By Steve Williams
Four-time winner Rebecca Story and Catholic’s boys team led Knoxville-area participants in the TSSAA state track and field meet last week at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
Story, the Christian Academy of Knoxville sophomore who is one of the nation’s top prep distance runners, for starters brought the Lady Warriors from behind to a victory in the Class A-AA 4×800-meter relay event as she ran an impressive anchor leg. CAK’s winning time was 9 minutes, 38.36 seconds.
She then went on to sweep the 1600-meter run in 4:58.20, the 800 in 2:17.50 and the 3200 in 10:58.91.
Catholic, coached by Sean O’Neil, scored 65 points to cap the school year with its first-ever Class A-AA boys state team championship. The Irishmen took top honors in the state cross country meet last fall.
“This was a really fun team to coach,” said O’Neil Saturday via e-mail. “We realized early on that we had the potential to win a state championship. We dealt with our share of injuries and illness, but we never lost sight of that goal.”
Catholic got victories from Johnathan Chavez, Jake Poczobut and its 4×800 relay team. Chavez won the 3200 in 9:36.62. Poczobut had the best high jump, clearing the bar set at 6 feet, 4 inches. The 4×800 relay was clocked in 8:17.26.
“Two of our distance runners (Chavez and William Doktycz) battled through four tough races each and had a hand in 41 of our 65 points. Jake really got things rolling with a gutsy performance in the decathlon and a win in the high jump.
“We went into the meet knowing that we had to battle for every point we could get in every event we were in, and in almost every case we finished in a better position than we qualified.
“We’ve got a tough team, and that mentality was really on display throughout the state meet. I couldn’t be more proud of the way they came together and fought as a team for this win.”
Nashville Stratford was runner-up to Catholic with 51 points. Austin-East’s boys tied for ninth place with 23 points.
Signal Mountain scored 100 points to take the Class A-AA girls team championship. The Story-led CAK squad took third place with 63 points.
In girls’ Class AAA, Knoxville West’s Megan Murray was a double winner in the 1600 (4:58.45) and 3200 (10:49.63). Teammate Nicole Adams took first in the 800 in 2:16.13.
Memphis Whitehaven captured the Class AAA girls crown with 98 points. The top 10 also included West in sixth place (37 points), KIL champion Hardin Valley Academy in seventh (32.5) and Jefferson County in ninth (24).
Niamh Schumacher of The King’s Academy, competing in girls’ Division II, took first place in the 1600 (5:07.32) and 3200 (10:50.33).
Harpeth Hall captured the Division II girls team title with 130.50 points. Webb School of Knoxville came in sixth place with 47 points.
Fulton junior Zack Dobson had one of the most impressive marks of the day in the Class A-AA triple jump event as he soared 46 feet, 2¾ inches, over three feet farther than the second-place finisher.
In boys’ Class AAA, Sevier County’s Hunter Miniard took top honors in the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.94.
Memphis Central was the Class AAA boys team champ with 74 points. KIL champion Bearden tallied 36 points and finished fourth.
Brentwood Academy was the Division II boys winner, amassing 211 points. Webb tied for 10th with 24 points.
In other news involving local athletes at the state, Bearden sophomore Joshua Sobota finished second ahead of Halls’ Cole Patterson in the Class AAA shot put. Patterson was second and Sobota third in the discus.
West’s Adam Johnston ran a 4:14.74 in the 1600, finishing two-hundredths of a second behind the winner.
TSD’s Gashaw Duhamel, a UT signee, finished second to Chavez in the Class A-AA 3200 run.
Farragut’s Destiny Carey was runner-up in the Class AA shot put event with a mark of 44-2½.
Alabama signee Brittany Tolson of Powell came in third in the Class AAA 3200 run.