WHEELING - When the organizers of the Dick Dei Pepsi Track Classic set down to finalize everything for the 2013 event, the decision was made to include a girls' meet at the same time, for the first time.
And after all was said and done on a cool Saturday afternoon at Wheeling Park High School those same organizers had to be patting themselves on the back for what turned into a down-to-the-wire finish for the girls' title.
Watkins Memorial scored 16 points during the final two events of the day, the shuttle hurdle relay and the 16,00-meter sprint relay, to overtake Canon McMillan and Wheeling Park to captured the first girls' championship trophy awarded for the Dei Classic. Watkins finished with 108, the Big Macs were a very close second at 107.5 and Park third with 106.
Wheeling Park’s Bryce Ingram competes in the long jump event during the Dick Dei Pepsi Track Classic Saturday afternoon in Wheeling.
Meanwhile, the Warriors boys had little problems turning a 2012 runner-up finish into a 2013 title, racking up 167 points to easily outdistance the Dayton Dunbar (126) and the host Patriots who finished with 94. With the addition of the girls to the meet, it was also decided to include an overall team champion, which obviously went to Watkins Memorial with 75 markers to complete the sweep.
Entering the final two events, Canon McMillan was sitting in first with 100.5.
Wheeling Park was in second with 98, and Watkins had 92. But led by junior Ricki Miles and sophomores Monica Tumblin, Shannon Barth and Kara Robinson, the Warriors won the shuttles with the Big Macs third. Unfortunately for the Patriots, they were unable to assemble a shuttle team, a situation that very well may have cost them the meet, or at least second place.
Having moved past Park and sitting right behind Canon McMillan, Robinson, senior Veda Durbin and freshmen Kelsey Grove and Rachel Lawwell did what they needed to do, finishing third in the 4X400 to capture the crown. The Patriots were second while the Big Macs scored just one point for sixth.
While settling for third, Wheeling Park did have an outstanding afternoon, capturing four championships and leading or sitting near the top of the leaderboard for most of the day. The Patriots' two individual winners were sophomore Nakysha McGhee with a 13.09 clocking in the 100-meter dash and junior Jazzlynn Hall with a 17.36 in the 100-meter hurdles.
The hosts also broke the tape in the 400 relay with Chloe Robb, Ashley Grove, Kambria O'Neal and McGhee and the 800 relay with McGhee, Robb, Grove and Rakedra Webb.
John Marshall also had a good day, finishing fourth in the team standings, but also providing the girls' high-point scorer in Erica Haught with 20.5. Haught finished second in both the 400 and 800 while helping the Monarchs' 400 relay team to a second-place finish and joining sister Ashley, Hailee McClelland and Shelby Pell to win the 1,600 relay in 4:17.64.
Freshman Tori Derrow of John Marshall appeared on track to be a double-winner, however, after easily winning the high jump with a 5-foot-2 leap, she was disqualified in the finals of the 100-meter high hurdles after logging the fastest preliminary time in more than half a second. Monarchs' junior Emily Winters also won the shot put at 35-9.
The girls' only double-winner was Peters Township junior Kylie Knavish who took the 800 in 2:26.59 and the 1,600 in 5:18.47. Other winners included Canon McMillan's Riley Leisman in the 200, Lexi Vidonish in the 300 hurdles, Lauren Cargill in the long jump, Haley Yenchik in the pole vault and the Big Macs' 3,200 relay squad.
Also, Watkins Memorial's Stephanie Robb in the 400, Josie Woosley in the 3,200 and the Warriors' 4X100 and 4X800 quartets. Megan Parker of Peters Township too the discus.
The boys' meet belonged to the Warriors with two individual winners on the track, a pair of relay champions and a near sweep in the field events with four of five.
The Warriors' Michael McKean won the 3,200 in 9:56.90 and Ethan George took the 300 hurdles in 40.80 while also taking the shuttles and putting the finishing touches on the title by edging out Wheeling Park for the 1,600-meter title in the day's final event.
In the field events, junior Hunter Holton won the high jump at 6-2, classmates Bradon Oney the pole vault with a 12-6 effort and Jerrod Lyon the long jump with a 19-11 leap and senior Nic Eader spun the discus 144-8. Eader nearly made it a clean sweep, but had to settle for second in the shot put to Canon McMillan's Alec Rideout.
There were a pair of double-winners in Dunbar's Curtis Boyd in the 100 and 200 and the Big Macs' Ryan Davey in the 400 and 800. Anthony Peeples of Dunbar won the 1,600 while teammate Juan Scott won the high hurdles and the team also won three relay events.
While there were no local champions on the boys' side, Wheeling Park finished second in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays, while taking third in the 3,200 relay and the shuttles. Markieth O'Neal, Brandon Porter and Jaleel Brown appeared on all three of the second-place squads with Bryce Ingram on a pair and Maurice Miller on the other.
Miller joined Jonathan Flight, Braeden Carroll and Zach Witsberger on the 3,200 relay, while the shuttles was comprised of seniors Chase Bonar and Austin Farley and freshmen Tim Goldbaugh and Richard Cummings.
Wheeling Park was second in the combined team scores with 200 while the Big Macs were third.