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Fauquier, Liberty, Kettle Run combine to win 14 medals at state track meet

Saturday, Jun. 7 | By Jeff Malmgren
Fauquier's Frank Delavernge hands the baton to brother Ed Delavernge during the 1,600 relay Saturday at the Class 4A state outdoor track meet in Harrisonburg. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Jeff Malmgren
*Editor's note: Look for additional stories about all local medal-winners Wednesday in the Fauquier Times print edition*

Absence makes the heart grow frustrated.

Injuries and graduation ceremonies kept a handful of Fauquier Falcons from competing this weekend at the Class 3A/4A state outdoor track and field meet at Harrisonburg High. That limited the Falcons’ ability to climb up in the team standings.

So the Fauquier boys finished 12th in 4A with 19 points and the Fauquier girls placed 13th with 14, while Liberty took 16th in the boys completion (15 points) and 17th in the girls standings (10). In 3A, Kettle Run’s girls finished 26th (four) and its boys did not score.

“It was a good state meet, but it was also one of our toughest,” Falcons coach Quentin Jones said. “These little injuries, if they come up and hit you at the wrong time, they can add up.”

Fauquier junior Diamond Robinson, for example, suffered a head injury during the girls high jump Friday and couldn’t compete in the 200-meter run or 400 relay. Sophomore Tiana Yates also sat out of the 200 and 100 with a sore hamstring after tweaking it in the 400 preliminaries Friday.

For the Fauquier boys, Tyler Benson pulled his hamstring in the 400 finals Saturday and missed the subsequent 1,600 relay. Plus, Marcus Campbell did not compete in the high jump or 400 relay because graduation ceremonies took precedent over the trip to Harrisonburg, Jones said.

The Eagles, meanwhile, enjoyed a little more stability. The Liberty boys, in fact, took a huge step up after failing to score at the 2013 Class AA state outdoor meet.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Liberty senior Danny Collins said. “I think we knew last year that we were going to have a really good [2014] year. … It’s been really exciting to watch them improve.”

The Liberty boys amassed four medals this weekend and the Liberty girls claimed two.

“We really do [well] with what we have,” junior Anthony Spagnoletti said of the Eagles’ limited roster. “We’re probably one of the smallest teams. … But we’re able to put points up.”

Collins and Fauquier’s Raul Chavez led all local runners with runner-up finishes. Collins took second in the 3,200 with a time of 9 minutes, 23.77 seconds.

“That was the best tactical race that I’ve ever run in my life,” he said. “I just did exactly what I wanted to do – stay up with the lead pack and cover any move that happened.”

Collins also placed seventh in the 1,600 with a time of 4:28.94. Last season, he failed to even qualify for state in any event.

“I realized, ‘Alright, this is senior year. I should probably start trying to really improve,’” he said. “I was really frustrated that I still hadn’t made states. I wanted it.”

Chavez placed second in the 800 with a time of 1:55.61, passing Dominion’s Trent Lancaster at the finish line. Like Collins, he didn’t qualify for state last season.

“I just started getting more serious about my training – getting more miles,” Chavez said. “Coming back and getting second, that’s amazing.”

He also helped the Falcons win a pair of relay races. The 3,200 relay team of Chavez, Andy Page, Brock Curry and Madison Curry placed third in 8:02.31, while the 1,600 relay team of Chavez, Frank Delavernge, Ed Delavernge and Donavin Thompson finished fourth in 3:21.67.

An alternate in the 1,600, Chavez filled in for the injured Benson.

“Those boys ran really, really hard,” Jones said. “A very respectable time. With an alternate, they didn’t go and fall over.”

For the Fauquier girls, Dominique Johnson placed third in the shot put with a throw of 37 feet, 4.5 inches. Plus, a personal-best throw of 116-02 in the discus secured a fifth-place finish for her.

Last season, Johnson finished eighth in the shot and ninth in the discus.

“My [shot] glide is a big improvement, and my full [spin] in discus,” she said. “It feels good because you work so hard and you try so hard and you want it really bad.”

Meanwhile, Fauquier senior Addison Manor skipped her graduation ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday in Warrenton, choosing to instead run in the 100 hurdles final at Harrisonburg around the same time. She placed fifth in 15.35 seconds, a personal-record time.

“I had to pick,” Manor said of the state meet and the graduation ceremony. “I kind of knew I’d rather be running than sitting in the hot sun.

“I love running. It’s special to me,” she said. “I didn’t want to miss a race.”

For the Liberty girls, Taylor Brown finished fourth in both the 1,600 and 800. She ran a personal-best 5:09.54 in the 1,600 and finished the 800 in 2:19.99.

Brown had never previously finished as high as fourth at outdoor state.

“Racing against people that I’ve been racing against [in the past] and I actually beat them for once. It was such a great feeling,” she said. “I guess it’s just that time of the season where you’re ready to peak.”

Eric Stiggle added a sixth-place finish for Liberty in the boys 100 hurdles. He finished the final in 15.42 seconds Saturday after posting a personal-record 15.08 in the preliminaries Friday.

“If I could have gotten a little closer to my [preliminary] time yesterday, the [final] race might have been a little different,” Stiggle said. “I would have definitely liked to finish a lot better considering this is my senior year, but … I’m proud of myself.”

Spagnoletti, meanwhile, missed making the medal stand by one spot in three different events before finally getting some glory in the 200. He ran the 200 in 22.44 seconds to place seventh after finishing ninth in the 100, long jump and triple jump.

“You work so hard to medal and score points,” Spagnoletti said. “To know you’ve come so close and to not get in is so frustrating.

“You feel like maybe if you had worked harder … you would have gotten that one extra spot,” he said.

Regardless, Spagnoletti improved upon his state performance last season, when he placed no higher than 19th in three different events.

“I’m happy because I came here for four events, which is really tough,” he said. But “I’m not really too impressed, to be honest. I feel like I could do way better.”

For Kettle Run, Geneva Doores placed seventh in the discus with a throw of 107-06, while Chardane Logan finished seventh in the 400 with a time of 1:00.55.

“My last 200 I really pushed it to the finish line,” Logan said. “A lot of people try to pace themselves, but I just run the race and see what I get.

“This is really a pretty big step up from last year,” she said. “I didn’t even go to states.”

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