Graham (x2), Rodriguez, Kelly and Pyles win state track championships;ﾠEvan Rose runner-up in Discus
The 2011 Pocahontas County High School Boys Track Team,coached by Mike Knisely, finished in eighth place in Class A and scored 35 points (23 teams scoring) at the West Virginia High School State Track Meet held Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, at Laidley Field.ﾠ
The top eight boys teams with their point totals followed by Josh Weekly's RunWV.com predicted finish were:ﾠ #1 Doddridge County - 88 points (Prediction (P) - #2); #2 Charleston Catholic - 67 (P - #3); #3 Williamstown - 56 (P - ﾠ#4); #4 St. Marys - 50 (P - ﾠ#1); #5 Buffalo - 48 (P - #5 ); #6 Valley (Wetzel) - 42 (P - #9); #7 East Hardy - 36 (P - #9 ); and #8 PCHS - 35 (P - #6).
The top eight girls teams were:ﾠ #1 Williamstown - 125 (P - #1); #2 Charleston Catholic - 77 (P - #3); #3 St. Marys - 76.5 (P - #2); #4 Doddridge County - 69 (P - #4); #5 South Harrison - 36 (P - #5); #6 Wheeling Central Catholic - 30 (P - #7); and #7 Wahama - 24 (P - #8).
All state results and predictions can be found at RunWV.com under Track and Field and then under the State Meet on the left tab.
I reported last year that then junior Tanner Graham would be the heir apparent to the 2011 400m championship after winning the silver medal in the 400m (51.24), .53 second behind senior Kyle Davies, of St. Marys. Davies was last year's #1 meet high scorer in all classes.
Graham went into this year's meet with the #2 best performance (52.35) in the 400m and was predicted by RunWV to finish second behind junior Derek Renner, of St. Marys. Renner had the #1 best performance, 51.77.
Graham thought differently.
He upset Renner for the state championship with a 51.37 time to Renner's 52.10.
Ryan Jobes, of Williamstown, holds the current meet record in the 400m with a time of 50.25.
The PCHS Boys 4x400m relay team was predicted to finish first this year, and the Warrior faithful had to wait until the final leg of the final event on Saturday to see if senior Alex Rodriguez, juniors Curtis Pyles, William Kelley, and senior anchor Tanner Graham could stand up to the pressure of that prediction.
It was a come-from-behind kick at the end by Graham that finally gave PCHS the state championship in an event that PCHS has been getting so close to winning for many years.
PCHS had the #1 best performance, 3:36.13, going into the meet, and Charleston Catholic had the #2 time, 3:37.08.ﾠ RunWV reported that Charleston Catholic could do enough maneuvering to win the event by moving Michael Robinson to the event, and they did that, but it still did not stop the determined Pocahontas four.ﾠ
Run.WV also predicted that if St. Mary's could hit the 3:36 range, they could win the event.ﾠ St. Mary's ran a 3:40.90, but one leg of their team ran out of lane, and the team was disqualified.ﾠ PCHS ran a best 3:35.19 and beat Charleston Catholic's second best 3:37.38 effort.ﾠ Pocahontas had gone head-to-head with the then #1 ranked Catholic relay team at the Fayetteville Lions Club Meet recently and upset Catholic.ﾠ '
Catholic's 2010 time of 3:32.57 is still the meet record.
For comparison, the 1978 Class AA PCHS Boys 4x400m relay team of William Dilley, Mark Gum, Rick Irvine and David Lee Cassell, had the third best combined WV Class A-AA time of the 1970s decade with a time of 3:30.83.
Last year junior Evan Rose had his best efforts of the season in both the shot put (44-10.50) and the discus (133-02) for fourth and fifth place state medals respectively.ﾠ Rose was ranked eighth in the shot and sixth in the discus going into the 2010 state meet, and he was predicted to only win fifth in the discus.ﾠ
This year Evan was ranked fourth in the shot (46-02) and second in the discus (135-09), and he was predicted to finish in the same positions at states.ﾠﾠ Rose threw the shot further, 47-01, and tossed the discus even further, 140-07, andﾠ he still finished fourth and second in the shot and discus respectively.
Last year's state champion in both events, senior Aaron Schneid of Wheeling Central, was upset in the shot, finishing third (49-05.50), but only managed to best Rose in the discus by less than three feet with a 143-05 toss.
Rose comes from good stock with his father, James "Bee" Rose, holding the PCHS discus school record of 147'4" and sister, Jennifer Rose, holds the girls PCHS discus record of 94'
Dave Cain's PCHS school record in the shot is 49'8".
If the 200m event had ended after the preliminaries, Graham would have carried home a silver medal to go with his two gold medals.ﾠ Tanner was third ranked going into states with a time of 23.39 in the 200m, and he was predicted to finish second, which is what he did in the preliminaries.ﾠ But in the finals on Saturday Graham finished with a sixth place medal and a 24.19 time.
One fan speculated that a false start by another competitor might have contributed to Graham's slower time.ﾠ The difference between #1 and PCHS's #5 was 1.34 seconds.
Graham's fourth medal was earned in the 4x200m relay (Kelley, Rodriguez, sophomore Kyler Doss, Graham) which he ran instead of his 100m individual event.ﾠ PCHS was predicted to finish sixth, but exceeded expectations and finished fifth in a time of 1:37.07, which was slower than their fifth ranked best time of 1:36.85.
Graham has signed to run track at West Virginia Wesleyan.
Senior Noah Pugh just missed a medal in the 300m hurdles with a seventh place (field of 16 per event) time of 44.18.ﾠ Pugh was the ninth ranked individual going into states with a time of 44.34 which he exceeded at states.
The boys shuttle hurdle relay team was not predicted to finish in the top six and were not ranked in the top 10 times going to Charleston, but the team of juniors Jesse Taylor, Pyles and Kelley plus Pugh finished seventh in 1:04.45, about one-third second from a medal.
The very young girls team did not score this year (22 teams scoring), but with only one senior, Merandia Shinaberry, graduating, Coach Kay Wiley saw much improvement over the season that should pay off next season.ﾠ The girls shuttle hurdle team (junior Lindsey Kinder and sophomores Sam Walton, Olivia Workman and Emily Gibson) had their best time of the year and highest girls finish (thirteenth out of 16) while tieing the school record.
PCHS graduate Jeffrey Fertig's Class A boys state high jump record of 6-05, that has held since May 23, 2009, was the only boys Class A record broken this year.ﾠ Anthony Aviles of Gilmer County pushed the record slightly higher with a 6-05.25 jump.ﾠ Girls records in Class A were broken 10 times this year.
The very close boys high point honors went to #1 sophomore Daniel Plaugher of Doddridge - 24.5 points, #2 junior Evan Childers of Buffalo - 20.75, #3 junior Casey Pingley of Valley (Wetzel) - 20.5,ﾠ and #4 senior Dylan McNutt of Williamstown - 19.50, andﾠ #5 junior Andrew Shaffer of Richwood - 18.ﾠ Graham finished with 14 points and Evan Rose with 12.
The girls high point honors went to:ﾠ #1 senior Gretchen Lantz of South Harrison - 36, #2 sophomore Maggie Drazba of St. Marys - 31.5, #3 freshman Sarah Ferguson of Doddridge - 25.5, #4 sophomore Sami Harris of Charleston Catholic - 24.50 and #5 (tie)ﾠ sophomore D'Andra Swiger of Doddridge and sophomore Kelsey Zuspan of Wahama- 24 each.ﾠ