Coming into the Virginia AAA State Outdoor Track Championships in Richmond, South County girls’ coach T.D. Holsclaw hoped his young team, which will graduate just three athletes, could take away some “big meet” experience for next season.
While his team did just that, the Stallions exceeded expectations by showcasing their potential with an unexpected third-place finish.
“I just wanted the girls to go down there and take away some confidence from the meet,” Holsclaw said. “We thought that it would be good if we could finish in the top five, but we really just wanted to get some confidence.”
Finishing third behind traditional track and field powerhouses Western Branch and Cosby, which took first and second respectively, is one way to boost confidence. Another is to have various athletes provide strong showings in numerous events.
Leading the Stallions was the team’s top track and field athlete Felecia Majors.
Majors, who earned the school’s first-ever state individual titles in South County history, dazzled with first-place finishes in the pole vault, 400-meter dash and 200 dash.
“A lot of her events got pushed back because of weather [delays],” Holsclaw said. “But she adapted to it. She’s been remarkable all year for our indoor and outdoor season. It wasn’t unexpected for [her to win], but she had some hard events. After the 400-meter race she had to [compete] in the pole vault.”
Other South County girls who turned in strong performances were sophomore Morgan Knight, who took 15th in the 100 hurdles and competed in several field events. Major’s sister, EnNijah, a sophomore, finished 22nd in the 400 dash, and the team of EnNijah Majors, Jeonna Taylor, Taylor Woods and Knights — all sophomores with the exception of Woods, who is a freshman — took 19th in the 4x400-meter relay.
“We’re only losing three girls to graduation,” Holsclaw said. “So it was really good for our girls to compete at this meet and get some experience.”
As the season comes to a close, Holsclaw said he noted areas his team could improve to help close the 20-point gap that existed between them and state champion Western Branch.
“We need to get better at distance running,” he said. “Our mile and relays need to get there for next season. If we can get the job done there, it will help us a lot.”
Other standout girls from area schools included the duo of Sophie Chase and Hannah Christen from Lake Braddock. Chase and Christen finished first and second in the 3,200 race. Lake Braddock finished fourth overall, one point behind South County.
On the boys’ side, Annandale and Grassfield battled to a 44-44 tie to share the state outdoor track title.
Annandale was led by Georgetown University commit Ahmed Bile, who took titles in both the 800 and 1,600 runs. The Atoms also saw a strong performance out of junior Alex Ellison, who took second in the 200 dash and was a member of the first place 4x100 relay. Ellison also finished third in the 100 dash.
Westfield, which has been propelled by its skill in relay events, took third with a score of 37; Chantilly finished ninth with 22 points. The Bulldogs team of Steven Mitchell, Max Chambers, Nathan Kiley and Tyrone Walker took first in the 4x800 relay. Brenden Wallace, Troy Sevachko, Kiley and Walker also teamed up for a win in the 4x400 relay.
Chantilly’s Sean McGorty earned a personal milestone by winning his first-ever individual title in the 3,200 run, beating out Colonial Forge’s Brian O’Loughlin and W.T. Woodson’s Paul Gates.