Virginia High girls, John Battle boys lay claim to Clinch Mountain District team track titles

George Thwaites • May 10, 2013 at 11:43 PM

BRISTOL, Va. — In what was billed as the final Clinch Mountain District track and field championship, the Virginia High girls successfully defended their house.

Teonna Austin broke two meet records and helped shatter a third while leading a talented Lady Bearcats squad to the title with 145.5 points at Virginia High’s posh — if at times damp — track and field facility Friday.

“Other than basketball, I’d say track is my best sport,” said Austin, who clocked a 12.70 in the 100 meters, displacing the 12.85 she set in last year’s meet.

Austin also bested herself in the 400, eclipsing her 2012 record time (62.63) with a 61.74.

She also ran a leg of the Lady Bearcats’ 4x100 relay, which is the top-ranked squad in the state. Combined with teammates Alayah Eccleston, Tierra Richmond and Briana Simpson, the Lady Bearcats turned in a meet-record 50.71.

Simpson also won the 200 (27.39) and Meta Grayson won the 3,200 (13:43.47).

The crown marked Virginia High’s first district title in girls track and field since 2008.

“We’ve got some really good sprinters and some good kids kind of filling in some spots. They’re a lot of fun to coach,” said Mike Goforth, Virginia High’s director of track and cross country.

On the boys’ side, John Battle coach Steve Wright, who skippered the Trojans to unprecedented heights on the gridiron this past fall, steered Battle to another CMD championship.

“The kids did a good job. I’m proud of them. We needed everybody because Virginia High scored a bunch of points in the field events,” said Wright, whose team compiled 140 points.

Battle’s Carter Harlow ran a meet-record 22.50 in the 200, also winning the 100 (11.26). Martin Baxter won the 800 (2:06.77). Brad Swiney took the 1,600 (4:50.48) and set a meet record in the 3,200 (9:53.03). Christian Estes, Harlow, Logan Honaker and Josh Matney teamed up for a win in the 4x100 relay (46.39).

Virginia High’s Nik Huffman threw the discus 176-11 to top his 2012 meet record. He won the shot with a heave of 56-10, but the 60-foot mark once again eluded the Group A state record-holder in that event. Huffman had at least one that went 61, but momentum carried him past the toe board for a scratch.

“I’ve been throwing some big throws, I just having been sticking them. Of course they don’t count if you don’t stick them,” said Huffman, the defending Group A state champion in shot and discus.

In the girls’ shot put, Gate City freshman Jordan Houseright broke the meet record with her throw of 36-8½. She finished second in the discus.

“I was going for 37 or 38 (in the shot), but I think that was OK,” said Houseright, whose personal best is 36-10. “I like coming out here and competing against myself and other people.”

The Lady Blue Devils doubled down in the horizontal jumps, with Bailie Light winning the long jump (14-6½) and the triple jump (29-2½).

“It was pretty hard today since it was raining. (The runway) was well maintained. I just think the weather got to everyone,” Light said.

Gate City’s Sarah Kilgore won the high jump (4-6), also teaming with Ashley Carter and sisters Hannah and Rachel Kilgore to win the 4x100 relay (4:38.60). In other girls action, Lee High’s Taylor Ashley won the 100 hurdles (19.93).

In the boys’ meet, Gate City’s Robbie Hicks won the long jump (19-2½) and the 300 hurdles (41.98). Lee High’s Houston Sage won the 110 hurdles (16.12).

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