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Union’s 4x100 relay, Burton’s Blair-James capture state gold

Tanner Cook • Jun 3, 2018 at 1:32 AM

ELKTON, Va. — After a rain-shortened first day at the VHSL Class 1/2 state track and field championships at East Rockingham High School, the meet came to a conclusion Saturday evening, and several Southwest Virginia athletes stood out at the highest level.

All athletes making the top eight earned all-state honors.


Union finished fourth in the Class 2 boys team standings, bolstered by its gold medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team. In a downpour that lasted most of the meet, James Mitchell, Avery Jenkins, Dakota Owens and Ty Cockerel crossed the line in 44.24 seconds.

Maggie Walker won a fourth consecutive Class 2 boys team title by compiling 90.5 points. The Dragons dominated in the pole vault, scoring 28.5 points and having six of the eight possible placings. They also racked up points in the distance events; Union had no points from those events.

The Bears also received points from junior Justin Barnett’s second-place finish in the shot put (51 feet, 8 inches), Trevor Wagner’s fifth-place showing in the 110 hurdles (16.40) and Zion Mitchell’s eighth in the 110s (16.59).

Owens also tallied points in the 200 (third, 23.01) and 400 (fourth, 50.77). His 400 finish was a school record.

Jenkins nabbed a silver in the 300 hurdles, crossing the line in 40.99 — also a school record.


Other notables from the area saw Gate City’s Michael Calhoun have a huge day in the shot put.

Calhoun threw a personal-best 50-2.5 that rewarded him with a bronze medal.

Andrew Deel of Wise Central placed sixth to earn honors with a season best of 10:11.37 in the 3,200 meters.

On the girls’ side, Ridgeview’s Nikole Counts finished sixth in the 400 meters, posting a time of 1:03.13. She also got fifth in the high jump, leaping 4-10 on fewer misses.

Union’s Emili Brooks finished in a tie for eighth, clearing 4-8 on fewer misses.


The story of the day was Wilson Memorial winning the Class 2 girls title over Maggie Walker in a major upset spurred by Emilie Miller’s remarkable day.

Miller totaled 58 points and won five individual titles: the 100, 200, 100 hurdles, pole vault and triple jump. She finished second in the long jump.


Lydia Blair-James of J.I. Burton returned to Norton with state gold after winning the girls’ 100 hurdles. The sophomore posted a time of 16.50 to edge William Campbell’s MaKayla Graves (16.60).

Blair-James also recorded a third-place finish in the 300 hurdles (51.37) and a fourth in the high jump (4-8).


Thomas Walker’s Jake Davis earned all-state in four events, finishing fourth in the high jump (6-0) and sixth in the long jump (20-11.25), triple jump (40-8.25) and 100 (11.17).


Other top finishes in the Class 1 meet from Southwest Virginia were: Twin Springs’ Ethan Hillman in the 200 (eighth, 23.66) and Jarvis Pennington in the 800 (eighth, 2:07.92); Burton’s Najee Steele in the 400 (seventh, 53.24); Thomas Walker’s Logan Hounshell in the discus (sixth, 129-7); Castlewood in the girls’ 4x800 (fourth, 10:55.53); Burton in the girls’ 4x400 (sixth, 4:37.93); Castlewood (seventh, 3:46.40) and Burton (eighth, 3:48.78) in the boys’ 4x400; and Castlewood in the boys’ 4x800 (seventh, 8:57.71).