Cougars sweep conference championships

Jefferson boys, girls track looks for regional success
SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – Martinez Grant set a school-record winning the long jump and Andrew Milliron won the 1,600- and 3,200-meters as the Jefferson boys’ track and field program claimed the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference championship convincingly on Saturday over five league rivals.

Jefferson’s Dante McCarroll (left) takes a handoff from Phillip Holliday during the Cougars’ 4x400-meter relay victory Saturday at the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference championships at Jefferson High School.

Jefferson’s Dante McCarroll (left) takes a handoff from Phillip Holliday during the Cougars’ 4×400-meter relay victory Saturday at the Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference championships at Jefferson High School.

Grant, the defending Class AAA state champion in the long jump, jumped a personal-best 23 feet, 0.75 inches as the Cougars fought through rain and a lengthy lightning delay to win the EPAC title as the boys’ program eyes a fifth consecutive large-school state championship.
Grant also won the 400-meter (50.81) to equal the 20 team points earned by two-time winner Milliron (1,600, 4:29.30; 3,200, 9:32.00) as Jefferson topped the boys’ division with 149.33 points, followed by Hedgesville with 117.
In the field, Cornell Holt won the shot put (45-04.25), while the Cougars also collected winning efforts from some of their relay teams. Jefferson won the 4×100 (Tanner Cantrell, Robert Douglas, Martinez Grant, Lawrence Morris; 44.11), 4×400 (Phillip Holliday, Dante McCarroll, Martinez Grant, Christian Johnson; 3:30.25), and 4×800 (Colin Hayes, Jonathan Royster, Andrew Milliron, Jackson Jacobs; 8:34.70) relays.
“I can’t say enough about our distance guys,” said Jefferson head boys’ coach Craig Hunter. “They come out every day and bust their butts, rain or shine.”
The rest of the boys’ conference championship standings saw Musselman in third with 95 points, followed by Washington (76), Martinsburg (59.66) and Spring Mills (21).
Jefferson also claimed first place in the girls’ division, as Abby Colbert won the 800 (2:30.35) and 3,200 (12:28.00) and Malika Briggs won the 1,600 (5:28.70). The Cougars’ girls’ program collected 132 points, topping Washington (124.50) and Martinsburg (96.50) in a closely contested meet held at Jefferson High School.
Abby Colbert, Malika Briggs, Emma Lindberg and Becca Colbert also combined to win the 4×800 relay (10:30.93), while Dayja Grady, Catena Wilson, Elizabeth Starliper and Devin Jones combined to win the 4×102 shuttle hurdle relay.
The rest of EPAC girls’ meet standings saw Hedgesville in fourth place with 89 points, followed by Spring Mills (43) and Musselman (38).
The regional meet is scheduled for Friday at Buckhannon-Upshur.
On the boys’ side, county-rival Washington was led with victories by Ian MacLeod (100; 10.85), Derrick Brunson (200; 23.18) and Jake Kidwell (high jump; 5-10). Brunson also finished second in the 100 (10.93), as did Kidwell in the 300 hurdles (41.20) and also the 4×400 relay team (3:35.01).
On the girls’ side, the Patriots collected a victory from its 4×400 relay team – Destiny Harrison, Christina Rogombe, Rhonda Rogombe, Devyn Hosby – in a time of 4:18.78, while Hosby won the 200 (26.02) and Rhonda Rogombe won the 400 (57.76) and high jump (5-10).
Hosby also placed second in the 100 (12.15) and 400 (58.21), while Rhonda Rogombe placed second in the 200 (26.43) and Catrina Russell finished second in the 3,200 (12:58). Also placing second for the Washington girls’ team was Mya Linden in the 300 hurdles (50.58), followed by third-placed finishes from Catrina Russell (1,600; 5:50.17), Megan Carr (3,200; 13:44.00) and Rachel Krowpman (long jump; 16-01).
Jefferson’s boys’ program also received strong placings from Craye Nehler (3rd, 200, 23.63), Jackson Jacobs (2nd, 800, 2:06.87; 2nd, 3,200, 9:53.00), Rashad Lee (3rd, 300 hurdles, 44.34), Zachary LaRue (3rd, 300 hurdles, 44.34) and Matthew Pennock (2nd, discus, 129-02).
“I think we are kind of coming together right now,” Hunter said. “I see the distance guys are peaking, definitely at the right time. With the field events coming together the way they did today hopefully next week it can carry over.
“The most inexperienced group that we’ve got are the sprinters,” Hunter added. “I was hoping that we could just bring them along slowly and by this time of the year they’ll be just right to be ready for the state meet. It kind of looks that way. They are coming together. I think we’re coming together just right for the haul down to Charleston.”
On the girls’ side, the Cougars saw strong placings from Alanna Baylor (3rd, 100, 12.48), Kenya Price (3rd, 400, 1:02.27; 2nd high jump, 5-02), Malika Briggs (2nd, 800, 2:34.00) Elizabeth Starliper (3rd, 100 hurdles, 17.46), Devin Jones (3rd, 300 hurdles, 51.61) and Michaela Ashford (2nd, long jump, 16-03.75).

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