KINGSPORT — The Science Hill girls track team leapt back into the Times-News Relays spotlight Friday.
A pair of Lady Hilltopper relay teams ran their way into the T-N annals, while Jasmine Foster and a host of others claimed individual wins at the 31st edition of the relays at Sullivan North.
The Hill fell under the radar last year — thanks to the theatrics of former Abingdon distance runner Griff Graves — but didn’t have to wait long to return to the headlines.
“This was big day for us,” said Foster, who was a double winner in both the shot put and discus.
“I think we’re getting better every meet. I don’t think we’ve even peaked yet. We’re rounding into form at the right time.”
The ’Toppers made the biggest splash of all Friday in the 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays.
Led by senior Allie Scalf, Science Hill won the 4x800 in a time of 9:35.62. It obliterated the previous mark set by — you guessed it — Science Hill in 2006. By 15 seconds (9:51.27).
“We just went out and knew we could do it,” said Molly Foster, who ran the opening leg. “We did our thing. We ran off each other, knowing we had to drop times.”
Later, she returned to capture the 3,200 title in 11:26.85. Not a bad day at the track for an eighth grader.
“I didn’t think I could run that fast,” she said. “I can’t really believe it.”
Things got even better, too. The Hilltoppers closed the meet with a comfortable victory in the 4x400 (4:01.74), nipping the meet record of 4:01.84 established by the Hill in ’07.
Jasmine Foster set the tone for the Lady ’Toppers, capturing gold medals in the shot (37-10¾) and discus (113-09). It wasn’t a vintage performance, but the senior wasn’t complaining.
She was the Tom Coughenour award winner for most outstanding performance in field events.
“I felt pretty good but there are a few things I need to tweak for sectionals,” Jasmine Foster said. “I have been happy with my performances this season, but lately I’ve kind of been in a slump.
“I think I can knock this wall down, though.”
Tori Head certainly hasn’t hit the wall, yet.
The Dobyns-Bennett senior was first in the 200 (26.52), and ran anchor legs on the Lady Indians’ winning 4x100 (50.79) and 4x200 (1:46.33) teams. Her anchor in the 4x200, a sizzling effort, completed a marvelous rally in the event.
It was a display that earned Head the Coughenour award for the meet’s most exceptional girls runner.
“I love the 200,” Head said. “That’s my big race. And, in the 4x200, I was determined to win. Those kind of races are so fun. I think it’s more fun to catch someone than to blow them out. It really pushes you.”
One of Jasmine Foster’s teammates — on the boys side — followed her lead with a memorable display in the discus.
Senior Bruce Crumley held off George Wythe’s Will Sawyers, the ’08 champion, to claim the crown. His third attempt, at 159-5, tied a 50-year-old school record.
The Milligan signee was honored with the Coughenour award for boys field events.
“(Will) had me nervous coming into this thing,” Crumley said. “I was definitely motivated.
“I really wanted to break that record so, now, I’ve got one of my goals out of the way.”
Mark Waugh headed Virginia High’s barrage on Northeast Tennessee with wins in the 110 (15.17) and 300 (39.60) hurdles.
Recognized for his exceptional day with the Coughenour award for boys running, Waugh was also a member of the Bearcats’ victorious 4x100 team (43.34).
“It was pretty close in the 110,” Waugh said. “I thought I was going to lose.
“This is the most competition I’ve had all year.”
He wasn’t alone.
Virginia High’s boys somehow clipped Morristown East in the 4x400 relay. The ’Cats closed in 3:32.19; the Hurricanes crossed one-hundredth of a second later.
Things were even closer in the boys 800. In a photo finish, Isaiah Greer of Science Hill beat Daniel Boone’s Andrew Price by three one-thousandths.
Perhaps the most competitive race of the night, however, was in the boys 100.
Eurena Semper roared past a pair of heavyweights — Damon Dock and Darryal Wilson — down the stretch to take the gold. Semper, the only representative from Tri-Cities Christian, posted a personal best time of 11.16.
“That was a great race,” said the sophomore, who is originally from Manchester, England.
“I expected this, though. I expected to win. All in all, this was a fantastic day.”