Cheylin Woodruff and Irish Simmons notch school records

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

The last time that Pocahontas County High School competed in a Coalfield Conference Track Meet was May 6, 2014. The PCHS girls scored 98 points that year and came in second to 2014 Class A Coalfield Champion Richwood, who scored 144. The PCHS boys tied Greenbrier West in 2014 with 86 points each and both placed third behind 2014 Champion Richwood tallying 97 and second place Midland Trail with 93.

Things have obviously changed some in four years, and the PCHS girls walked away with the 2018 Class A Coalfield Conference Championship May 1 at Richwood with 170 points. The other six teams with their scoring were: Richwood – 131, Midland Trail – 72, Summers County – 52, Greenbrier West – 48, Meadow Bridge – 19, and Fayetteville – 1. 

The 108 points scored by the PCHS boys last Tuesday was good for second place behind Richwood’s 135.5 championship total, and that was with a key relay runner out nursing an injury.  The point totals of the other six teams were: GWHS – 87, SCHS – 71, MTHS – 68.5, MBHS –­ 19, and FHS – 18.

Coach Abe Rittenhouse reported  that the effort in Richwood “was a success for the girls…”  Rittenhouse also was proud of freshman Cheylin Woodruff, who came in second in the 100m, and her 13.10 time broke the PCHS School Record, 13.38, held by PCHS exchange student Rita Guamis since breaking the record on April 25, 2017, at the Nicholas County Invitational. Rittenhouse also reported that junior Irish Simmons came in second in the high jump (height was the same as the first place athlete) and tied the PCHS School Record of 4’ 10” set by Christin Shinaberry, a 2007 graduate.  Coach Rittenhouse also reported that we need to “keep an eye on sophomore Laila Calhoun in the open 100m hurdles.  Calhoun ran a 17.27 at Richwood (for second place), which is (about a) tenth (of a second) off of Sarah Weadon’s PCHS School Record of 17.20 seconds.  She (Calhoun) is just coming back from an injury and is looking good.  She will grab a spot on the 4x100m relay, as well.  Our girls team is doing well, and we are enjoying their hard work ethic.”

The PCHS girls took gold medals in all four of the relay events in which they competed.  The relay teams with their times were:  4×100 – 55.32 (Kira Bircher, Savannah McMillion, Kiara Davis and Woodruff) ; 4x200m – 1,56 (Bircher, McMillion, Woodruff and Sage Mc-Laughlin); 4x400m – 4.43 (Bircher, McMillion, Calhoun and Sage McLaughlin); and 4x800m – 11.33 (Bircher, Cora Hedrick, McLaughlin and Calhoun). 

Girls taking individual firsts were: McLaughlin in 400m – 1.05 and Tessa Kiner in 300m hurdles – 1.01.  Taking second were:  Davis in 400m – 1.07; Hedrick in 800m – 2.48, in 1600m – 6.32 and in 3200m – 14.32; and Bridget Carroll in discus – 98’3”.

“The boys shuttle hurdle team has been without one of its best runners, due to injury,” Rittenhouse said. “Last night (May 1) at Richwood the boys ran a 1:07…  We hope to get him back by regionals.”  

PCHS is ranked #7 in West Virginia this week with a previous time of 107.14. The shuttle team (Hunter Shafer, Elijah Robertson, Logan Woodruff and Jacob Jones) ranked #3 earlier in the season. Tucker is ranked #1 (102.91 with East Hardy #4 (105.64), and Tygarts Valley is #8 (107.34) and West is #10 (107.99).

The PCHS boys took silver in two other relay events. Their teams and times were: 4x400m – 3.54 (Jones, Kyle Cohenour, Robertson and Woodruff); 4x800m – 9.09 (Jones, Cohenour, Woodruff and Gus Foe). There have been some changes in who runs in the relay events, and Richwood did not report the athletes who ran in the relays.

Jones took the only gold medal in a boys individual event in 300m high hurdles – 43.19. Taking silver were: Cohenhour in 800m – 2.13 (.02 second behind #1),  Foe in 3200m – 12.41, Robertson in 110m – 17.22 (.02 second  behind #1), and Thomas Smith in shot put – 36-11.

The results of the May 4 Fayetteville Lions Club Invitational Track Meet held at Oak Hill High School were posted just as this article was being completed. Out of 18 schools who competed, the PCHS girls placed fourth behind Class AA Oak Hill, #2 state ranked in Class A Charleston Catholic and #3 state ranked in Class AA Shady Spring, and those top-4 schools scored from 147 points for #1 Oak Hill down to 113 for PCHS. 

The PCHS boys placed sixth behind #8 state ranked in Class AA Shady Spring, #9 state ranked in Class AA Oak Hill, Class AA Wy-oming East, Class AA Independence and Class A Richwood scoring from 139.5 points for #1 Shady down to 45 for #6 PCHS.  

PCHS competes in the Class A Region III Track Meet on Friday, May 11, in Charleston at Laidley Fieldl, and only one Class A team scored more points than PCHS in both the girls and boys Lions Club Meet.

The regional meet begins at 10 a.m.