By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
It was a good night on the track, and the field for PikeView.
Jason Weitzel and Katelyn Odle were the top overall performers, leading the Panthers to team victories at the PikeView Invitational on a pleasant Tuesday evening at PikeView High School.
Seven track teams from four countries met at one of the few schools in the immediate West Virginia area that can host a track meet.
“It is quite an undertaking to put on a track meet, but we try really hard to make sure every year that we do one at home for the kids so they can run in front of their families and their friends and get an opportunity to get some of that glory that so many of the other sports get,” PikeView track coach Angie Hill said.
The sophomore duo of Weitzel and Odle went long distance to secure team wins for the Panthers. The PikeView boys scored 127 points to finish ahead of second place Wyoming East, which had 71, followed by Bluefield (67), Westside (48) and James Monroe (44).
Weitzel ran personal record times in the 3,200 (10:34) and 1,600 (4:46) meter runs, and took a break from the 800 and ‘experimented’ with the 400, finishing in third in that event. He also combined with Vaughn Campbell, Chris McBride and Hunter Klein to win the 4x800 relay (9:20.47).
“It went pretty good. I was feeling good today and I got a couple of P.R.’s for the mile and two-mile race,” said Weitzel, who also plays basketball, soccer and runs cross county. “Usually it my goal to get a P.R., usually in one event, but sometimes if you can get it in multiple events, it is even better.”
While Weitzel finished with 22 points, it was Odle who had the most combined points for an athlete on the day, accumulating 24. She won the 3,200 (14:56) and 800 (2:45.25) meter run, finished second in the 1,600, and combined with Lauryn Hatfield, Sophie Klein and Laura Hill to capture the 4x800 relay (11:22).
The PikeView girls also took home the team title, accumulating 151 points to out-distance second place James Monroe (100). The other team scores included Westside (38), a PikeView “B” team (10), Bluefield (9), Liberty (8) and Wyoming East (7).
“I run cross country in the fall, and it is just relaxing,” said Odle, of running the long events. “I just want to improve my time in each meet.”
At least one school record was broken, with senior Charlotte Webster recording a jump of 6 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault in her first year doing the event. Webster snapped the mark of 6 feet held by Amanda Presley.
“I just thought I would give it a try, and I have always been kind of curious about it and I thought it would be fun to try so I went for it,” said Webster, who was joined in winning the pole vault by sophomore boy Tanner Alvarez.
“Since I was really little, I saw it on the Olympics once and I thought it looked really fun,” Alvarez said. “Ever since then I would go in the woods, grab sticks and try to just run and plant it in the ground.
“It just seems like something that would be fun, and I don’t really get scared all that easily so I figured I would be good at it.”
PikeView senior Jasmine Johnson is also continuing her drive for a fourth straight trip to the state meet, winning the shot put (31’2”) and finishing second in the discus (74’6”).
“I am pretty pleased. That is my not my P.R. (in shot), but it is one of the better ones this season,” said Johnson, who wants to qualify for the state meet in both events. “I am hoping to, I am going to do my best.”
Like most of the schools involved in the meet on Tuesday, James Monroe doesn’t have a regulation track of its own. Yet, the Mavericks performed admirably, with Chloe Meadows winning the 300 meters (:56) and long jump (13’3”) for the girls, and male jumper Rasheed Lowe capturing the long jump (18’56”) and high jump (5’6).
“They’re dedicated. If you have any idea what it is like to handle 20 kids at one time, but they come out and they drive themselves,” said James Monroe track coach Richard Franklin, whose son, Tyler Franklin, is the only track state champion for the Mavericks, winning the high jump in 2009. “They jump in, they practice, they compete against each other and I am always pleased from what I see out of them.”
Bluefield also displayed the speed the Beavers have long been known for, with D.J. Stewart winning the 100 meter dash (11:49) and Raheem Reed capturing the 300 meters (47:02). Bluefield also claimed a pair of relay titles.
Brandon Eldridge, who won a state wrestling title earlier this year, also participates on the track.
“I just want to have fun,” Eldridge said. “I already got one ring, I am not going to be too greedy. I just do it for fun and to stay in shape.”
Other individual female winners included Morgan Spolarich of Westside, who won the 100 and 200 meter dash, along with Kaiti Cantley (Liberty, 100 hurdles), Mikayla Moran (James Monroe, 1,600), Jazlyn Stanley (James Monroe, high jump) and Chelsea Williams (Westside, discus).
James Monroe’s Jeffrey Lewis claimed the 200 meters in boys competition, while PikeView’s Chris McBride won the 800 meters. Wyoming East’s Kyle Sandy captured the 110 hurdles, while James Adkins finished first in the shot put and discus.
Lewis, whose cleats were too slippery for the asphalt track, was able to use the tennis shoes of John Mustain, a James Monroe student, who watched much of the meet from a fence in his socks.
It paid off for Lewis, who not only won the 200, but also fell just short of breaking the school record held by Nick Newberry in the 100 meter dash (11:98). That was good for sixth place, with four of the top five finishers in the event coming from Bluefield.
“I am just .2 seconds from the school record,” said Lewis, with a smile. “I felt good today and I was able to keep up with Bluefield.”
Three meets remain for PikeView before the Region 3 meet is held in Charleston on May 10 at Laidley Field. That will be followed the next weekend by the state meet at the same location.
For PikeView, that means more road trips so it was fun to finally have a meet to call their own.
“It is nice. We are always out until 12 o’clock getting home from meets,” said PikeView three-sport standout Laura Hill, who also plays soccer and basketball for the Panthers. “If we are here, we don’t have to go away.
“It is fun to have the support from your classmates to come and support you.”
—Contact Brian Woodson