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Posted May 15, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Just a blur: Simms' big day helps Colonels to title; Myers carries load for Judges


James Wood's John Simms pulls away from the pack in the 100-meter dash at the Northwestern District Track and Field Championships on Thursday at Millbrook. Rich Cooley/Daily


Handley's Brittany Myers leaves the field behind in the 800-meter run. Simms won three events and Myers won two. Rich Cooley/Daily


Millbrook's Crystal Nelson leads Warren County's Mara Smith in the 1,600-meter run. Nelson won and Smith took third place. Rich Cooley/Daily


Warren County's Japheth Chunn leads in the boys hurdles at the Northwestern District Track and Field Championships on Thursday at Millbrook. Rich Cooley/Daily


Millbrook's Sharon Springer, left, and Brentsville's Danyelle Kent Robinson go head-to-head in the 100 meter high hurdles final. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Greg Brill -- sports@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Handley's Brittany Myers was a bit tired after winning her second distance race in as many days. Still, the freshman had enough left in her legs to give the Judges' 4x400 relay team a win in Thursday's final event of the Northwestern District Track and Field Championships.

James Wood's Tim Jenkins had a season-long, friendly battle each time he faced Millbrook's Neil Bishop in the open 400. The two seniors went at it again and Jenkins won in a photo finish. Bishop would gain payback later, overtaking Jenkins down the straightaway to help the Pioneers win the 4x400.

James Wood won six of the nine events run on Thursday to win the boys' title going away, finishing with 145 points. First-day leader Warren County had its best district meet in years and was a solid second with 80 1/2. Brentsville was third and Handley and 2008 champion Millbrook tied for fourth.

"I think it was good that it was close after Day 1," James Wood coach Matt Stegmair said. "We set the tone early today and the kids just rolled with it. We had a good feeling that we were going to win, but we never realized we were going to put up this many points."

Brentsville did defend its girls title, expanding on a two-point lead after the first day to total 123 points for the meet. Millbrook was next with 80 1/3 points, and Handley, Sherando and Skyline wrapped up the top five.

The Colonels had a good day in the field on Wednesday, but an even better day when the meet shifted to the stadium. James Wood won all the sprints, another relay, the 800 and split the hurdles.

Freshman John Simms was fast to the finish, taking a double by winning the 100 meters (11.1) and 200 (22.7).

"I've had some bad shin splints," Simms said. "But I came back out here, felt rejuvenated and gave it all I had. I PR'd in both the 100 and 200. It's going great, but today was a victory for everybody."

His fantastic third leg on Wednesday in the Colonels' 4x800 victory was just a prelude of things to come for Jenkins. Coming down the stretch, Jenkins had enough of a lean to edge Bishop, 51.35 to 51.38, in the 400 Thursday night.

"He's a cool guy -- I knew I had to push it that last 100," Jenkins said. "He always has that really, really good kick there at the end. I could feel him starting to catch me as we reached that [finish] line, and I laid myself out for it. It was awesome. I wish I had the picture for that."

About an hour later, Bishop and teammates Brad Beauregard, Bobby Stanley and Josh Cecil turned the tables in the 4X400 with a winning time of 3:28.65 to edge James Wood's 3:29.18. The Pioneers had the lead heading into the final turn, until Jenkins took over on the first turn. Bishop saved enough energy and made his move late, outracing Jenkins in the final 20 meters for the win.

Myers has spent most of her freshman year gaining medals. She was all-Group AA in cross country last fall, won a few more district titles in indoor track and won the open 800 (2:23) on Thursday. This, 24 hours after capturing a 3,200 loaded with talent. If that wasn't enough, Myers sprinted ahead in the final lap and gave the Judges a win in the day's final relay.

"Since I ran the two-mile yesterday, I was really tired coming into today," Myers said. "But I tried to stay with the front pack [in the 800] and in the last lap tried to pull away. It worked out well."

The hurdles were won by favorite Schavon Springer of Millbrook. The senior did get a nice push from Brentsville rival Danyelle Kent-Robinson, winning the 100 in 15.35 (to Kent-Robinson's 15.42) and the 300 (48.74 to 49.56).

"It's good to have Danyelle back to run with because now I know what the competition is going to be like from here on out," Springer said. "Oh, gosh, in the 100, that gave me the extra push I needed in the end."

The Judges had a pair of excellent performances to sweep both relays run on the second day. Handley had all-out sprints to capture the 4x100, as Verna Lee, Melissa Robinson, Vanessa Spence and Kara Dixon crossed in 51.7 to beat runner-up Millbrook by almost a full second. Dixon's powerful anchor pulled the Judges through.

"We've had some injuries and we tried the best that we could," Dixon said. "Coach [Sam Finley] was like 'Just get in first,' and that's what we tried to do."

Dixon and Robinson joined Myers and Caroline Crowe to take the 4x400 in 4:12.

Millbrook moved up well on the second day to finish as runner-up, bolstered by Crystal Nelson's comeback from a Wednesday loss to Myers in the 3,200 to win the 1,600. Though Brentsville proved to have too much depth to be caught, the Pioneers finished well and made their coach proud.

"We were a little disappointed with some of the scoring [on the first day] and I let my team know that today," Millbrook coach Jeremy Wright said. "We just weren't working up to our potential. Today, we finally did that, and that's why we saw that point jump. I'm very happy with that, and the entire team came together today and we looked like a cohesive unit. I was very happy with that."

The Region II championships will be a one-day event, next Wednesday starting at 2 p.m. at Louisa County.

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