Sometimes the most impressive feats at a state track meet aren’t in the top three finishers. Sometimes they come when scheduling makes things difficult for a certain athlete and that competitor shakes it off and overcomes.
Louisa County’s Aaliyah Clark took one of her jumps in the long jump finals and without breaking stride out of the pit, jogged over to her spot in the third leg of the girls 4×100 in the Group 4A Championships at Harrisonburg Saturday.
“It was crazy, I just knew my teammates were calling me and I had to get there,” Clark said. “I just tried to get it done.”
The Lions were running in the second of three heats and knew that to get on the podium they were going to need to run a particularly impressive race without many teams really pushing them to new heights. Louisa’s team of Clark, Kiana Richardson, Taylor Robinson and Kavia Terry did that, winning the heat by nearly a full second in a race where fractions matter. The Lions got on the podium in eighth place.
“We knew that we were going to have to run a really fast time in order to place so we’d been practicing it all day, every day during practice,” Clark said.
The final few events of the Group 3A/4A Championships, including most of the 800-meter races (Willcutts’ other event), the 200 and the 4×800 were canceled in the wake of a lightning delay that prevented the VHSL from completing those events. The decision created a lot of angst on social media and reportedly on site and milestat.com’s Twitter account reported Saturday night that there was some movement in the works to reverse the decision and somehow get the events in.
Before that delay, Richardson had already taken third place in the 100-meters, jumping from her fifth place seed time into the third spot with a 12.65, cutting two hundreths off her run in the prelims.
“I was really surprised,” Richardson said. “I improved a lot because I had a lot of injuries last year, so I didn’t do as well.”
Robinson took third in the 100 hurdles for the Lions with a time of 15.07 that also came in two hundreths faster than her preliminary time.
Clark managed a sixth-place finish in the long jump, with teammate Brandy Brown taking fourth in the event. Brown’s leap of 17-04.25 was an impressive performance for the junior.
Celia Agee finished took fourth in the girls pole vault,
Louisa’s boys 4×800 team finished fifth on Friday night, with Josh Bishop, Raliegh Findley, Nathaniel Whitby and Justice Anderson combining for the solid finish
Louisa’s Bishop took 10th in the 400-meter dash. Freshman Jacob Woodson took fifth in the boys pole vault for the Lions.
Charlottesville’s Tariq Carrington finished fourth in the boys 100-meter race despite what he felt like was a less-than-ideal start.
“I just had a really bad reaction and when I was going I saw other people already had that first step,” Carrington said. “I made up for it by not panicking, not getting tight which would have made my run worse. I just stayed relaxed and finished the race.”
The Black Knights’ senior lost a chance to compete in the 200-meter race with the delay and subsequent cancellation. He was seeded fifth in the 200 finals.