Jun. 22—Pisgah's spring track and field season was a building season highlighting a number of young, talented athletes.
It appears that the pipeline will continue as both Bethel and Canton Middle Schools have several excellent performers headed to Pisgah for their freshman year next season.
The girls' track program was led by first-year coach McKinley Morris, a Tuscola graduate who is in her first year of teaching at Canton Middle School.
The boys' team was led by coach Zach Gibson, who has now moved on to Owen High School to coach football.
Pisgah girls fourth in conference
As a team, the Lady Bears finished fourth at the Mountain 7 3A Conference meet and 12th at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 3A West Regional meet.
Junior Sasha Ledford was the top performer for her school, pole vaulting her way to the podium at the conference, region and state levels.
SEE ALSO: Athletes represent Haywood at state track meet
She cleared 10 feet in the pole vault, her PR for the year, while finishing second in the conference, third in the region and third in the NCHSAA 3A State Championships.
Her third place finish at the state meet earned Pisgah its only points that day.
Ledford added a PR of 15-4 1/2 in the long jump, placing fifth at the conference meet and 10th at the regional meet.
She added a PR of 4-8 in the high jump, good enough for sixth in the conference and 13th in the region.
Sophomore Sam Morgan stood out in the field events, as well. She shotputted a PR of 34-4 1/2 for third place at the regional meet and qualified for the state meet, where she placed 11th.
Morgan also placed fourth at the conference in the discus with a throw of 81-10.
Another rising field star is freshman Katy Furman, who placed eighth in the triple jump and 10th in the high jump at the conference meet.
Freshman Mattie Dorlan burst onto the scene in the 400-meter run. She ran a personal best of 1:03.24 that led to a third place finish at the conference meet and sixth at the regional meet.
Sophomore Avery Ponder handled the sprints and placed fifth at the conference meet and seventh at the regional meet in the 200-meters.
In the 100-meters, Ponder placed seventh at the conference meet and 10th at the regional meet. Her PR in the 100 was 13.19 and in the 200 it was 26.84.
Pisgah boys top five at conference
The Pisgah Boys finished fourth in the conference and 24th in the region.
Sophomore Evan Byrd was the only boy to qualify for the state meet, where he finished 11th in the 400-meters.
Byrd showcased his strength and speed by competing in the 100, 200 and 400-meter distances.
At the conference meet, he finished seventh in the 100, fifth in the 200 and second in the 400.
At the regional meet, Byrd finished 10th in the 100, seventh in the 200 and third in the 400.
SEE ALSO: Pisgah, Tuscola track compete at regionals
His PRs for the year were 11.15 in the 100, 22.44 in the 200 and 50.43 in the 400.
Sophomore Breydon Reynolds peformed well in the triple jump.
He had a PR of 41-1 1/4, good for second at the conference meet. Reynolds did not compete at the regional meet.
Sophomore pole vaulter Luke Gonzales had a PR of 10-6, which earned him fifth at the conference meet and 10th at the regional meet.
At the conference meet, three freshman performed well for Pisgah.
Daniel Sayblack finished fifth in the 3200 with a PR of 11:08.48 and eighth in the 1600 with a PR of 5:06.54.
John Frazier finished seventh in the discus at 105-7, and Ben Frazier finished eighth in the 400.
The strong, young nucleus of "Mill Town" athletes will look to improve their numbers over the next few years, having experienced success at the team level and individually.
"I am extremely excited about our potential with our returning athletes as well as our students moving up from the middle school. The kids are committed and motivated to build a program. I'm fired up about the 2023 season, the best is yet to come for Pisgah track and field," Morris said.