BRISTOL, Va. — The John Battle girls track team has just two seniors.
That did not stop the Trojans from winning the Region 2D track and field title for the second consecutive year.
Behind the versatile work of sophomore Jada Samuel and Olivia Stevens, John Battle accumulated 120 points last Wednesday’s meet at Virginia High.
Ridgeview, which swept all the relay events, finished second with 110 points, and Tazewell followed at 86.
“It was a very gratifying day,” said John Battle coach Laura Jones. “All the girls stayed calm and let their hard work pay off.”
John Battle was boosted by victories in the 100 hurdles by Samuel and Stevens in the 400.
“We have a lot of good athletes, and our freshmen from last year have gained experience as sophomores,” Samuel said. “We added a couple more throwers and some freshmen this season. And Coach Jones has helped us all so much.”
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The graceful 5-foot-7 Samuel focuses just on track after previously competing in basketball and volleyball.
“That decision has helped,” Samuel said
Depth and balance are strong points for the Trojans, who have a roster of 13.
“We’ve worked hard to balance our team out, and we’ve had girls willing to try different events,” Jones said.
Lee High sophomore Cassidy Hammonds was named the meet’s outstanding performer after scoring 42 points and wining 300 hurdles, long jump and triple jump.
“I trained hard for this, and it turned out to be an amazing day,” Hammonds said. “I’d say my 300 hurdles is my best event.”
There is one other impressive note on Hammonds, who doubles as a point guard in basketball.
“This is my first year running track,” Hammonds said. “I credit my coaches for getting me to this point.”
It was also a day to remember for Wise County Central freshman Emmah McAmis, who captured the 100 and 200 in meet record times of 12.63 and 26.52.
“I had a little bit of momentum after setting the record in 100. I had been aiming for a 12.6 all season,” McAmis said.
McAmis has followed a busy spring schedule with basketball camps and track practice.
“Following the state track meet, I’ve got to be at Tennessee Tech for an elite camp,” McAmis said. “I’ve only been able to practice track around once a week, but we had two weeks off since our last basketball tournament, and I’ve been working pretty hard on my running form.”
According to McAmis, her background leading the fastbreak as a point guard in for the Class 2 champion Wise Central basketball team carries over to sprinting.
“This meet was amazing, and it also makes me want to push harder and get better,” McAmis said. “Yeah, it’s been a good year all-around, and I hope to win another ring at state.”
Tazewell’s Lauren Keene won both 1600 and 3200.
The Union Bears (132.5 points) captured the boys team title for the fourth straight year, with Ridgeview (104) and Tazewell (60) next in line.
Senior Keyandre Davis set the tone for Union by winning the shot put and finishing second in the discus to Tazewell’s Octavius Pridgen. Davis is ranked first among all Class 2 athletes in both events.
“The shot went really well, but winning the team title is what really matters, and we all did our thing,” Davis said.
Davis already has a state title in the shot put from this year’s Class 2 indoor meet.
“I want to go out now as a state champion at the outdoor meet,” Davis said.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Davis signed to compete in track and field at the University of South Carolina Upstate.
“Football was an option for college, but I fell in love in throwing, and I can’t wait to start competing at the next level,” Davis said. “After the state meet, I will start throwing with increased weights.”
Davis said he expects to branch out and compete in the hammer throw and javelin in college.
Malachi Jenkins won the high jump for Union, while the Bears were also helped by victories from Dorian Almer in the 3200 and Isaiah Pennington in the 800.
Ridgeview junior Brandon Beavers was selected as the most outstanding performer in the boys meet after winning the 100, 200, 400 and long jump.
“I’m extremely happy with that,” said Beavers, who qualified for six events at state. “To be honest, I haven’t been able to go to a lot of practices since I played baseball. I ran at home by myself to kind of prepare, and I guess that was enough.”
The 6-foot-1 Beavers only competed in 400 and 4x400 in last year’s regional meet. He finished second in the 400 in the Class 2 outdoor meet
Beavers took a bottom-line approach Wednesday.
“I just believed in myself and left it all on the track,” Beavers said. “My legs are hurting in this heat, and I know that I will be sore in the morning, but it was worth it.”
Maddox Reynolds of Wise County Central swept both hurdle events, while Virginia High’s Brett Goss claimed the 1600.
The Class 2 state meet will be held June 3-4 at James Madison University.
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