Taylor, Pyles, Walther and two relay teams place at state track meet
Senior Jesse Taylor's fourth place finish in the high jump (5-10) was the highest medal earned by a 2012 Pocahontas County High School competitor at the 2012 State Track Meet held May 19-20 at Laidley Field in Charleston. Taylor was predicted to finish in fifth place at states by RunWV.com, but Taylor exceeded expectations.
His top jump this season, 6-00, was tied with two other Class A athletes for fourth place in West Virginia after the regional meets, so in order to keep fourth place he had at least two jumpers he had to beat and not tie. Taylor's 5.08 regional jump tied him with Zain Creamer, of South Harrison, for fourth place among all regional jumpers. Junior Anthony Aviles, of Gilmer, broke his own 2011 6-05.25 record with a 6-06 record jump this year, and two more juniors, Creamer and Dillon Muhly-Alexander, of Doddridge, tied for second place with 6-04 jumps. A Tucker sophomore, Mitchell Mason, took fifth with a 5-08 jump.
Pocahontas's Jeff Fertig broke the state record in 2009 with a 6-5 jump, and the best jump in 2010 was 6-2. Aviles broke Fertig's record by .25 inch in 2011.
The shuttle-hurdle relay team of freshman lead Stephen Simmons, Taylor, senior Curtis Pyles and senior anchor Bill Kelley also exceeded expectations with a fifth place finish (1:04.29). Their regional time of 1:05.08 was also the sixth best time this season in West Virginia, and they cut .79 second off that time at states. The Doddridge team broke the record in the event, 59.14 held by South Harrison since 2007, with a 59.01 effort this year.
Coach Delmas Barb's 4x200 team of senior lead Curtis Pyles, juniors Seth Painter and Kyler Doss, and anchor Kelley pulled off a minor miracle with another fifth place finish (1:36.57). Although the PCHS foursome held the fourth best time in WV of 1:36.40, their regional time on the same Laidley Field track was only eighth best at 1:37.64. RunWV.com did not predict that PCHS could make the improvement in a week to win one of the six medals, and hand times at local meets versus fully automated timing at Laidley Field could have been a factor in the predictions. Charleston Catholic was .01 second behind PCHS in the final best performances, but made the biggest improvement at states to jump from #5 to #3.
Senior Curtis Pyles was not listed in the top ten 200m runners in the final best performances list released after regionals, and he was not predicted to medal at states. Anyone who watched Pyles come off the bench at basketball games or play at soccer matches, had to take note of his amazing speed. He was also heading to his eighth and final state tournament (soccer - 1, golf -2, basketball - 1 and track - 4) in his career at PCHS, and the third this year. Pyles most likely now has the boys record for state tournament participation.
2004 graduates, Erin Coleman and Caroline McKean (basketball - 3 and track - 4) most likely still hold the record for girls with participation in seven state tournaments.
On Friday in the 200 prelims, Pyles had to finish at least eighth out of 15 runners to advance to the finals in the next to last event on Saturday. Curtis ran a 23.74 and nipped a Williamstown runner by .02 second to take the coveted eighth spot. His regional time of 24.05 was ninth out of the 16 qualifiers. In the prelims Pyles was .01 second behind Tucker's Chris Freeman, but he would still have to beat one more runner to win a medal. When the dust settled, all eight runners ran slower in the finals-probably due to two days of competing in 85 degree weather. Pyles beat Freeman and the #5 qualifier to finish sixth in a time of 24.07.
Two PCHS sophomore discus throwers were ranked in the top ten in the event, #7 Evan Rose (122.09) and #8 (tie) Judd Walther (122.08). Rose dropped out of track at the end of the season due to some valuable community service training that conflicted with track. All the ranked throwers threw under their best throws at states, and Walther gained some ground with a sixth place medal (120-01).
Taylor placed sixth as predicted in the prelims of the 110m high hurdles (16.91), but dropped to eighth in the finals (17.32). Taylor's best performance for the season was a #6 ranking of his regional time of 16.95.
The PCHS boys finished with medals in two relays and three individual events for a total of 11 medals. Pyles came home with three medals, Taylor and Kelley each won two, and Simmons, Painter, Doss and Walther all earned one each.
Twenty-one teams scored in the Class A boys meet. The PCHS Boys finished #16 with 10 points. The top-five schools with points were: Doddridge County (second straight year) - 109, Williamstown - 70, St. Marys - 60, Charleston Catholic - 51 and Buffalo - 43. The top-five boys with points were: #1 Daniel Plaugher - Doddridge - 25, #2 Dylan Rich - Buffalo - 23.5, #3 Matthew White - Valley Fayette - 22, #4 Casey Pingley - Valley Wetzel, #5 (tie) Devon Carr - Williamstown and Tyler Zahnow - Bishop Donahue - 18 each.
Eighteen teams scored in the girls meet. The PCHS Girls did not score. The top five schools were: #1 Williamstown (second straight year) - 152, #2 Doddridge - 99, #3 St. Marys - 91, #4 Tucker County - 50, and #5 Clay-Battelle - 40. The top-five girls were: #1 D'Andra Swiger - Doddridge - 36, #2 (tie) Maggie Drazba - St. Marys and Andrea Chidester - Williamstown - 32.5 each, #4 Lincoln Postlewaiote - Williamstown - 26.5 each, and #5 Sarah Ferguson - Doddridge - 21.
Placing in seventh place for PCHS were: Pyles, Kelley, Doss and Painter (4x100 - 46.50). Others finishing in eighth place were: juniors lead Clayton Irvine and Georg Faerber, sophomore Andrew Morrison and junior Parker White (4x800 - 9:13.50). Ninth place finishers were: sophomore lead Allison Jonese, senior Lindsey Kinder, juniors Olivia Workman and anchor Sam Walton (4x100 - 55.02). Tenth place athletes were: juniors lead Emily Gibson, Walton, Workman and anchor Lindsey Kinder (shuttle hurdles - 1:14.47); Irvine (3200 - 10:50.13); and Taylor (300 hurdles - 43.88).
The 95th state track meet saw 26 meet records set and one tied. The most ever 40-point performances by individual athletes, three, occurred this year, and only 10 athletes have done that now in meet history. St. Mary's Maggie Drazba, nationally ranked in two events, broke her own meet records in the 800, 1600 and 3200 and St. Mary's does not have a track at their high school.
Coach Kay Wiley has really gone way beyond the call of duty this year when key coaching vacancies needed filled, and she has helped keep the entire athletic program operating. In the process, Wiley has guided three teams to states: volleyball and girls and boys track.
And that is only a fraction of what Wiley does for our PCHS athletic programs. Wiley is a 1978 graduate of PCHS.
The following seven athletic programs have either made it to playoffs or to states so far this year: golf, football, volleyball, girls and boys basketball, and girls and boys track.
And baseball is now in regional play. Eight programs made it to playoffs or to states in 2008-2009, and three programs, baseball and both soccer programs made it for the first time ever. One athlete, Aaron Totten, made it to states in four sports in that one season.
The official results of the track meet at Oak Hill have yet to be reported to RunWV.com and to our coaches. Wiley is checking on a possible school record either being tied or broken at that meet by sophomore Fredricah Gardner in the discus event. Jennifer Rose broke the record in 2003 with a toss of 94'.