The Watauga High track teams turned in a solid effort on Saturday at the Fleet Feet Invitational at Bunker Hill High School in Claremont, NC.
The WHS women bested the field with 125 points. North Rowan finished second with 94. North Rowan won the men's meet iwth 113 points; WHS finished fourth with 87.50. Senior Sydney Cook won the pole vault event with an effort of the season at 11-feet. She also was sixth in the high jump as she cleared the bar at five feet.
"I've surprised myself of late," said Cook, who will be our guest on the Dugout Show during pre-game coverage of Monday night's baseball game between WHS and South Caldwell. "I couldn't convince myself that I could get higher than 10-6 all of last year. But all of a sudden, it's falling into place for me."
Cook cracked the 11-foot barrier at the New Balance Championships in New York City on March 11, when she cleared the bar at 11-2 1/2 (which is the second-best effort in school history in the pole vault indoors). Cook was a state runner-up in the pole vault at the indoor championships last season. She was also the field athlete of the year in the Norhtwestern 3A/4A Conference last spring.
Pineda won both the shot put and discus events on Saturday. He had a throw of 49 feet in the shot put; he had a toss of 145 feet, five inches in the discus. Peter Vandenberg finished third in the 3200-meter run as he crossed the finish line in 9:56.08. Reid Harris had a second place finish in the pole vault as he cleared the bar at 13 feet, six inches; Trip Patterson of Hibriten won the event clearing the bar in lesser attempts at the same distance. WHS also finished second in the 4x800 relay.
On the women side, the Pioneers won the 4x800 relay, the 4x400 relay and Darby Middlebrook won the 3200 in 10:57.21. Tara Trivette finished second in the high jump with an effort of 5-2; Laura Gulliver finished second in the pole vault as she cleared the bar with a jump of 10-6t; Hailey Middlebrook finished second in the 800 in the impressive time of 2:30.07; Hannah Barbour finished second in the 3200 in 11:18.75.
"This is our deepest women's team in many years (since the 1997 season)," said WHS coach Randy McDonough. "We have a lot of people that can score points for us on the track. It makes us a legimiate threat, if we can healthy and keep improving, to be considered a contender for a state championship."
The WHS women last won the state title in 1997 behind two stellar athletes in Lindsay and Brenda Taylor. And the return of Kasey Jones gives the Pioneers another weapon to work with in their quest for a state title. Jones, who missed the entire indoor season with a nagging hamstring injury, finally made her return Saturday.
Jones scored in two of the three individual events she competed in. Jones turned in a second-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (14.96), she was sixth in the 300 hurdles, and she was 13th in the long jump.
"Kasey has worked so hard to get back on the track," McDonough said. "Our trainer, Cindy (Lentz), has really worked with her during this injury. The hamstring is the biggest muscle in the body and it takes a while for it to heal. You can't rush it. And we've taken it slow with her. We've had to keep a close eye on her during practice.
"If we don't, she'll be off doing something. We wanted to make sure she was fully healthy when she came back. She is one of our top athletes."
The Pioneers had five other top five finishes on the day. Debra Domermuth finished third in the pole vault, Julia Roberts finished second in the 1600, Doria Kosmala was right behind her in third place. Jake Pifer had another strong effort in the high jump as he cleared the bar in six feet and finished second. The Pioneers finished third in the 4x400 relay, Max Ruble was fourth in the pole vault and Clark Brackney was fifth in the 1600.
The WHS track teams will host a NW3A/4A Conference meet with Alexander Central and Hibriten on Wednesday.
The WHS men's and women's lacrosse teams traveled to Charlotte on Saturday to play a non-district match against Hough High School. The Pioneers came up short in both matches. Hough defeated the WHS women 19-3, snapping the Pioneers' (3-4) two-game winning streak. Jessie Nash had two goals, Danielle Welsh had a goal as well in the losing cause. In the men's game, the Pioneers (0-9) turned in their best offensive output of the year. Unfortunately, Hough prevailed 21-5. Will Bridges had two goals and an assist in the loss. Barrett Williams had two goal and Forrest Brown had the other WHS tallyl. Dominick Hamilton had three assists and Canyon Meuler had one assist. The WHS women return home to play R.J. Reynolds Wednesday night. The WHS men play their final home game of the season Friday night against Freedom.