Generals’ Neff earns three individual all-district track and field medals
ELKTON – Destiny Neff entered Wednesday’s Shenandoah District Girls Track and Field Championships at East Rockingham High School hoping to set a couple personal records and place in every event she competed in. The Stonewall Jackson senior came up short on both counts, but Neff still returned home with plenty of hardware.
Neff earned individual all-district honors – reserved for the top six in each event – in the girls 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump and also ran the anchor leg of Stonewall’s second-place 4×100 relay team. She earned 9 total points for a Generals squad that finished fifth (31 points) in the nine-team meet.
“It’s a lot of running back and forth. Definitely stressful but there’s really good competition here,” Neff said shortly after the championships, which were conducted through a persistent light rain. “I felt like I ran a lot better with all the competition around.”
Neff’s best individual finish came in the 100, which she ran in 13.38 seconds and edged out Stuarts Draft’s Jordan Ramsey by two-hundredths of a second.
Neff, who said her best events of the day were the two individual sprints, placed fifth (28.25) in the 200. The third, fourth and fifth places in the event were decided by 0.02 second.
The senior also placed sixth in the long jump with a leap of 14 feet, 7.25 inches, and she missed out on a fourth individual all-district medal with a seventh-place finish in the triple jump.
“I felt pretty good because I think I placed in everything except for triple jump. It was a pretty good day,” Neff said.
While Neff was the busiest General, Autumn Deutsch gave Stonewall’s girls their best individual finish of the afternoon in the 100 high hurdles. Deutsch placed third in the race, crossing the finish line in 17.72 seconds. She was less than a half-second behind runner-up Paige Miller of Wilson Memorial.
“I’m really proud of myself because I was very close to the girl who was running, and I was originally seeded fourth, and so I got over there and I used all of my power to be able to get over that line,” Deutsch said.
“I think to accomplish something was really just to do better than what I did last time, and I feel like every meet I do a little bit better,” she added. “I’d already qualified for states a couple weeks ago, so my goal was really just to get better and to do better for myself. … It may sound shallow but my goals are medals because those are the … tangible evidence.”
Sophomore Melissa Oczkowski was the only other General to earn an individual all-district medal, as she placed fourth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 6:18.26.
Neff and Deutsch teamed up with Autumn Smith and Desirae Campbell in the 4×100 relay and claimed second place in a time of 54.44. Neff took the final handoff while neck-and-neck with a Luray runner, and the Stonewall senior crossed the finish line just eight-hundredths of a second ahead of her opponent for second place.
Deutsch said it was just the second time that Stonewall’s 4×100 relay has included Smith, who also competed in the Generals’ 4×400 relay.
“I think our goal was just to get better than what we did before and I’m so proud because … we had a girl who had just came in (to the relay), like this is our second meet running with her,” Deutsch said. “For us to be able to do so well with her there, it was amazing. We really did try our best.”
Wilson Memorial ran away with the girls team title by racking up a total of 170 points. East Rockingham was second with 143 and Buffalo Gap (55) was third.
Stonewall Jackson hosts the Region 1B Championships on Monday.