CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Herbert Hoover’s track program won both the girls and boys Cardinal Conference Championships on Thursday, a feat so rare that school officials struggle to date the last time it’s been done.
Juniors Emilee Henry and Josh McClung each won four events at the meet, hosted by Poca, to pace the Huskies and lead their respective sides to the team titles.
“I’m pretty excited about that, because to our knowledge – everybody I’ve talked to up at the school – we maybe won a conference meet back in the ’70s as the boys and maybe even the girls, but we definitely don’t believe it’s ever happened at the same time,” Hoover coach Lance Moore said. “It’s the first time in 50 years, so it was quite a big deal for the kids.”
Team depth and versatility has provided Hoover with the necessary tools for its success, Moore said.
“First and foremost, all the points are coming from the fact that we have 20 kids on each team that are willing to do whatever (event) we put them in,” he said.
Henry won the 100-meter run, 200, 400 and ran anchor on Hoover’s winning 4x100 relay at the conference championships. She ranks first statewide in AA for the 400 and lists third in her other two individual events, according to www.runwv.com.
For the boys, McClung dominated the distance events by winning the 800, 1600, 3200 and anchoring the winning 4x800 relay.
Beyond depth and talent, Moore said the team’s members show lots of pride in their craft.
“We’ve got some kids that have shown some real enthusiasm for it,” he said. “We’ve got a senior, Nate Cook, who runs in the 100 and the 4x100 and 4x200. He’s just a track guy. He really loves the sport and does his best to talk it up.”
Among other highlights from the Cardinal Conference meet, Poca’s boys squad finished second behind the strength of throwers Christian Buckley and Chase Dotson and a trio of long-jumpers.
Buckley, reigning AA state champ in both the shot put and discus, won both throwing events, while Dotson, a freshman, took second in the shot and fourth in disc. In the long jump, Hank Larch, A.J. Keyes and Hayden Webb finished one-two-three, then teamed with Trevor Landers to win the 4x100 relay.
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AS HIS prep career quickly nears its end, George Washington senior Matthew Brafford plans to finish at a peak, and started his ascent by winning both the 1600 and 3200 at the Mountain State Athletic Conference Championships at Laidley Field on Friday.
Brafford, a University of Oklahoma commit, won the 1600 with a time of 4:26.24, five seconds ahead of second-place finisher Jake Henley, of Hurricane, and won the 3200 in 9:36.49, more than 13 seconds faster than his closest competitor.
“That race, this meet, it felt like I was back to my normal self,” Brafford said citing some slower performances earlier in the season. “I had been just kind of lagging times earlier in the season and right now, I feel like I’m back to where I should be and where I can just have a good head start toward the state meet.”
In addition to Brafford, the rest of the seventh-ranked Patriots performed well to finish second as a team behind AAA No. 1 Parkersburg and ahead of fifth-ranked Huntington and No. 6 Winfield.
“The team this year is doing great,” Brafford said. “They’re training hard and their doing better than in previous years past.”
In other highlights, Parkersburg sprinter Chandler Hamilton won the 100 and 200, with Spring Valley’s Jacob Kilgore a winner in the 400 and 800. Capital sophomore Tristan Slater set a meet record in the pole vault with a height of 15 feet, 11 and ¾ inches.
On the girls side, second-ranked Winfield won the team championship to secure back-to-back MSAC titles, defeating AAA No. 1 Hurricane by 15 points, as well as fourth-ranked Parkersburg and No. 8 Cabell Midland
“We were up there like anybody else trying to work some kids in and it just fell our way,” Generals coach David Bailey said. “It was a good thing. Those kids work so hard. I couldn’t believe it to tell you the truth. We were sitting there laughing about it saying ‘Holy moly,’ but you know hard works pays off.”
Winfield secured several individual wins, including M.E. Zulauf (400), Carly Hinkle (long jump) and Allie Perry (pole vault), but scored the majority of its points in the relays by winning the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x800, with a second-place finish in the 4x400.
Among the MSAC highlights, Capital junior Peyton Panger set meet records in both the 1600 (mile) and 3200 (two-mile). Panger finished in 5:00.75 for the mile, eight seconds faster than the previous record, and she finished the two-mile in 11:18.87, breaking the former record by more than 12 seconds.
Hurricane’s Abby Watson also took home two individual titles by sweeping the throwing events. Watson won the shot put with a meet record throw of 42 feet, four inches, more than two feet further than the previous record. She won the discus with a toss of 124 feet, 11 inches.
St. Albans sprinter Anacia Hines finished with two wins, too, by claiming the 100 and 200 titles, and she finished second in the 100 hurdles.
Parkersburg junior Sarah Bever won both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, with a meet record time in the latter event of 46.41 seconds.