Pocahontas Boys place fourth at Gazette RelaysRose, Graham, 4x400m Team grab gold
Coach Mike Knisely took 13 PCHS Boys Track Team members over spring break to Charleston on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, for the 76th Gazette / Friends of Coal Relays at Laidley Field. The meet attracted about 50 teams, which is fewer than the 88 teams last year and the over 100-team average in previous years.
The 12 boys in 2009 finished in second place with 99 points, and the 15 boys in 2010 placed third with 78 points. Five of the 10 A boys teams that scored this year are ranked, and the 2011 top-six teams with their state rank and meet points were: First - Doddridge County (#2 ranked - 117 points), Second-tie - Charleston Catholic (#4 - 115), Second-tie - Buffalo (#5 - 115), Fourth - Pocahontas County (#7-tie - 92), Fifth - Gilmer County (unranked - 50), Sixth - Valley Wetzel (#7-tie - 16).
The PCHS boys team jumped one rank last week to #7 in WV Class A and are now ranked in the top 10 of 11 events. At this point in the 2010 season, the number of both rankings were exactly the same, but the mix of athletes and events is different. Entering or moving up or down in the event rankings this week were: senior Tanner Graham - unranked to #9-tie 100m - 11.94, #7 to #4-tie 200m - 23.96, and #2 to #1 400m - 52.40; senior Alex Rodriguez - unranked to #9 400m - 54.73; 4x100m team - 48.36 unranked to #9; 4x200m - 1:39.15 unranked to #5; 4x400m - 3:42.90 #4 to #3; 4x800m - 9:18.90 #6 to #7; shuttle hurdle - 107.90 unranked to #10; senior Evan Rose - #4 to #3 discus - 131.07 (6' improvement).
The Boys A-meet three high scorers were: #1 Daniel Plaugher - Doddridge (26), #2 Evan Childers - Buffalo (24), and #3 will Dobbins - SMHS (23). If the top-five scorers had been recognized as in the past, Graham - 22.5 points and Evan Rose - 20 would have contended for the fourth and/or fifth place awards.
Evan Rose (shot and discus) was one of only three double gold medal winners in the boys A meet, along with Childers, of Buffalo, (1600m, 3200m) and Plaugher, of Doddridge, (110m and 300m hurdles). Rose increased his #4 ranked shot toss about eight inches to 46.02 and his #3 ranked discus throw one foot to 132.07. Evan easily beat the second place athlete in the shot by 5'1" and by 16' in the discus.
Graham brought home gold in his #1 ranked 400m event with a .05 second slower time than his ranked time. Tanner won bronze in the 200m - 24.38 (23.73 prelims) and fourth in the 100m - 12.09 (11.75 prelims).
The final event, the 4x400m relay, had to be the highlight of the day for PCHS and two other public schools for more than one reason. PCHS went into the meet ranked #3 -3:42.90 in the event, Charleston Catholic #1 - 3:36.13, Doddridge #5 - 3:47.85 and Buffalo #6 - 3:48.68.
As Rick Ryan of the Charleston Gazette described it in Sunday's paper: "Doddridge was tied with Buffalo for second at 109 points, two behind Catholic (111). A victory in the 4x400m would have ensured at least a tie for the title for any of the three. Pocahontas County (Rodriguez, juniors Curtis Pyles and William Kelley, and anchor Graham) never let that happen, jumping into a comfortable lead, but the drama was just building."
When the dust settled, PCHS got 10 points for first in a time of 3:40.50, Doddridge got eight for second - 3:42.67, Buffalo got six for third - 3:42.75, and Catholic got four for fourth - 3:50.85. That finish dropped Catholic from meet champion into a second place tie of 115 points with Buffalo and gave Doddridge the meet championship with 117 points.
It is the second time that an extra PCHS effort in the 4x400m helped Doddridge to beat a private school (Wheeling Central previously at states) for the championship in a big meet. Charleston Catholic did win gold in the 4x100m, 4x200m and shuttle hurdles, and was #1 ranked in the first two plus the 4x400m. Catholic's time in the 4x100 and 4x200 were also meet records.
Senior Noah Pugh took silver in the 110m hurdles - 17.79, slower than his #8 ranked time - 17.14. Pugh also won a fifth place medal in the 300m hurdles - 45.62, which is very close to a top-10 ranking.
Junior Jesse Taylor was right behind Pugh with third in the 110m hurdles - 18.06.
Rodriguez earned fourth in the 400m - 54.55 and sixth in the 800m - 2:13. The 400m time would have ranked #8 last week, a jump of one place for him.
The other four boys relay teams also placed higher and had faster times than last year's showing: 4x100 - fourth (Bill Kelley, Jesse Hoke, David Kiner, Noah Pugh) (48.40), 4x200 - fourth (Kelly, Hoke, Kiner, Taylor) (1:42.21), 4x800 - third (Pyles, Parker White, Skylar Knisely and Rodriguez) (9:11.90), and shuttle hurdle - third (Taylor, Kelley, Pyles and Pugh) (1:05.84). The PCHS 4x800 time would have ranked #6 this week, a jump of one rank over #6 Tucker County. The shuttle hurdle time would have jumped their rank from #10 to #8 this week.
The 2007 PCHS girls 4x200m (Adrienne Nottingham, Nicole Barlow, Christin Shinaberry, and Michelle Holstine) Gazette record (1:52.36) will hold for another year after the Charleston Catholic team placed first in 1:52.97, still .62 second too slow to beat the only active PCHS Gazette record.
The full PCHS teams traveled to the Coalfield Conference Meet at Richwood on Tuesday, May 3, and a select team heads to the Fayetteville Lions Club Meet on Friday, May 6, at Oak Hill. Regionals are Thursday, May 12, with the state track meet on May 20-21, both at Laidley Field in Charleston.