There was no shortage of drama at the Group AA track and field indoor championships Saturday at Liberty University.
Both team titles came down to the final event, and for Tabb’s girls, it couldn’t have been in any better hands.
The Tigers’ three-time defending 4×400 meter relay team, anchored this year by Brittni King, Micah Hanks, Aly Harmatz and Taylor Omweg, finished the event in 4:02.03 to win the fourth-consecutive state title in the event, but more importantly, clinch the team title over runner-up Blacksburg by a score of 56-45.
“It wasn’t their fastest time, but they knew it came down to the last race, so they were more focused on clean handoffs and maintaining a good pace,” said Tabb coach Wendy Wilson, whose girls team became the first-ever from the Bay Rivers to win states since the VHSL began hosting the meet in 1999.
Tabb’s victory, which also snapped Blacksburg’s five-year reign of state championships dating back to 2008, was also impressive given that the Tigers brought just seven individuals to the state meet.
King, a senior, capped off her high school indoor track career in dominant fashion winning the 300 in 40.31 seconds and placing third in the 500 (1:16.89). Hanks added third-place finishes in both the 55m and 300, and Omweg finished third in the 500 (1:19.51).
Tabb also got a huge boost in the field events from Melissa Progar, who set PRs in both of her events on the day, finishing second in the long jump (17-04.25) and eighth in the triple jump (34-09.50).
“She wasn’t expected to finish that high in either event,” Wilson added. “But that kind of describes our team. We bought into the whole team concept, and everyone came in knowing that if they did their job we’d be in good shape.
“Everyone is super pumped right now.”
On the boys’ side, Lafayette finished just two points off the team title, which also came down to the final event of the day – the 4×400 relay – in which the Rams placed second behind eventual champion Blacksburg. The victory helped Blacksburg narrowly beat out Lafayette 58-56.
Lafayette coach Melvin Jones said a first-place finish in the 4×400 would have granted the Rams a tie for the team title.
“We were hoping to get (the team title), but a few things didn’t quite fall into place the way we had expected,” Jones said. “We feel like we could have gotten those two points in several different ways, but overall, we’re as happy as we can be.
“There were a hundred some teams here today, and most left here with nothing.”
Lafayette junior Derek Holdsworth defended his state title in the 500, finishing in meet-record time of 1:05.06. Kurtis Steck (9:30.42) and Jason Menzies (9:30.84) finished second and third respectively in the 3200, and sophomore Micah Canaday gave an unexpected performance in the 55m hurdles with his first-ever sub 8-second finish, placing fourth in 7.89 seconds.
“Those were five points we didn’t expect to get,” Jones added of Canaday’s finish in the 55m hurdles. “He ran the race of his life.”
Other individual champions from the Bay Rivers included Bruton’s Carley Shannon, who won the girls 3200 in 11:20.73, and Smithfield’s Marquis Childress, who won the boys’ high jump and triple jump.
Click here for complete results of the Group AA meet, courtesy of milestat.com.