Jaylen Snyder’s performance in the high jump wasn’t record setting, but it was spectacular.
The Hurricane senior cleared 6 feet, 4 inches Saturday to win his second consecutive state championship at University of Charleston Stadium. Snyder edged Spring Valley’s Andrew Ball despite performing with an injured hamstring and strained groin.
“My body started breaking down on me,” Snyder said. “Coach [Eric] Cooper taught me how to nurse my injuries and that helped me.”
Ball also jumped 6-4 but scratched on an earlier attempt, giving Snyder the title.
“I’d just like to have one more jump,” said Ball, who tweaked a knee on a missed attempt. “I’m happy for Jaylen. We’ve pushed each other all year.”
Snyder complimented Ball for his effort.
“I love Drew,” said Snyder, who has signed to participate in track at Wheeling Jesuit University. “He’s an awesome high jumper. He’s really pushed me.”
Snyder said he was concerned his injuries might prevent him from defending his state championship and hurt his team.
“I can’t lie,” Snyder said. “I was nervous. I felt the groin injury most. It hurts to move my leg from side to side.”
Later in the meet, Snyder also repeated in the long jump with a winning leap of 22 feet. He won both events last season to help the Redskins take the boys AAA title.
Capital’s Hoff wins 100
West Virginia might be the only state in the country where a defensive lineman is the premier high school runner in the 100-meter dash.
Capital’s Breece Hoff, a standout defensive end on the Cougars football team, won the Class AAA 100 in 11.35 seconds Saturday. Hoff, who had a school-record 17 sacks in 2017, has signed to play football at the University of New Hampshire. At 6-foot, 170 pounds, he likely will play defensive back with the Wildcats.
“I was nervous,” Hoff said. “I hadn’t won a championship before.”
Hoff didn’t join the track team until mid-season, preferring to concentrate on football.
“I thought about it and couldn’t let my team down,” said Hoff, who took over the 100 for injured teammate Malcolm Fletcher.
Cole handles pressure
Winfield’s Grace Cole came up big in the Generals’ state title effort, winning the girls Class AA 1,600-meter run in 5:24.94.
“That was really fun,” Cole said after catching her breath. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
Cole’s comments drew smiles and laughter from fellow competitors, even as they struggled to recover from the race on the muggy, 85-degree day.
“I’ve done a lot of training for that,” Cole said. “The best part was helping score points for our team and going out with a good senior year.”
Midland girls set record
Cabell Midland’s girls 4x800-meter relay team of Anya Miller, Emma Jenkins, Chloe Adkins and Gretchen Mills set a school record, finishing in 9:38.52, less than five seconds behind Morgantown’s winning team.
“Every one of us set a personal record,” said Adkins, who ran her leg in 2:29. “It’s the first time in a while we’ve been able to run together, so it was special for us. I’m proud of my teammates.”
Mills has signed to run at Concord and Miller at Davis & Elkins. Adkins will attend nursing school at Marshall. Jenkins is a freshman.
Jack Ellis will be remembered as the last athlete to perform for Fayetteville High School, which will close later this month. Its students will attend Oak Hill High.
Ellis, a junior, finished eighth in the Class A 300-meter hurdles Saturday, finishing in a personal-best 42.3 seconds.
“I’ve thought about that many times,” Ellis said of being the Pirates’ last athlete. “It’s a sweet and bitter end. A lot of great athletes have come through Fayetteville High School. For me to be the last is an honor. I’ve put a lot into this season.”
Ellis practiced on a concrete sidewalk and used wooden hurdles. Fayetteville’s track is gravel. He said he understands the merging of the school with Oak Hill, but will miss Fayetteville.
“I’ve had people message me saying they ran track at Fayetteville in 1987 and things like that and they wished me well,” Ellis said.
Kanawha Valley winnersSeveral Kanawha Valley athletes earned wins on Saturday, including:
Class AAA boys: Breece Hoff (Capital), 100, 11.35; Jaylen Snyder (Hurricane), high jump, 6-4; long jump, 22-0; Capital’s 4x200 relay, 1:30.39; Steven Eaton (St. Albans), who led the pole vault for a second straight year, again clearing 14-0 for his winning height;
Class AA boys: Aaron Withrow (Winfield), 1,600, 4:17.55; Winfield 4x400, 3:26.49;
Class AAA girls: Sona Magassouba (Capital), high jump, 5-5;
Class AA girls: Grace Cole (Winfield), 1,600, 5:13.47; Dianna Goodman (Winfield), pole vault, 11-4; Allie Germann (Winfield) 100, 12.57 and 200, 25.58; Baylee Adkins (Winfield), 800, 2:14.78
Huntington’s Ravyn Goodson won the Class AAA girls discus for the second consecutive year, throwing 118-7. ... Many people watching Cabell Midland shot putter Gavin Beverage break former Olympian Randy Barnes’ state meet record Friday were surprised the 6-foot-4, 315-pound senior didn’t play football. Beverage plays tuba in the band. ... Tucker County coach Tom Gutshall retired after Saturday’s meet. Gutshall coached track for 45 years and also won 500 basketball games. ... Kelly Blankenship was honored during the meet for being the first female starter in the 105-year history of the event. ... Elkins, Independence, Morgantown, Shady Spring, University and Woodrow Wilson athletes graduated and received their diplomas during a break in the meet. ... A pair of NCAA Division I recruits in a sport other than track joined Hoff in placing Saturday. Cabell Midland high jumper Ty Sturm, who will play basketball at Marshall, finished sixth in Class AAA. St. Joseph’s McKenzie Moran, signed to play soccer at Gonzaga, finished sixth in the girls Class A 1,600-meter run. ... Spring Mills looked to go into the lunch break alone in first place in boys Class AAA, but Stevie Ball of Cabell Midland had other ideas. Ball won the 300-meter hurdles in 40.18 to pull the Knights into a tie at the top and set up a dramatic afternoon showdown for the championship.