The 105th state track meet opened with a bang Friday afternoon. Or a loud thud, if you will.
Cabell Midland weight thrower Gavin Beverage broke one of the meet’s most hallowed records in one of the day’s first events at University of Charleston Stadium as he propelled the shot put 65 feet, 101/2 inches to better the Class AAA boys mark held by past Olympic champion Randy Barnes.
Barnes’ former state meet record of 61-7 was set in 1984 while competing for St. Albans.
That record-breaker was perhaps the top highlight during the first day of the weekend event, which produced four meet records prior to a lengthy lightning and storm delay, and the beginning of what figure to be some tight team races for Saturday’s slew of finals.
Most divisions were only able to get in three final events Friday before a weather delay that came at 6:04 p.m., though several track qualifiers for Saturday’s finals took place. The delay lasted more than four hours, and the final running events ended shortly past midnight.
The late conclusion on Friday pushed back Saturday’s start to 10 a.m. for field events and 11 for running events.
Here’s a look at the leaderboards in each division heading into Saturday:
n In boys AAA after five events, Cabell Midland leads with 26 points, followed by Wheeling Park (20), Parkersburg (15) and Spring Valley (14). Midland, Park and Spring Mills were the pre-meet favorites.
n Fairmont Senior tallied 32 points to go up in boys AA after five events, with Oak Hill (18), North Marion (16) and Point Pleasant (16) trailing. Winfield, the heavy favorite, stands in fifth with 15 points.
n In boys A, Doddridge County (37) and Ritchie County (26) were in front through four events, followed by Ravenswood (22).
n Morgantown scored 24 points in girls AAA to hold a slight edge over Wheeling Park (18) and University (16) after four final events. Park and defending champion Ripley (10 points) are considered the top teams by RunWV.com projections.
n Through five events in girls AA, Bridgeport led Winfield 31-24. The Generals are favored in this division, but the Indians, the defending titlists, have enough firepower to make a run.
n In girls A, pre-meet favorite Williamstown held a 21-20 lead over Ritchie County after four events, with Buffalo (18) in third place.
Despite Beverage’s feat on Friday, Barnes’ name won’t be completely erased from the record book. Barnes still holds the longest shot put in West Virginia high school history, 66-91/2 set during the 1985 Gazette Relays. State meet records must be set during the state meet, but all-time records can be verified at virtually any meet.
Beverage thought he could threaten Barnes’ all-time mark when competition began Friday, but settled for a personal record.
“I was definitely shooting for 67,’’ Beverage said. “That’s kind of what I hoped I could get to. I had a really promising warmup throw, and I felt really good. I was really close.
“But in the end, 65-10 is still an amazing throw. It’s a P.R., and that’s what I came out to do. So I’m not bummed out about not getting it. Just keep working, that’s all it is.’’
Beverage had been sending the shot several feet past Barnes’ state meet mark all season. In fact, he went past 61-7 in every meet but one, which was held in bad weather in Louisville, Kentucky. But he had to wait until the state meet to officially break the record. Which he did in fine fashion Friday, by more than 4 feet.
Moments after his feat, Beverage received a congratulatory phone call from Barnes.
“He was just congratulating me,’’ Beverage said, “and said he wanted to call me first-hand, just to say how great it was. I really appreciated that.’’
The 6-foot-4, 314-pound Beverage, who is headed to California-Riverside to compete in college, was asked how it felt to have his name take the place of the nationally-known Barnes in the state record book.
“It’s surreal,’’ he said. “Seeing Randy Barnes, and knowing how good he was and to see my name next to his or near his is very surreal.’’
Other records falling on the first day included:
n Shady Spring’s Erica Hegele running a time of 14.87 seconds in the girls AA 100-meter hurdles qualifiers, shattering the mark of 15.05 first set by Magnolia’s Aurora Spang in 1997 and matched by Winfield’s Mary Lawman in 2017;
n Williamstown’s Lilly McMullen in the A girls 100 dash (12.41), breaking the former mark of 12.42 set by Fayetteville’s Jasmine Cotton in 2006.
n Weir sprinter Sebastian Spencer cruised to a time of 10.65 seconds in the AA boys 100 dash trials, bettering the former record of 10.70 seconds set by former Red Riders teammate Donavan Spencer in 2017.
The set of five field events that was supposed to start at 6 p.m. Friday was pushed back to 4 p.m. Saturday, as standing water following the storm hampered efforts to get those venues in good condition.
All other events on Saturday are now set to run one hour later than the original schedule.