Heritage boys, Brookville girls sprint to district titles
Lynchburg News & Advance
Sunday, February 17, 2008

Brookville's Ethan Nixon and Heritage's Laura Rapp were named Seminole District male and female indoor track and field athletes of the year, but it was the Bees girls and the Pioneers' boys who emerged as district champions, Saturday at Heritage.

Dakota Pellman, who was hampered by a hamstring injury this season, sprinted away with 300- and the 600-yard titles, Joshua Knight swept the mile and two-mile runs and the Pioneers (141 points) finished first in both relay events to overcome two-time defending district champion Brookville (134) in the boys team standings.

"The 600 and the 300 were key for us today," Heritage coach Theo McIvor said. "For the boys, it's been a long time since we've had a district champion distance runner."

Pellman also ran the first leg of the Pioneers' meet-ending 1,760 relay.

"It's our home track. We don't let anybody beat us here," Pellman said. "Everybody stepped up where we needed to step up."

Heritage also hosts next Saturday's Region III meet before the Group AA state event is set for March 1 at Liberty University.

"We're where we want to be right now," said McIvor, the district's boys coach of the year. "Next week, you'll see the same two schools, Heritage and Brookville, going at it again."

Nixon entered his limit of six events, breaking his own meet record in the 60 hurdles in 7.53 seconds and winning the high jump before finishing second to three Pioneers - Pellman in the 300, Korrey Davis in the long jump and Corey Calloway in the triple jump.

"I couldn't get my steps to hit right in the jumps, but hopefully, everything will hit right at state," Nixon said. "Winning the district is not our goal. It's been a great meet that has set us up well for state."

Calloway qualified for state in the triple jump with his winning leap of 44 feet, 4 inches.

"I stretched my phases out as long as I could and got to the pit," he said.

Heritage's Shawn Sutton edged Amherst's Jeremy Lewis by three-hundredths of a second in the 60, winning in 6.48 seconds. Davis, who finished third in the 60 and won the long jump (21-2?), ran the second leg of the winning 880 relay.

"It was close all the way down to the finish," he said. "We dug in and came out with a win."

The Bees' girls accumulated 123 points to pull past Heritage (97) and Amherst (87).

Shelley Parker set a meet record in the pole vault, tying her personal best from last spring, by clearing 10-0.

She also ran the first leg of Brookville's winning 880 relay, followed by Uniquequa Jackson, Dominique Marshall and anchor Candace Lewis.

"We don't like to lose," Marshall said. "We never settle for anything less than first place. When I took the baton, I made sure I kept the lead tried to open up a larger gap. (Lewis) never lets us down."

Rapp was the meet's only triple winner.

"That was impressive," Heritage assistant coach Mike Bennett said. "She won the mile, the 600 and the 1,000 back-to-back."

Rapp passed Brookville's Janel Reeves on the last of 12 laps, run at the pace of a 300 race rather than the mile.

"Janel has improved by leaps and bounds since last year," Rapp said. "She started out in front and I knew she was going to set a good pace so I just followed her in stride."

Jefferson Forest's Kelsey Shelton received instruction from Liberty University assistant coach Dave Bingham this week before tied Ebony Foster's school record and the district meet record in the high jump, clearing 5-4.

"He helped me with my technique for less than 20 minutes on Thursday and gave me a couple tips and I put them into play today," Shelton said.

Amherst junior Lacear Hubbard outsprinted Staunton River's Sarah Witt in the 55 hurdles and placed second in all three jumps.

"It was a close race," Hubbard said of the hurdles. "I got to the first hurdle before she did and I steadily broke away."

Kenara Hurt, who didn't run outdoor last spring due to an ankle injury, won both the 60 (7.48) and the 300 dashes (39.15) in personal best times. She is ranked first in Group AA in the 300 and second in the 60.