By Tessa Jones and Erin Walker
The James River Knights traveled to the Cregger Center in Salem on Wednesday and Thursday to compete in the Class 1a/2a State track meet. Although only a portion of the team qualified for states, the Running Knights made a big splash and showed the other teams they were there. Competing in states at any level is a great achievement for everyone. The states team was comprised of Catherine Amos, Anthony Etzler, Rachael Hix, Daniel Holter, Holly Hylton, Abbagail Link, Morgan Marshall, Kayla Meyers, Cole Miller, Camden Powell, Erin Walker, Katelyn Wiley and Logan Williamson.
The girls 4x800 relay was made up of Katelyn Wiley, Kayla Meyers, Abbagail Link and Catherine Amos. The girls had been running consistent times throughout the season, and qualified for states early on. Wiley kicked the race off, running an amazing split and keeping the girls in the competition. She handed off to Meyers, a freshman who had never ran track before this season. Meyers, who handed off to Amos, cheered on her teammates from the sidelines. Amos handed off to Link, who gave the girls a fourth place finish. In the end, they ran a great time of 10.46.
Camden Powell, Daniel Holter, Cole Miller and Anthony Etzler all ran in the boys 4x800 on Wednesday. This team had also qualified for states early on in the season, running new season bests at almost every meet. When they took the track, they were met with riotous cheers from their teammates and parents, adding to their adrenaline. When asked about the facility and track, Holter said, “I enjoyed running at Roanoke, the track was nice and it was spongy.” The boys finished with a blazing time of 9.04, placing fifth overall.
The 55m preliminaries also took place on Wednesday. If you run a top time, you get to compete the next day for the state title. Erin Walker ran the girls 55 dash with a time of 7.6, a qualifying time. Holly Hylton ran in the 55m hurdles prelims. While she didn’t make it to Thursday, she did run a PR with a time of 10.30. As a freshman, going and competing in states is a great achievement and everyone is excited for Hylton’s next three years.
While the runners were competing, Logan Williamson was throwing the shot put. He finished second overall with a throw of 50-01. When Williamson was asked about the meet he said,” Throwing was really great. They have an awesome pit, it's really easy to throw in.”
Katelyn Wiley also high jumped and triple jumped. This was Wiley’s first season ever high jumping, so her jump of 4’8” and fifth place finish is remarkable. Wiley is an incredibly athlete, she showed the coaches and the crowd that she can do anything. She also tripled jumped a 35-11, finishing third overall.
On Thursday, the competition really heated up. The day started off with the girls 55m dash finals. Erin Walker was the only girl competing for River. She finished with a PR of 7.6 and finished fifth overall.
After the 55m, the girls 4x200 took the track. Wiley ran first leg, putting the Knights in a great position by breaking the stagger. She handed off to Morgan Marshall, a sophmore, who kept the Knights in the competition. Marshall gave the baton to Rachael Hix, also a sophomore, who handed off to the anchor leg, Walker. This was Marshall’s first time running indoor track and only Hix’s second year and already they are showing great promise of continuing River’s legacy of great sprinters. The girls 4x200 relay finished sixth overall with a time of 1.55.84.
The next event River ran was the girls 500m dash. Wiley and Hylton both ran amazing times. The race for first was close, Wiley placed second overall with a time of 1.20.77, a school record. Hylton placed twelfth overall with her time of 1.31.29, and was one of only two freshman competing in this race at states.
The last race of the day for River was Walker’s 300m dash. “When I took the track I was really nervous. I hate that race. I just wanted it to be over with,” Walker said. She was in the third heat of the 300, and was seated in fourth place. She finished with a PR of 43.68, blowing out the PR she had set at regions earlier. She placed second overall, missing first place by 0.13 seconds.
Overall, indoor track was a huge success. Everyone who went to states made the All State Team, an amazing achievement for everyone who participated. They ended the season on a high note and are excited to see what outdoor holds!