Adriana Watkins of Dobyns-Bennett lands during her meet record-breaking triple jump during the Times-News Relays on Friday. (Ned Jilton II photo)
JOHNSON CITY — In recent years, sprinters and hurdlers usually provide most of the excitement at the Times-News Relays, presented by Marsh Regional Blood Center.
In Friday night's 36th running , held for the first time at Science Hill's Sidney Smallwood Track, it was a long-distance runner who stole the show.
Daniel Boone's Adam Barnard ran off at full gallop, shattering a 33-year-old meet record with his win in the 3,200 run.
Barnard's blistering pace resulted in a winning time of 9:07.54 — obliterating the 9:26.0 clocked by Virginia High's Chris Pruett in 1981.
John Battle's Brad Swiney came in favored to topple Pruett's mark, having posted a personal record 9:25.66. But with Boone teammate James Garst playing the rabbit to Swiney's hound, Barnard was able to make his move, seize the lead and make history.
"I honestly didn't know what the meet record was coming in. The goal was under nine minutes in the 3,200," said Barnard, who netted the meet's Chuck Brown Award for Outstanding Male Running Performance.
"Somewhere in there I felt I was really close to it. But that last 800 I was gassing and was trying to give my all and push it as hard as I could, but I just guess I didn't have anything left for it," Barnard said.
The Trailblazers blazed brightly in all three distance events. Josh Routh won the 1,600 (4:27.26) and Ashton Wilson took the 800 (1:56.44).
Before Barnard's epic 2-mile victory, his chief rivals for the Brown Award were Cherokee's Andrew Testerman and Sullivan South's Charlie McCann.
Testerman doubled up in the hurdles, winning the 110 highs with a 15.62 and collecting a gold in the 300s (40.40) with a last-hurdle surge that just got him past teammate Tyler Mayes (40.74).
"I was being pushed by my teammate. He came out pretty quick, but I had enough to catch him on that last hurdle," said Testerman, who finished third in the 110s and fifth in the 300s in last year's Relays.
"Times-News meet has always been my favorite meet. I love that one heat of intense competition. I've been waiting my turn against some other great hurdlers like (Volunteer's) Sam Barton. It feels good to finally get a couple wins," the Chiefs senior said.
McCann, a sophomore who until recently was better known as an outfielder on South's varsity baseball team, doubled up in the short sprints. The new kid blew away both fields, taking the 100 with an 11.07 and winning the 200 with a 22.14.
"I just came from baseball practice," McCann said after winning the 100. "I didn't have any baseball games today, so I figured I may as well. I'm out of shape, though."
Dobyns-Bennett's Adriana Watkins collected the Stacy Weaver Award for Most Outstanding Female Field Performance, winning the triple jump with a meet-record leap of 38-1. She went on to win the 300 hurdles (47.11) and ran a leg of D-B's winning 4x400 relay squad.
"I was just trying to get over 37. This year I've been jumping a lot of 36s and even some 37-5s, but I thought I could get 38 and the meet record was 38," said the future East Tennessee State trackster.
"My other jumps weren't the best, but my last one, for some reason always is, and it was. I'm happy because I actually got on the board for once in my life," she said.
Cherokee strongman Evan McCracken earned the Gerald Sensabaugh Award for Outstanding Male Field Performance for his dominant showing in the weight events. The defending TSSAA Class AAA shot-putting champ won that event with a throw of 56-4. He took the discus with a fling of 151-9.
George Wythe sprinter Meredith Willis won the Emma Bowers Award for Outstanding Female Running Performance, winning the 100 with a 12.41 and taking the 200 with a 25.42 that eclipsed the meet record 25.50 clocked by -- who else? -- Emma Bowers in 2007.
Dobyn-Bennett's Krystal Derr was in strong contention for the gold in the 100, taking second and collapsing at the finish with a hamstring injury.
The D-B boys put together a couple of relays of record for the 36th running.
D.J. Jones, Zach Casey, Bryce Barrett and Sam Brown clocked a 1:29.44 in the 4x200 relay that eclipsed the 1:29.52 logged by D-B in 2001.
The Tribe wrapped up the meet in spectacular fashion when Barrett, Casey and Brown joined Bryce Ailshie to record a time of 3:21.06 that bumped off the 3:22.96 set by Morristown West in 1985.
Ailshie, who took the final exchange to anchor the historic relay, picked up the gold in the earlier 400 race with a smoking 49.25.comments powered by Disqus