Sherando’s Allen continues to shine at Class 4 track and field meet
HARRISONBURG – Sherando’s Isaiah Allen made his third straight trip to the VHSL Class 4 State Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Harrisonburg High School this past weekend, and since his solid state debut as a freshman in 2016, the junior has become firmly entrenched as one of Class 4’s top throwers.
Allen, a junior, continued his string of Top 5 finishes in the boys shot put and discus events on Sunday, finishing second and fourth, respectively, to take home all-state medals in both events for the second straight season. It also marked the third straight year overall that Allen has scored all-state recognition, reserved for the Top 8 individuals in each event.
“I feel like from freshman year to this year I’ve definitely made a large jump and now I feel kind of like a veteran here, so like I know how the circles are gonna be and the atmosphere,” said Allen, who placed fourth in the shot put in 2016 and is now the two-time Class 4 runner-up in the event. “… I think this year really set me up for a good senior year, just for being here so many times before.”
Allen capped his junior season – which was filled with school-record performances and shot put titles in the Northwestern District and Region 4C championships – with a final throw of 58 feet in the shot put. The heave trailed only Jaekob Vollbrecht of Courtland, who cleared 61 feet on a couple of occasions to win the state title.
The Class 4 state meet was stretched over three days due to rain that pounded the Harrisonburg area on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Competitors in the throwing events were limited to four attempts, and no finals were held.
“It felt pretty good,” Allen said of his performance. “I thought if I could start off with a pretty big mark on the first throw I could kind of build it up a little bit, so I started off with my 57-something and thought I could build it up good. In the past couple weeks (I) hit 60 in practice a time or two, so I was hoping it would come today. But I mean overall, really good series. The past couple weeks (I’ve) been stuck at 55, so just the fact to get over and then just be a foot under my (personal record) just felt really good. I’m happy with today’s performances, especially in the wet circle. These weren’t ideal conditions. If it’d have been hot and warm, I’m sure I might’ve been able to break that 60 barrier, so now I’ve just kind of gotta wait until nationals and hope it comes there.”
Allen’s runner-up finish in the shot put came on the heels of his fourth-place effort in the discus, in which his longest throw – also his fourth and final throw – sailed 142 feet, 11 inches.
“He’s been very consistent all year,” Warriors head coach Jamie McCarty said. “He’s made a lot of progress since indoor (track season in the winter), when he struggled with that kind of thing and he’s worked his butt off to get to this point. I mean 58 in this weather was really solid. He’s been looking good. And in the discus it’s been a little bit of a struggle this year, I think, for him, but once again he battled the elements today and he was able to at least get a quality throw in at 142. A second and a fourth, we’re pretty pleased with that.”
Allen was one of three Sherando individuals to earn all-state honors, alongside senior hurdlers Kyle Holliday and Donzailya Berg, while the Warriors’ girls 4×100 relay team of Berg, Indhya Hayes, Kaitlyn Roberts and Haley Mack also claimed a medal.
For Holliday, who placed fourth in the boys 110-meter high hurdles in a time of 15.13 seconds, he added a school record on top of his all-state performance. The 6-foot-6 senior said he had his sights set on the record – previously the long-standing mark of 15.24, according to McCarty – in his final meet, and had only one shot to do so after weather forced the cancellation of the hurdle trials.
Holliday said he focused on keeping pace with E.C. Glass’s Emmanuel Waller, who won the race in 14.30 seconds.
“I was told I had a good start. I wasn’t too confident. I’d say most of it was Waller, just seeing him out there,” Holliday said. “You know, seeing someone in front of you, it just pushes you. … Having Waller out there, knowing someone who could definitely take me into that bracket, I was like ‘I need to stay with him. If I stay with him I can get it.’
“My postseason, I thank God for it,” added Holliday, who won a regional title prior to the state meet. “I mean going in 15.60, going out 15.20 and 15.10, it’s just unbelievable to me and I don’t think I did that by myself.”
Berg placed seventh in the girls 100 hurdles, the final event completed on Saturday before thunderstorms forced the meet into a third day on Sunday. Berg finished the race in 17.18 seconds and appeared to lose momentum over the final three hurdles.
McCarty said Sunday that Berg told him she banged arms with a nearby runner, causing her to lose steam.
“At the end of the season she’s kind of came on and gotten a little bit better and was able to duplicate what she did in indoor, squeezing in there,” McCarty said. “She’s another one of those ones that’s worked really hard to put herself in that position and was able to race her way in.”
Sherando’s girls 4×100 relay team entered the state meet seeded 10th and ended up in sixth place after a handful of disqualifications for zone violations wiped out a large chunk of teams in the event’s fastest heat. The Warriors completed the race in a time of 51.40.
Loudoun Valley held a comfortable lead in the boys team championship race through 16 events Sunday (pole vault was not completed due to weather conditions), while E.C. Glass (57.5 points) held a slim lead over Deep Creek (54) and Loudoun Valley (50) in the girls standings.
Sherando’s boys (18 points) were 11th, while the girls (5 points) were 29th.