Track team defeats county rivals at conference meet

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The track team won the conference meet against Liberty and Kettle Run on Feb. 8 by half a point over Kettle Run, 62.5 to 62. The girls and boys 4×4 and 4×8 teams all made it in first place. Senior Shayne Halligan won first in the 1000-meter run and the 1600-meter run.
“Conference was fantastic; it was the first time the girls won since freshman year. It was great being on par with the guys,” Halligan said. “I wasn’t thinking about coming in first or the points. I was just thinking run, and run fast.”
Senior Jordyn O’Saben, who placed second in the 1600 meter run, said that the conference meet was tough.
“I had so much adrenaline rushing through my body,” O’Saben said. “I knew I had to push myself harder than in previous races.”
In order to win conference, FHS had to place first in the last 4×4, with Liberty second and Kettle Run third. If Kettle Run had come in second in that last 4×4, they would have won.
“We call it the backyard brawl because we want to win conference. We do not want to lose to Kettle Run or Liberty,” coach Quentin Jones said. “The meet has gotten tricky since now it’s only three teams instead of five or six teams to water down the points.”
Due to the inclement weather, the team missed three meets at Woodberry, Culpeper, and Kettle Run at the end of January. Before conference, the team’s most recent meet was at Woodberry Forest on Jan. 15; the girls 4×4 and 4×2 teams won, and the boys came in second. Senior Raul Chavez came in first on the 1,000-meter run and first on the 1,600-meter run. In conference he came in first in the 1,600-meter run and fourth in the 1,000-meter run. Chavez felt very confident about the team’s chance of winning and is proud of making it to the 4×800 and 4×4 in regionals.
“The 1600 meter run felt pretty bad; it hurt. I went out fast,” Chavez said. “But I liked being able to provide [points] for my team to help win.”
Junior Haileigh Byrd came in first in the 55 hurdles and first in the long and triple jumps at Woodberry, which was the first time Byrd had jumped for the long and triple jumps. She strained her ankle jumping in that meet and was at risk of not being able to compete in conference, but she got second place in the 55 meter hurdles and fifth in the high jumps and qualified for regionals on Feb. 20.
“I thought I was going to do better,” Byrd said. “But I was able to make it to regionals.”
At conference, Byrd placed second in hurdles, and the long and high job, which qualified her for regionals on Feb. 20.
On Dec. 19, the boys team won a meet by the narrow margin of one point against a field of approximately 30 teams at Virginia Tech. Both the girls 4×8 teams have qualified for the state meet, and the boys 4×4 has also qualified. Members of the team can qualify for states by making the qualifying times or by consistently finishing in the top five. States is on Feb. 26 and 27.
“We want to push as many people as possible on to states,” Jones said.
The team is practicing three times a week, including two days with a variety of workout routines. With the week off due to the snow storm, the hurdlers received an extra day of practice on Feb. 2. The rest of the team is continuing on schedule and practicing at home.
“They did an excellent job competing, and we’re very pleased with their effort. The girls going into the [conference] meet had not beaten KRHS during the regular season,” Jones said. “They did such a great job, and it was exciting to see them win.”
~nina quiles, staff reporter