TRACK: Local Athletes Punch Tickets to State Meet

WHEELING -Craig Vega has been waiting for the chance to compete.

The John Marshall junior didn’t get a chance to at the OVAC meet due to illness.

Now that Vega is feeling “kinda” better, he just wants to make up for lost time.

”Now, I feel like I have something to prove,” he said. ”I have to make up for (OVACs).”

He did.

Vega finished third in the 100-meter and second in the 200-meter at the West Virginia Class AAA Region 1 Track and Field meet to qualify for the state tournament, which will be held May 17-18 in Charleston.

It will be the second consecutive state appearance for Vega.

”I didn’t do very good (last year),” he admitted. ”I didn’t even place. I’ll be ready for it this year. That’s my next step.”

Though Vega was the only Monarch boy to automatically qualify for state competition, several other local athletes punched their tickets as well.

Wheeling Park’s Bryce Ingram, who edged Vega in the 100-meter, will help lead a Patriots contingent that finished second in the regional meet.

Ingram will also compete at the state level in the 400-meter relay and the 800- meter relay.

Other Park athletes who will be heading to the state capital are Brandon Porter (400-meter), Maurice Miller (400-meter, 1,600-meter relay, 3,200-meter relay), Zachary Witsberger (800-meter, 3,200-meter relay), Austin Farley (110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, 1,600-meter relay, 440-meter shuttle hurdle), Richard Cumings (110-meter hurdles, 800-meter relay, 440-meter shuttle hurdle), Theo Blackston (discus throw), Jaleel Brown (800-meter relay, 1,600-meter relay), Brandon Porter (800-meter relay, 1,600-meter relay), Braeden Carroll (3,200-meter relay), Chase Bonar (440-meter shuttle hurdle), Timothy Goldbaugh (440-meter shuttle hurdle) and Johnathan Flight (3,200-meter relay).

The Patriots also had two regional champions as Bonar captured the pole vault, while the 400-meter relay team comprised of Geremy Paige, Porter, Brown and Ingram also took first overall.

Cody Rine was the only automatic qualifier from Brooke in the shot put, however, several other Bruins are on the bubble as the next top four times from across the state will also compete in Charleston once all regional competition has been completed.

The Park girls finished the meet second overall and were led by the regional champion 800-meter relay of Nakysha McGhee, Chole Robb, Rakedra Webb, and Ashley Grove.

McGhee will also compete individually in the 100- and 200-meter, while Grove qualified in the 400-meter.

The other automatic qualifiers for the Patriots include Tamara Bumgardner (100-meter hurdles, 400-meter relay, 410-meter shuttle hurdle, long jump), Cristin Dolan (100-meter hurdles, 410-meter shuttle, pole vault), Robb (400-meter relay), Kambria O’Neal (400-meter relay, 1,600-meter relay), McGhee (400-meter relay), Natalie Wiethe (1,600-meter relay) Webb (1,600-meter relay), Grove (1,600-meter relay), Jazzlynn Hall (410-meter shuttle hurdle), Kayley Miller (410-meter shuttle hurdle) and Lauren Dickerson (discus throw).

John Marshall finished the meet in third place and was paced by five regional champions.

Ashley Haught and twin sister Erica placed first in the 400-meter and 800-meter, respectively, while freshman Tori Derrow won the 100-meter hurdles.

The Monarchs’ 800-meter relay also came out on top. The team is made up of Jaimi McNeil, Alison Duke and the Haught twins.

The titles didn’t end there, however.

The 410-meter shuttle hurdle of Ashton Thompson, Shelby Pell, Hailee McClelland and Derrow also joined in the fun and came away with another first place for JM.

Erica Haught will also compete in the 400-meter, Derrow in the high jump, while junior Emily Winters qualified in the shot put.

The state track and field meet will be held at Laidley Field in Charleston.