By Steve Keenan
For The Register-Herald
The quest for berths in next weekend’s state track and field meet switches to the big schools today.
Class AAA Region 3 teams will toe the line in their championship meet beginning at about 2 p.m. Friday at UC Stadium’s Laidley Field. Slated to compete in Charleston are Capital, George Washington, Greenbrier East, Oak Hill, Princeton, Ripley, Riverside, Shady Spring, South Charleston and Woodrow Wilson.
Greenbrier East boys coach Jim McCutcheon says his squad faces a difficult task today.
“We had back-to-back regional championships, but this year is going to be a little tougher,” he said. “We’ll compete, we just don’t have the depth as in the past.”
“Versatile” Levi Whitt will bolster the Spartans’ hopes, competing in the pole vault, long jump, 110-meter hurdles and shuttle hurdles. Whitt is 10th in the pole vault (12 feet) in www.runwv.com’s list of best performances.
Distance runner Levi Snedegar, who’s battled injuries in recent months, seeks to advance in the 800, 1600 and 3200, McCutcheon said. “He’s healed up pretty well. He should be fine.”
Others in the mix should be 110 hurdler Malachi McCutcheon, middle-distance runner Garrett Clemons, and Mason Tincher, who is 10th in the 300 hurdles (42.14).
Shady Spring coach Vince Culicerto is counting on senior Lyndsey Thompson, among others, to score points for the Tigers. Thompson has the seventh-best showing this spring in the 300 hurdles (48.62) and will join Alex Wills, Heather Chernutan and Hannah Thompson in the 4x100 relay.
Lyndsey Thompson was unbeaten in the 300 hurdles this season until a runner-up finish in the Gazette Relays. “She’s worked hard since then,” said Culicerto.
Culicerto says Shady Spring’s graduation ceremony is set for the Friday of the state meet (May 23), and some team members have opted to participate in the ceremony and miss the meet. That will shelve the girls shuttle hurdle relay team, for which Culicerto had “high hopes.”
A wild card for the Tigers today will be junior Ali Kominsky in the 300 hurdles. Kominsky, who was fifth behind Thompson’s fourth in the longer hurdles event at the 2013 state meet, has been sidelined by an injury for the majority of the spring.
“At our first meet at Cabell Midland, she won the 300s with a good time (50.47 in bad weather), then pulled a muscle in the 4x100 relay,” Culicerto said of Kominsky, who hasn’t raced since. “She’s going to roll the dice and make a try.”
Culicerto also expects points from shot putter Emma Albright.
For the Tiger boys, 300 hurdler Matt Plumley and the 4x400 relay unit of Plumley, Levi Messer, Chase DeMoss and Joe Heller will be looked to for contributions, as will the “very talented” DeMoss in the open 400.
The Greenbrier East girls, the defending region champs, have been led by senior Shaye Gadomski, the second-best 400 runner so far with a time of 58.51, according to www.runwv.com. Gadomski placed outside the top 10 in the 400 in last year’s state meet, but she anchored East’s state champion 4x400 quartet.
Long jumper Maddie McClintic (fifth this spring, 16-6 1/2) and high jumper Karalie Rutherford have performed well, and the shuttle hurdle, 4x200 and 4x400 relays have, too.
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Woodrow Wilson boys coach John H. Lilly says it’s been a rebuilding year for his program. “Replacing four state champions and six runners-up (over two years) has been a chore,” Lilly said.
This year’s Woodrow team is comprised of 41 competitors, 29 of whom are freshmen or sophomores. The remaining 12 are juniors.
Bright spots for the Flying Eagles have included the coach’s son, Troy, in the discus and teammate Kelshaun Grant in the long jump.
Troy Lilly, a junior, has one of the state’s 10 best discus performances, according to www.runwv.com. His top toss of 143-3, which earned him a runner-up finish in the MSAC Championships on May 9, had him ninth in the best performance list as of May 10. Lilly was also fifth in the MSAC shot put (43-6 1/2).
Grant, a freshman, was third in the MSAC event with a leap of 20-2 3/4. That distance has him bubbling slightly under a top 10 listing.
“They’ve worked really hard and continued to improve,” Lilly the coach said of the duo. “We always have the philosophy of peaking at the end of the season.”
Top competitors for the Woodrow girls have included junior distance runner Emily Fedders, who has the 10th-best 1600 (5:28.5) and was runner-up in the 1600 and third place in the 3200 in the MSAC meet. High jumper Hannah Greco, a freshman, has cleared 5-1 this season, which is among the state leaders.
Oak Hill has been led by senior high jumper Marc Logan, whose season-best clearance of 6-4 is tied for third on www.runwv.com.
Princeton’s Tahj Sho-Johnson has turned in an 11.2 clocking in the 100, which is second-best, and the Tigers have also been strong in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. High jumpers Mason Kroll (6-2) and Zen Clements (6-0) have also performed well for Princeton.