CHARLESTON - Oak Glen senior Kelsey Chambers and the Lady Golden Bears track and field team set school history Saturday at the West Virginia State Track and Field Championships at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field.
Chambers became a four-time state champion for the first time since Oak Glen grad Jordann Mitchell, who then ran at WVU, performed the feat seven years ago.
In doing so, she became the school's first track and field athlete to win the high point award. She shared it with Bridgeport junior Kayla Haywood. They scored 32.5 points.
Photo by Mike Mathison/John Marshall High School’s Torie Derrow clears 5-feet-4-inches to take second place the in high jump Saturday at the West Virginia State Track and Field Championships at the University of Charleston’s Laidley Field.
"I'm just so honored to win the award," said Chambers. "And, to be the first person in school history to do so - I am blessed."
After anchoring the 4x800 relay Friday with Christen Mangano, Alex Arnott and Felicity Nolder, then capturing the 3,200, Chambers blitzed the fields in the 1,600 and 800 Saturday.
"What a great day," Chambers said with a huge smile on her face. "I can't believe this day happened. I worked really hard for this day and my teammates were there as they worked really hard, too."
Oak Glen's team took home hardware for the first time in school history with a Class AA runner-up finish to Bridgeport.
"We are so proud of our girls," said Lady Golden Bears coach Diane Wells. "We have a great coaching staff and the girls did everything we asked of them this year.
"Our girls performed today. The whole team did well. It wasn't just Kelsey. It was just a great day for Oak Glen track and field."
Chambers owned the 1,600 and 800. She gradually lengthened her lead in the four-lapper and took the 800 by the throat from the gun.
"I knew I had to take the 8 out quickly because I'm not good at sprinting at the end of the 8," she said. "I had to try to get as big of a lead and I could get and make them catch me."
Her 2:22.22 clocking to finish the four-peat was 1.51 seconds ahead of Independence junior Adriana Cook.
Chambers stopped the clock at 5:19.29 to win the 1,600. It was six seconds better than Samantha Stout of Webster County.
"This weekend could not have gone any better," Chambers said. "This is the best way to end my senior year. I'm so happy and really grateful for how my senior year has gone."
Magnolia senior Lauren Cline battled health issues this season, but her year ended on top of the podium as she claimed the Class A 800 title in 2:29.37, beating Charleston Catholic freshman Lia Preston by .23 seconds.
"I knew I was in the mix, but I never thought I was going to win," she said. "I knew I didn't want to get boxed in because you can't get boxed in in this race and win. So, I went out fast and just kept saying to myself, 'don't let anyone pass you.' No one passed me. It's the best feeling ever.
"I usually run to get a good spot and stay with the pack. At regionals, I did the same thing as today. I got in front and didn't let anyone pass me. It worked. I guess it should have been my strategy all along."
Cline admitted she was surprised she won.
"I knew this was possible. My coaches told me this was possible," she said. "I've been sick year with a lot of health problems and missed a lot of the season. So, to come here and do this is a big deal for me.
Blue Eagles sophomore Jarod Kacor won the 300 hurdles in 41.62. He grabbed the race after the second hurdle and cruised to the last hurdle, where he had a bit of a problem.
"I had to stutter-step the last one, hit it and almost went down," said Kacor. "But, I got it together."
Kacor made it to Charleston last year as a freshman and said that experience helped and prepared him for this season.
"It really helped a lot," he said. "I think it's hard for a freshman coming in here. I was really nervous.
"This year I came in a lot more relaxed and I knew what to expect.
"I felt confident coming into the race today. But, anything can happen down here, though."
Kacor now is the defending champion coming in as a junior and welcomes the challenge.
"It's going to be great," he said. "I love competition. I was the No. 2 top returner (in the event) this year. I wanted to win it badly and it feels good to get it."
The Madonna girls 4x400 relay defended their Class A state title with a meet record run. Gianna Anile, Chloe Conner, Cameron Dowiak and Emilee Pollard toured the four laps in 4:15.49, which broke Williamstown's 2011 mark by .42 seconds.
"This is a great way to end my senior year," said Anile. "I am so proud of our team."
"It (being the favorite) is really nerve-racking," said Conner, who finished second in the 400 earlier in the day. "I didn't want to disappoint everyone and I didn't want to disappoint myself."
Dowiak agreed with that.
"There's nothing like running on a (relay) team," she said. "It's all about the team and you will do anything you can to help the team."
Pollard was the newbie on the foursome.
"At first I wasn't on the team and had to earn my spot and I did that," she said. "I tried really hard to live up to their standards. I'm just so thankful I am a part of this."
Madonna senior Marcello Biondillo leaped 20-7.5 on his third jump to eventually claim the Class A championship.
His leap was over a foot longer than Magnolia's Tim Weekley, who placed second.