Laila Calhoun wins four gold medals at regionals

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

Seventeen Pocahontas County High School athletes have qualified for the 104th state track meet in Charleston after competing at the Region 3A Track and Field Championships May 11, at Laidley Field in Charleston.

Coaches Abe Rittenhouse, Aaron Pugh and Josh Abbott will take 10 girls (seven made it in 2017, nine in 2016 and six  in 2015) who will compete in 10 of 17 events.  Seven boys will head to Charleston (10 in both 2017 and 2016, nine in 2015) and will compete in seven of 17 events. 

Sophomore Laila Calhoun scored 17.5 points on Friday and qualified to compete in four events at states while placing first in all four of her events.  Also placing in four events were: Cheylin Woodruff – 17.5 points, Cora Hedrick – 14.5 points, Sage McLaughlin – 13, Kira Bircher – 8, Savannah McMillion – 8, Kyle Cohenour – 16,  and Jacob Jones – 12.  Placing in three events were: Elijah Robertson – 10 points and Logan Woodruff – 6. Placing in two events were: Tessa Kiner – 8.5 points, Charity Warder – 8, Kiara Davis – 3, Thomas Smith – 7, Gus Foe – 4, and Cody Kiner – 3. Scoring in one event were: Bridget Carroll – 8 points, Cloey Sharp – 4.  Taylor Tegtmeyer – 2 points, Hunter Shafer – 2, and Isaac Evans – 2.

In 2016 the PCHS boys were fourth of 11 boys teams in Region 2A, and 10 squads scored; and in 2017 they were first of 11 squads in Region 3A, and nine teams scored. This year the boys placement and scoring in Region 3A was: #1 Richwood – 115, #2 Webster – 79, #3 Summers – 73, #4 PCHS – 64 points (#1 in 2017 – 111 points, #4 in 2016 – 73 and #3 in 2015 – 95), #5 Greenbrier West – 58, #6 Charles-ton Catholic – 47, #7 Midland Trail – 46, #8 Fayetteville – 19, #9 Valley (Fayette) ­– 13, and #10 Meadow Bridge – 6.

In 2016 the PCHS girls finished second of ten girls teams in Region 2A, and eight squads scored; and in 2017 they were fourth of 11 teams in 3A, and one team did not score.  This year the girls placement and scoring  in region 3A was: #1 Charleston Catholic – 154 points, #2 PCHS – 69 (#4 in 2017 – 69 points, #2 in 2016 – 96 and #3 in 2015 – 53), #3 M. Trail – 72, #4 Greenbrier West – 54, #5 Richwood – 48, #6 Summers – 39, #7 Valley (F) – 33, #8 M. Bridge – 6, #9 Webster – 4, #10 – M. View – 1.  Fayetteville did not score this year.

The first six places in each event score 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points respectively. Only the top three finishers in each event qualify for states with the exception of two field events, pole vault and high jump.

Only Laila Calhoun took gold in an individual event this year:  100m hurdles 33” – 16.99.  Calhoun’s time would have ranked #7 in West Virginia going into regionals, so she is close to medaling at states. Three girls relay teams placed first: 4×200 – 1:54.54 (better than their #3 in West Virginia time) (McMillion, Calhoun, Woodruff, and McLaughlin); 4x800m – 11:16.31 (slower than their #9 in West Virginia time) (McLaughlin, Calhoun, Bircher, and Hedrick); and 4×102.5m shuttle hurdle – 1:16.30 (Tessa Kiner, Bircher, McMillion, and Calhoun). 

Four PCHS athletes were awarded silver in individual events:  Woodruff – 100m – 13.39, Carroll – discus – 98-00 (shorter than her #6 in West Virginia throw), Cohenour – 800m – 2:13.82, and Robertson – 110m hurdles – 18.20. The girls 4x400m – 4:35.44 (better than their #8 in West Virginia time) (Davis, McMillion, Bircher and McLaughlin) and the boys 4x400m – 3.52.25 (Jones, Cohenour, Woodruff and Robertson), 4x800m – 9:21.71 (Jones, Cohenour, Woodruff and Foe), and shuttle hurdles – 1:07.47 (slower than their #10 state ranked time) (Jones, Shafer, Robertson and Woodruff) all placed second also.

Eight PCHS students took bronze in individual events: Woodruff – 200m – 28.27, McLaughlin – 400m – 1:02.90, Hedrick – 3200m – 13.08.18, Tessa Kiner – 300m hurdles – 1:01.41, Warder – discus – 84-06.50, Robertson – 110m hurdles – 17.48, Jones – 300m hurdles – 44.41 (slower than his #10 in West Virginia time), and Smith – shot put – 36.10.50.  

The number of Class A girls at-large qualifiers won by region from high to low is: Region 1 – 22 qualifiers (26 in 2017),  Region 2 – 21 (21 in 2017), Region 4 –16 (13 in 2017), and Region 3 – 7 (7 in 2017). Qualifiers won by boys region is: Region 2 – 34 (23 in 2017), Region 1 – 23 (20 in 2017), Region 4 – 5 (15 in 2017), and Region 3 – 0 (6 in 2017). Teams usually dress some alternates just in case a qualifier cannot compete.

The state track meet starts at 2 p.m. Friday, May 18, at Laidley Field in Charles-ton with five field events and the Class A girls 4×800 run.  The last Friday event, the AAA boys 3200, is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.  The meet continues on Saturday, May 20, at 9 a.m. with a lunch break from 12:05 to 1 p.m., National Anthem and Graduations at 12:40 p.m., and awards are scheduled for 5:25 p.m. The last event of the meet is always the 4×400 events with girls Class A beginning at 4:10 p.m.

We all hope that PCHS can have their best effort of the season in Charleston.  PCHS track athletes often exceed expectations when they get to Charleston.

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