Seventeen PCHS athletes qualify for the 100th State Track Meet

Teams warm-up for regionals with strong showing at Oak Hill

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

Track qualifierssmPocahontas County High School track coaches Delmas Barb, Kay Wiley and Laurel Dilley saved the biggest and toughest meet of the regular season for the final warmup before the regional meet at Elkins, and the coaches could not be happier with the results.
The 2014 Fayetteville Lions Club Invitational was held at Oak Hill High School on Friday, May 9, and attracted 20 girls and 21 boys teams including 12 Class AA and a group from AAA Greenbrier East.  The failure of several schools to submit their entrants in advance caused the meet to run late into the night.

The Lady Warriors had their strongest performance of the season and grabbed fourth place with 42 points versus 10th place and 14 points last year.  The ladies finished behind #1 Shady Spring, AA – 117 points, #2 Nicholas County, AA – 110 (WV ranked #5) and #3 Charleston Catholic, A – 87 (WV ranked #3).  The Warriors grabbed the 11th place with 25 points versus 14th place and 16.5 points last year.  The boys had a very strong finish with only two Class A schools finishing higher:  #8 Charleston Catholic – 34 (WV ranked #4) and #10 Greenbrier West – 26.  The Bluefield (WV ranked #6) and Shady Springs boys finished 1-2 with 64 and 63 points respectively.

Megan Galford continued her strong improvement with second in the 400 (1:04.95) behind O’Dell of Pikeview (1:02.85).  Melissa Murphy won two bronze medals in the 800 (2:40) and 1600 (6:02) and finished behind two Charleston Catholic runners in each event who are WV ranked 1-2 in the 800 and 7-8 in the 1600.  Murphy was only five seconds behind the second finisher in each event.  Fredricah Gardner took second in the Discus (101′) behind Buchan of Valley (102′ 8″).  Buchan and Gardner are WV ranked 5-6 with high tosses of 104’10” and 104’9″ respectively.

The girls 4×800 team (11.22) of Galford, Melissa Murphy, Rachel McComb and Michelle Murphy took silver, and the 4×400 team (4:45.33) of Galford, the Murphy twins, and Brittany McMillion grabbed bronze.  Charleston Catholic took both events and have the #1 WV ranked 4×800 and #2 4×400 times this season.

Steven Simmons brought home a silver medal in the high jump (5’10”), and his best 6′ jump is now WV ranked #5 and tied with Aviles of Gilmer, a freshman, and Cain of Valley Wetzel, a sophomore.  Slider of Calhoun, a senior, is #1 in WV with a 6’3″ jump.  The four athletes with higher jumps than Simmons are all seniors, while Stephen is a junior.  Sophomore Cade Walker took fifth in the 300 hurdles (44.63).  Mowery of Richwood and Holster of Fayetteville were 2-3 in the event, and the two are WV ranked #3 and #7 respectively.

The #5 WV ranked boys shuttles (Simmons, Walker, Stephen Mick, James Campbell) brought home the only gold medals for PCHS with a time of 1:06.11.  Greenbrier West finished second (1:06.34), and PCHS and West are WV ranked 5-6 with best times of 104.44 and 105.24 respectively.  The boys 4×100 – Simmons, Cary Robertson, Mick, Andrew Morrison in 48.56, and 4×400 – Patrick Collins, Mick, Morrison, Robertson in 3.48.69 teams placed fifth while the 4×800 (Collins, Ryan Irvine, Miles Goodall, Conner Pyles in 9:43) placed sixth.


Gardner breaks her discus school record again

Eleven boys and six girls plus alternates will represent PCHS at states after qualifying in eight boys events and seven girls events at the Class A Region 2 meet at Elkins on Wednesday, May 14.  The weather surprised everyone after the predicted heavy rain never showed up in Elkins.  The wind may have caused some times to be slower, but the longer than normal time between events probably helped athletes competing in events scheduled close together.

After the six-hour meet finally finished with eight girls and nine boys teams competing, Tucker County had dominated both meets, as they did last year at Keyser, scoring 202 points in the boys meet and 256 in the girls meet this year .  The Pocahontas girls were second with 77 points (finished fifth with 46 points last year at Keyser). The South Harrison boys were second with 94 points followed by the Warriors in third place with 74 points (finished second with 80 points last year).  Pendleton County took third in the girls meet with 61 points.  Notre Dame did not field a boys team, and every team scored from 2 to 256 points.  All Potomac Valley Class A schools participated and were all in Region 2 for the second season.

Taking four gold medals in individual events were:  Stephen Simmons, high jump, 6′; Devin Rose, shot put, 38’9″ and discus, 140′ 2″; and Melissa Murphy, 1600m, 5:50.98. (

Rose’s uncle, Bee Rose, Class of 1974, holds the PCHS record in the discus, and Rose will hope to break that record at states by throwing many more feet.  Rose improved upon his season-best #6 WV ranked toss (tied with Smith of Williamstown) of 125′ 6″ by 14′ 8″ with a 140′ 2″ toss that would have been WV ranked #4.  Rose had the 8th best regional toss of 128′ last year, and he finished eighth at states with a 122′ 2″ toss.  Rose is ranked #8 in shot with a best toss of 42′ 8″.

Winning four silver medals in individual events were:  Melissa Murphy, 800, 2:38.45;  Fredricah Gardner, shot put, 28′ 11.5″ and discus, 103′ 6″; and Cade Walker, 300 hurdles, 44.68.

Gardner, a senior this year, broke her own PCHS School Record at states last year and won a silver medal in the process with a 101′ 10″ toss, 7′ 2″ longer than her 2013 regional toss.  Fredricah was not predicted to score at states last year by, but she surprised five girls ahead of her in the predictions plus the entire state to take second.  Only Tucker’s Aiyana Kachmarek could beat her last year, and the Lady Mountain Lion is #1 ranked with a best toss of 128″6″ this year.  Gardner has proved that she can even surprise’s rarely wrong predictor Josh Weekley of Doddridge County.

Galford won two bronze medals in individual events:  400, 1:04.64 and 800, 2:42.45.  The 400 time would have moved Megan into the WV rankings at #10.

Two boys relay teams took silver medals:  shuttle hurdles – Simmons, Stephen Mick, James Campbell, Cade Walker– 1:03.78; and 4×400 – Andrew Morrison, Cary Robertson, Mick, Patrick Collins – 3:55.57.

Two girls relay teams also took silver medals:  4×400 – Melissa Murphy, Brittany  McMillion, Michelle Murphy, Galford – 4:44.94; and 4×800 – Galford, Michelle Murphy, Rachel McComb, Melissa Murphy – 11:57.04.

The boys 4×800 – Collins, Ryan Irvine, Miles Goodall, Conner Pyles – placed third
in a time of 9:34.49.

The boys 4×100 relay team – Morrison, Robertson, Mick and Simmons – placed fourth, but their 48.23 time was one of the four best at-large times from all four regions after the top three in each region grabbed the first twelve of sixteen slots at states.  It is often the case that an at-large time in one region is actually better than one or more of the top-three qualifiers from another of the four regions.

The following three athletes will represent PCHS in the maximum four events:  junior Stephen Simmons and sophomores Melissa Murphy and Megan Galford.  Qualifying in three events was junior Stephen Mick. The other 13 athletes qualified in one or two events each.  Alternates are called into action for various reasons.

The 100th state track meet will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, May 23, with a special ceremony, and continues Saturday, May 24, at 9 a.m.

Check out for the state meet schedule, records, results and their very accurate predictions under the state meet icon.


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