports on Wednesday.

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