Starcher leads Ripley to title, Winfield sweeps at State Track

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a marathon state track and field championship which included a four-hour weather delay Friday and several postponed events, many team championships were not decided until late Saturday afternoon. Some title chases did not conclude until the 18th and final event.

Boys Class AAA

Spring Mills and Wheeling Park battled — quite literally — to the final seconds for the large school division title. Entering the final event, the Cardinals held a one point lead on the Patriots 62-61. Both teams were the top-seeded squads in the 4×400 meter relay. The winner would assure themselves the title. Spring Mills’ team of Jacob Michael, Zeead Belhachmi, Mason Williams and Kobe O’Niel came through, crossing the line in a time of 3:26.76. Park’s third-place finish assured them the runner-up spot in Class AAA.

The title is the first for the Berkeley County school. O’Niel and Michael finished first and second respectively in the 400 meter run, accounting for 18 of the Cardinals 72 team points. Freshman Zilan Williams recorded the other event victory today for Spring Mills by winning the 200 meters.

Girls Class AAA

Ripley junior Tori Starcher deals with the pressure of expectations every time she steps on the track. Starcher, fresh off her victory at the prestigious Penn Relays last month, felt a different kind of pressure Saturday. With her Vikings trailing 74-72 entering the final event, her 4×400 meter relay team needed a victory to assure themselves of the team championship.

Starcher and her teammates delivered, winning in a state meet record time of 4:01.64. Starcher ran the anchor leg behind Kyanah Baldwin, Cassidy Miller and Allyson Fields. “We didn’t have the best seed going in (No. 3) but we knew based on our PR’s (personal records) going in that we were capable of a much faster time,” Starcher said.

Starcher won her 1600 meter and 800 meter events in dominating fashion earlier in the day, giving her three individual titles to go along with the relay and team championships.

The Vikings won two other events Saturday. Fields won the 100 meter run in 12.47 seconds. Senior Olivia Miller won the pole vault, clearing 10 feet, 6 inches.

The Vikings defended their state title from 2018. Wheeling Park came in as the runner-up.

Boys Class AA

Winfield held off a stern test from Fairmont Senior, edging the Polar Bears 80-62. The Generals now own nine state titles.

Future Kentucky Wildcat Aaron Withrow won all four of his events, taking titles in the 800m, 1600m, 3200m and the 4x400m relay. The win in the 4×4 officially locked up the title for WHS in the second-to-last event of the day.

Girls Class AA

Winfield was the favorite going into the state tournament but defending champion Bridgeport gave the Generals all they could handle before WHS finally secured the title. Winfield claimed their fourth state championship in the last five years, edging the Indians, 124-121.

Bridgeport won three relay championships on Saturday, taking the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 titles. But the Generals scored five wins on the final day. Freshman Allie Germann claimed victory in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. Baylee Adkins won the 800. Grace Cole took the 1600 title and Dianna Goodman won the pole vault in a state record height of 11 feet, 4 inches.

Boys Class A

Doddridge County won their ninth boys title and their first since 2015. The Bulldogs edged Magnolia 84.33-82. Doddridge claimed only two victories on Saturday but their depth showed in several events.

Griffin Devericks won the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 11 1/4 inches. Fellow junior Cole James scored eighteen points for DCHS. He won the discus throw with a toss of 150 feet, 3 inches. James was also the runner-up in the shot put.

The Bulldogs did most of their heavy lifting on Day 1 as Reese Burnside and Dawson Evans finished 1-2 in the pole vault.

Magnolia’s Jakob Barrows won the shot put, Spencer Shepherd won the 800 and Pat Mirandy won the 400 meter run to pace the Blue Eagles.

Girls Class A

In the only team competition that was decided early on Saturday, Williamstown won their seventh girls state title, dominating the Class A field with 108.5 points. Lilly McMullen won the 200 and 400 meter runs. Ella Hesson added distance titles in the 800 and 1600 to her 2-mile win Friday. The Yellow Jackets also won a pair of relays, taking the 4×200 and 4×400 titles.

Ritchie County was the runner-up with 52 points. Freshman Olivia Cress added a long jump title to her high jump win from Friday afternoon. Magnolia’s Mady Winters swept the shot put and discus competitions while teammate Kyndra Pilant finished second and third respectively in those events.

Marquee Performances

Weir junior Sebastian Spencer delivered four electrifying performances Saturday afternoon. He began the day by breaking the state record in the Class AA 100 meter run. His time of 10.6 was a tenth of a second faster than the previous record holder — his older brother Donovan set the mark two years ago.

“It means everything,” said Spencer. “I am keeping everything in the family. To beat my brothers’ record feels amazing.”

Spencer also won the 200 meter and ran anchor leg for the victorious 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays. Spencer passed three competitors in each of his relay runs to win close races to the line.

Woodrow Wilson’s Mikah Alleyne went 4-for-4 on Saturday. She tied her own state record time in the 400 meter run (56.04). Alleyne then won 300 hurdles, 100 hurdles and 200 meters.

Webster County Breaks Two Records

The Highlander quartet of Reece Nutter, Dawson Tharp, Logan Cochran and Cole Deel knocked down a pair of state meet records on Saturday. First, they shattered the 4×200 mark which stood for 15 years, clocking in at 1:30.12. The team would later set a new standard in the 4×100 at 43.65 seconds.¬†All four team members are juniors.

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