Ryan Irvine wins silver in the discus throw

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

For the second straight year the Pocahontas County High School track teams medaled and scored in five events at the 103rd State Track Meet at Laidley Field in Charleston May 19 and 20.

This year the PCHS boys finished in 12th place in Class A of the 26 teams who scored and won medals in four events for 15 points, one more medal than in 2016 when they scored six points and finished in 18th place. 

The PCHS girls finished in a tie for 21st place of 22 teams who scored this year and won one medal this year that totaled one point, one less medal than in 2016 when they scored 8 points and finished in a tie for 17th place. 

Josh Weekley of RunWV.com predicted that the PCHS boys would finish 11th this year with a score of 12 points, and he predicted that the PCHS girls would not score, so both squads exceeded those predictions.  The first six finishers in each event are awarded medals and receive 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points respectively. 

Second in Boys Discus – 152-04

As of the four regional meets senior Ryan Irvine had the third best Class A performance in West Virginia in the discus throw, 146-07, and Irvine was predicted by RunWV.com to place third at the state meet. Senior Trevor Hoosier, of Williamstown, and senior Jacob North-rup, of St. Marys, were picked to finish first and second with best throws respectively of 156-08 and 155-00. Hoosier had the better regional throw, and Northrup beat Hoosier in their LKC league meet. RunWV.com pointed out that “Irvine has the next best throw, and his top two throws have occurred in the last two meets.” Weekley also pointed out that #4-pick senior Brody Strawderman, of Tucker, “has a better overall series than Irvine, but his (Strawderman’s)  three 140-0 throws all occurred on April 21 or earlier.”

Irvine improved at states on his best throw this season by 5’9” when it mattered the most and can be the hardest to improve. The final results in the event were: #1 Northrup 158-08, #2 Irvine 152-04, #3 Hoosier 151-01 and #4 Strawderman 150-08.  

Fourth in Boys 4x400m – 3:34.54

There is a long history of great PCHS performances in the last running event of the state tournament, the 4x400m relay.  The 2017 PCHS 4x400m team of senior Logan Davis, sophomore Jacob Jones, plus seniors Kyle Lester  and Connor Pyles exceeded their #3 in WV best performance of 3:38.74 by 4.20 seconds at states. Williamstown, who was only .04 second behind PCHS in the best performances fourth place, slipped ahead of the Warriors taking third place. The results of the 15-team event with several teams in our two conferences and current and former regions were: #1 St. Marys 3:31.61, #2 Magnolia 3:32.40, #3 Williamstown 3:33.67, #4 PCHS 3:34.54, #5 Pendleton 3;36.92, #7 Tucker 3;39.29, #8 Charleston Catholic 3:43.21 and #9 Richwood 3;44.03.  Weekley picked the top six teams correctly with only Richie and Pendleton reversed.  The state record in the event from May 21, 2016 belongs to Wheeling Central for a time of 3:31.30 which is .31 second better than this year’s St. Marys #1 performance. The 2016 PCHS 4x400m team that included 2016 senior Tyler Owens plus Lester, Pyles and Jacob Jones placed sixth in a time of 3:42.93 which was 8.39 seconds slower than this year.

Fifth in Boys 4x800m – 8:30.02

Weekley did not pick PCHS to score in last year’s event, but he  said: “Pocahontas was very much in the hunt.” PCHS placed fourth last year in a time of 8:37.61. Only sophomore Elijah Robertson was new to the event this year in place of graduate Tyler Owens, joining Pyles in his third year running the event at states, plus Lester and Jacob Jones. PCHS did exactly as predicted with a fifth place finish in a field of 16 teams and in an 8:30.02 time. The PCHS #7 best performance time in West Virginia as of regionals was 8:47.96, so they upped their time by an amazing 17.94 seconds. Williamstown was predicted to finish fourth with a best time of 8:44.61 and took #1 in a time of 8:19.64,  Tucker and Richwood were not predicted to score and finished respectively at #6 – 8:40.09 and #7 – 8:41.01.

Sixth in Boys 800m Run – 2:06.65

There are always athletes who beat the odds and surprise everyone with a great effort at states.  Kyle Lester was not in the 800m best performance top-10 times as of regionals, so he obviously was not predicted to score in the top-six runners at states. Lester’s 2:10.40 regional time was 16th of the 16 runners at states. RunWV.com reported that nine runners in the 800m had been under 2:08, but that did not include Lester. Lester did have the #10  top-10 time in the 800m in early April, so he simply improved his best time by 3.75 seconds and moved up to #6 and won a medal with a 2:06.65 time. 

Sixth in Girls 200m Dash – 27.72

Freshman Rita Guamis finished off a stellar freshman year with a sixth place finish in the 200m dash in a time of 27.72.  Rita was not predicted to score, but her regional time of 27.84 was ninth in West Virginia in the four regionals.  Senior Colleena Burdock, of Union, finished second in a time of 26.63 and had been predicted to win the race.
 
Sophomore Bridget Carrol placed #7 in the discus throw – 104-10, just missing a medal by five inches. Junior Cora Hedrick finished eighth in both the 1600m – 5:37.90 and the 3200m – 12:49.43 and ninth in the 800m. The 4x400m team of freshmen Sage McLaughlin, Laila Calhoun and Rita Guamis plus junior Lola Guamis finished 10th – 4:34.84.  The boys 4x200m team of Davis, Lester, sophomore Hunter Shafer and Pyles took 10th – 1:38.10.  

Junior Freddy Canary, of South Harrison, was boys high scorer and won the maximum four gold med-als for 40 points. The second through fifth boys high scorers ranged from 21.5 to 19 points. Sophomore Moran McKenzie, of Huntington St. Joseph, was girls high scorer with 32.50 points.  The second through fifth girls high scorers ranged from 26 to 20 points. 

Twenty-six boys teams scored versus 23 last year.  The two dominant boys teams were #1 St. Marys – 105 points and #2 Williamstown with 99.  Twenty-two girls teams scored versus 24 last year.  The two top girls teams were #1 Wheeling Central Catholic – 69 points and #2 Doddridge – 67.  

Congratulations to Coaches Laurel Dilley, Abe Rittenhouse, Aaron Pugh and Eric Rose for their leadership and guidance that resulted in the improvement that these athletes made during the 2017 season.