Strasburg’s Waters, Day, Central’s 4×400 relay team win region track titles
ELKTON — The pressure was on.
Injuries have hampered Strasburg’s Elijah Waters all season. The senior needed to have either a state-qualifying time or a top-six finish in the boys 110-meter hurdles finals in Friday’s Region 2A East Track and Field Championships to earn a trip to the state meet.
Waters, the Group 2A defending state champion in the 110 hurdles, not only qualified for the state meet but won his second straight regional title in the 100 hurdles (15.20)
“I’m just happy to be back that’s all I care about,” Waters said with a smile on his face. “It’s just an honor to compete. The fact that I was even able to come to my regional meet that’s nothing but the grace of God. So I’m beyond happy.”
Waters had surgery on his knee in the winter, and then pulled his hamstring in the very first meet of the year.
It was only the third meet of the season in which Waters has been able to compete and his first in the last month.
“I was blessed that I felt as good as I did,” Waters said. “I’m still not 100 percent, but healthy enough to compete, which is a blessing.”
Waters had tough competition from Page County’s Kyle Biller. The two went back and forth throughout the race, but Waters was able to nip Biller at the line by .06 seconds.
“Kyle, he’s a really nice guy,” Waters said. “Me and him both, we knew going into this we were going to be back and forth and we were excited for it.”
Waters, who elected not to run in the 300-meter hurdles, wasn’t the only Strasburg champion on Friday. Strasburg senior Ryan Day won the shot put and finished second in the discus.
It was the opposite of what Day expected going into the meet. Day was the top seed for the discus, but was seeded third in the shot put.
He won the shot put with a throw of 46 feet and nine inches. Day trailed Prince Edward’s Markeem Trent going into his last throw, but topped Trent by a quarter of an inch.
“I was really calm and cool,” Day said. “My coach told me to just do what I do in practice every day. That’s how I got it. I didn’t get too aggressive with it, just a calm, cool and relaxed throw.”
Day’s final throw in the discus (140-08) was also his best of the day, but not enough to overtake Buffalo Gap’s Charles Weatherman (141-06).
“It feels good to throw a 140 here, because now I’m warmed up in the circle,” Day said. “I know I can throw that far and the state meet is the one that matters.”
Central placed third as a team in the meet, led by a regional title for the 4×400-meter relay team of Kyle Clanton, Saxon Franklin, Coy Jimenez and Carston Shockey.
The quartet not only won the race, but also broke the Region 2A East meet record with a time of 3:28.11. The old record was 3:29.52.
“It feels great knowing that you have a regional record,” Jimenez said. “And not only did you get it but you got it with three other guys. You get to share it with all of them. It’s great.”
Central won the Group 2A state title in the 4×400-meter relay last year.
Jimenez had a sizeable lead as he began the last leg of the race, and knowing they could break the record helped him, he said.
“I was a little bit out when I saw the clock and it said 3:24,” Jimenez said. “And that was the motivation that brought me to the line.”
Jimenez also placed second in the 400-meter dash (50.17) and fourth in the 100-meter dash (11.22).
Clanton finished second in the 200-meter dash (22.78) and third in the 100-meter dash (11.18). He also placed third in the long jump (21-05.25).
In the 200 the sophomore had the lead until the very end, when Prince Edward’s Bryan Moses (22.67), who also won the 100, passed him for the title.
“I thought I had him,” Clanton said. “He had an extra gear in him. So it was good competition.”
Franklin was fifth in the long jump (21-00) and sixth in the triple jump (40-08).
Central’s Bryan Davis was third in the shot put (46-06). Central’s Declan Franklin was sixth in the discus (130-10).
Strasburg’s Nathan Hershey was seventh in the 300-meter hurdles (45.14).
The Rams finished eighth as a team with 30 points.
Central’s 4×800-meter relay team of Mason Lucy-Speidel, Colin Bradley-Connolly, Sawyer Lucy-Speidel and Carston Shockey placed fourth in a time of 8:49.08. Strasburg’s 4×800 relay team of Matthew Chimento, Tyler Zimbro, Aaron Walker and Ryan Davis were fifth in the race (9:09.47).
Maggie Walker won the boys meet with 110.5 points, followed by East Rockingham (72.5) and Central (66).