PREP TRACK & FIELD: Well-rounded George Washington boys take regional title
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Highlights and personal records lined the results for the George Washington boys track team Friday. The Patriots edged Greenbrier East and Capital to capture the program’s first Class AAA Region 3 championship in five years.
Three different GW boys, including coach Brent Walker’s son, won two individual events, while Patriots freshman Kate Eddy qualified for the state meet in four events on the girls side. A one-two-three finish in a field event listed among the top accomplishments, though, Walker said.
“It doesn’t hurt to go one-two-and-three in the shot put,” Walker said of winner Nick Peyatte, runner-up Trevor Patton and third-place finisher David Smith. “I think that’s a story in itself, because two of those three throwers have never thrown the shot, never participated in track or field.
“Nick Peyatte, of course, he’s the guy that those throwers look up to, but Trevor Patton, a first-year guy who’s a junior, and then, of course, state champion wrestler David Smith went out and they just found a way to win. That’s exciting. That doesn’t hurt.”
Peyatte also added a victory in the discus to complete a solid showing in throwing events.
The throwers’ effort represented part of a greater GW movement, as the Patriots look to build the program, Walker said.
“It was very exciting to win the regional meet,” he said. “That was a big bonus for our boys. It’s been real important for me, as a coach, to bring GW track and field back to a level that it has been used to.”
Walker’s son Will Walker won both the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300 intermediate hurdles, playing a significant role this season in the team’s success.
“I couldn’t be prouder really as a coach, as a father,” Brent Walker said.
Senior Matt Brafford, a University of Oklahoma commit, rounded out the trio of GW double-event winners, by capturing victories in the 1600 and 3200.
Brafford’s dominance in the Kanawha Valley this season has sparked memories of 2013 Cabell Midland grad Jacob Burcham, a current Oklahoma runner, Brent Walker said.
“Matt Brafford, he was vintage Matt,” Brent Walker said of Brafford’s regional performance. “He’s just a competitor. In the Valley, he’s been who everyone has chased this year, much like many did Jacob Burcham, and so it’s been his turn this year.”
As a team, the Patriots boys won by two points over Greenbrier East, while crosstown rival Capital finished four points behind in third place.
While GW’s boys raced to a great team showing, Eddy led the girls effort with second-place showings in the 800 and 1600, finishing behind only Capital junior Peyton Panger, who dominated the field with wins in the 800, 1600 and 3200. Eddy also ran the first leg of the Patriots’ third-place 4x400 and 4x800 relays. In addition, teammate Lillie Jacobs won the discus.
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AT THE CLASS AAA Region 4 championship at Point Pleasant, Putnam County left its mark on the standings, with the top-ranked Hurricane girls holding off No. 3 Winfield. On the boys side, Winfield tied Huntington as co-region champions.
“It’s always going to be a dog fight between Winfield and us,” Hurricane coach Jason Henley said. “They always bring us their best and we try to do the same.”
Twice this season, the Generals defeated No. 1 Hurricane, with girls team titles at both the Mountain State Athletic Conference Championships and the Friends of Coal/Gazette Relays.
Henley said beating Winfield, nor winning the team championship ranked as Hurricane’s top goals on Friday, though.
“We put the pieces in the right place to do what we need to do next week,” he said. “Getting the win was nice, but it wasn’t the first priority this week: getting everybody out and qualified for states was.”
Hurricane senior distance runner Tori Dent, a Marshall commit, led the Redskins with wins in the 800 and 1600. Teammate Abbie Short won the 3200, as Hurricane completed the distance sweep. In fact, Hurricane and Winfield combined to take the top three spots in each of the three individual distance events.
Generals sophomore M.E. Zulauf won the 400, while Winfield’s Josee Erlandson, Taryn Napier and Jordan Pauley finished one-two-three in the 300 hurdles.
Hurricane qualified each of its five relays, while Winfield nearly matched the effort save for a dropped baton in the 4x200 that held the Generals to a fifth-place finish in that event.
In field events, Winfield’s Carly Hinkle (high jump) and Allie Perry (pole vault) won their respective events, as did Hurricane’s Audrey Barber (long jump) and Abby Watson (shot put).
St. Albans junior Anacia Hines won the 100 and 100 hurdles, with a second-place finish in the 200.
In boys action, the Generals led with their solid performances in field events.
“You’ve got Christian Smith and Chris Cochran in the pole vault, and Christian is also highly ranked in the long jump and high jump in the state,” Winfield boys coach Shawn Anderson said. “(Friday), in the pole vault, I think we got 16 points out of it.”
Cochran won the pole vault, with Smith third. Smith finished second in both the long jump and pole vault, behind Hurricane’s Garrett DeFries who won each event.
Henley said he was quite proud of the unranked Redskins boys, who finished third behind No. 5 Huntington and sixth-ranked Winfield.
“I’m probably more excited about the way that turned out with the guys and watching them all come together the way they did, as I have been with any performance they’ve had this year,” he said. “It was a good night.”