Alderson has big weekend at state meet
May 25—CHARLESTON — Riverside High senior Jacob Alderson went out on a high note for his high school track and field career last weekend in Charleston.
During a productive two days in the 2023 WVSSAC State High School Track and Field Championships at University of Charleston Stadium, Alderson scored 21.5 of the Warriors' 25.5 points as the team posted an 11th-place finish in the Class AAA boys division.
Alderson nabbed a pair of runner-up finishes on Saturday. He placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles with a clocking of 15.1 seconds, and he was also second in the long jump with a best distance of 20 feet, 11 3/4 inches.
He had previously tied for third place on Friday with Woodrow Wilson's Ryan Mukhtar in the high jump, as each cleared 6-4.
Alderson was fourth in the individual high point award battle, which was won by Jefferson's Keyshawn Robinson (32.5 points).
Also for the RHS boys, Sam Peters notched a seventh-place finish in the shot put with a 46-5 1/2. And, the Warriors' 4x100 relay quartet of Cameron Lewis, Andrew Baria, Logan Nelson and Bishop Hairston finished seventh in 44.4.
The Riverside girls tallied seven points on the weekend. Senior Aliyah Smith logged a fifth-place effort of 15.48 in the 100 hurdles, good enough for four points.
Senior Mallory Crowder (32-2 1/2) was eighth in the shot put. Sophomore Madison Young (4-10) was in a three-way tie for seventh in the high jump.
Smith was joined by Jaya Wood, Mikyira Flippen and Taylor Dankmeyer to place eighth in the shuttle hurdle relay (1:09.16).
The Oak Hill boys scored 11 points over the weekend.
Sophomore Conlan Brooks placed in all three of his individual events — the 200 (fifth in 22.77), the 400 (sixth in 51.04) and the 100 (seventh in 11.29).
Teammate Eli Calloway, a senior, was eighth in the 110 hurdles (16.41).
For the Red Devil boys, the 4x400 relay team of Brooks, James Green, Ty Wilburn and Holden Hayes placed eighth with a time of 3:36.32.
The top eight finishes in each event were scored this year, as opposed to six in the past. All eight finishers (or four per placing in the case of relays) are designated for all-state status.
Other meet highlights:
—The tall, lanky frame of Jaedan Holstein — and his considerable speed — lurked in the shadows as the first lap of the Class AA boys 800-meter race unfolded Saturday.
They both surged to the forefront at just the right time, however, as the Shady Spring High senior built up a full head of steam and barreled past all his competitors in the closing straightaway to capture the 800 state title on a rainy second day of the championship meet.
Holstein, also an all-state cross country runner last fall and a state basketball championship player with the Tigers in 2021, dipped easily below the two-minute barrier to win the two-lap race in 1:57.25, nipping runner-up Brayden Marshall of Winfield and two other racers who were clocked below the 1:58 mark.
—Earlier Saturday, James Monroe senior Braydie Carr gave Region 3 another state championship with a front-running, personal best time of 50.77 in the Class A boys 400.
Carr later placed seventh in the 100 (11.74) and eighth in the 200 (23.83).
—On Friday, Woodrow Wilson's Bella Staples had a lemons-into-lemonade moment on the state's biggest stage for high school track and field.
The same day, Westside senior Owen Keeney experienced a 'hey, this stuff is fun' moment.
And, both of the Region 3 standouts turned those moments into state championship efforts in their respective events.
Staples, a senior who recently signed to compete for Marshall University, placed third for the second straight year in her specialty, the shot put, with a best throw of 35 feet, 3 3/4 inches in Friday's first session, but she rebounded in stellar fashion by winning the discus in the ensuing session, uncorking a winning toss of 131-10 on her fifth discus attempt to take home the gold and ease the disappointment of the lost shot put opportunity.
Meanwhile, Keeney posted a top clearance of 6-6, a personal best, in the Class AA boys high jump, defeating a field that also included Nicholas County's Isaiah Miner (runner-up in 6-4) and Shady Spring's Michael Vecellio (fourth in 6-2).
—In the Saturday morning events, the Woodrow Wilson girls got a pair of second-place efforts. Sophomore Mya Wooton crossed second in the 400 in 58.64, improving on a third-place finish from 2022. Teammate Somalia Nelson, a junior, was runner-up in the high jump (5-0).
—In AA boys, Shady Spring's Hunter Davis was runner-up in the 110 hurdles (15.54).
—Two-time defending Class AA girls 800 champ, Natalie Barr of Nicholas County, came up just short in a bid for a three-peat, finishing second in 2:20.97.
—Richwood's Carlee Dillard was second in the high jump in 5-0.
—Among the other better performances from Region 3 athletes Friday were Nicholas County's Adrienne Truman's second-place finish in the Class AA girls high jump (5-0). Truman also placed fifth in the girls long jump (15-9 3/4).
—In Class A, team winners were the Williamstown girls (173.5 points) and the Buffalo boys (109).
—The Winfield girls (150) and Point Pleasant boys (82.33) grabbed double-A team trophies. The Nicholas County girls were 12th with 20 points, and the Shady Spring boys placed 10th with 24.
—In Class AAA, the Woodrow Wilson girls placed a solid third with a score of 58 points, chasing co-winners Jefferson and Morgantown, both with 11. For the boys, Huntington won with 98.5 points. Woodrow scored 18.5 for 14th.
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