LYNCHBURG — Better late than never.
Ava Bordner made that old saying work for her in Friday’s Class 3 Track and Field State Championships held at Liberty University.
The Skyline sophomore didn’t hear the call for the girls 1,600 race. As the runners were at the starting line, Bordner was nowhere to be found. They then announced her name over the loudspeaker as part of the race introductions.
“It’s funny because we were looking at the Liberty (University) records (near the stands),” Bordner said. “And I was like ‘one day I’m going to beat that.’ And they’re like ‘Ava Bordner’ and I was like ‘oh,’ and I was yelling at my teammates to get all my stuff.”
One of Bordner’s teammates Bronson Breen ran down to the track to tell them Bordner was coming. Skyline coach Steve Burton said luckily for Bordner, the starter was missing some equipment and there was a delay to begin with. Once Breen told them Bordner was coming they held up for her and helped her put her uniform number on and get to the starting line.
“I got there last second — you’re not supposed to,” Bordner said. “And they wouldn’t have waited if it wasn’t states. But I’m so thankful for them for doing that. It was really nice of them.”
Bordner made the most of it and finished second in a time of 5:21.39, a new personal record by three seconds. She said she wasn’t sure how well she would do considering her late arrival, but it may have worked out in her favor.
“I was really surprised because at first when I got to the line I’m like ‘well, I’m done,’” Bordner said. “’This is it. They’re going to start without me, or I’m just going to get left behind.’ ...I think without that adrenaline (running to the track), I don’t do what I did. Because I got up to the starting line not even thinking. If I was sitting there waiting I would be thinking about it too much.”
Bordner battled for second for the first three laps and then took over for good on the final lap. She then tried to run down Western Albemarle’s Jenna Stutzman (5:18.58). It was Stutzman who beat Bordner during the final stretch of the race for first in the Cross Country Championships earlier this season.
“The very last 200, that’s when I opened up my arms,” Bordner said. “I was like ‘I got to do this.’ And that’s when the whole team starting freaking out. I was like ‘I’m going to get them guys’ and then she starts running faster. And I was like ‘all right maybe I just need to stay here.’ She’s an insane good runner.”
Warren County freshman Kaley Tanner finished seventh in the race (5:22.13), but the highlight of her day came in the first race of the morning. Tanner finished second in the 3,200 (11:18.55), 29 seconds faster than her previous personal record.
“It feels good,” Tanner said. “I was shooting for third.”
Tanner, Tabb’s Katryna Aulenbach (the race winner, 11:15.29), Spotswood’s Taylor Myers, Abingdon’s Makaleigh Jessee and the race’s top seed Lightridge’s Taylor Gibson were all bunched together with 600 meters to go.
“It was kind of packed and it was kind of hard to get around,” Tanner said. “But I got around.”
Tanner, who said she was crying before the race because she was so nervous, moved from fifth to third and then into second on the final lap and was getting stronger as the others began to fade.
“I felt strong,” Tanner said of her last lap. “I felt like I could pass, and I just kept passing and I beat my time by a lot.”
Skyline’s Logan Bailey finished third in both the boys 110 hurdles (15.38) and the 300 hurdles (41.97).
Bailey said he hit a few hurdles in the 100’s, which slowed him down.
Overall, he said he was pleased with how he did.
“I’m happy with it,” Bailey said. “Given the beginning of the year circumstances with COVID, I’m happy with my place.”
Bailey said it was fun going against so much good competition.
“I feel good,” Bailey said. “Like it’s really cool to think that I come from the small town of Front Royal going against these really big high schools and stuff and we make an appearance.”
Bailey also helped the Skyline boys 400 relay team to a second place finish (44.05). Bailey, William Smith, Logan Maiatico and Marion ‘Budder’ Haley finished second by two seconds.
“We were fine with second place,” Haley said. “That’s fine. There’s 53 schools in (Class 3) — second place is fine.”
Skyline’s boys 1,600 relay team of Kevin Mills, Breen, Maiatico and Smith finished second in a time of 3:30.57.
Warren County's 3,200 girls relay squad of Sophia Kozhenevsky, Madeline Lotts, Nicole Ranney and Amber Riley finished third in a time of 10:11.37.
Central junior Zach Dysart finished seventh in the shot put (44-02.50).
“My last throw I scratched, it probably went over 45,” Dysart said. “Forty-four is a decent day. Forty-five is what I was shooting to get, but I was still pleased with it.”
Skyline sophomore Kayla Haislop finished sixth in the girls discus (92-07).
Central coach Rick Lytton said it was a good experience for his athletes.
“For most of them their youthness has come out,” Lytton said. “They’ve performed OK. They haven’t been outstanding, but it’s the biggest meet of their lives. ...It’s a very good learning experience for them.”
Western Albemarle won the boys title with 57 points, followed by Heritage (Lynchburg) (49) and Independence (45). Skyline was eighth (28) and Central tied for 35th (2).
Heritage (Lynchburg) won the girls title (74), followed by James Monroe (68) and Western Albemarle (56). Warren County was 13th (16) and Skyline 18th (11).