CHARLESTON - Aspen Matlock had been waiting three long years to get back to the top of the podium.
Friday at the West Virginia State Track Meet, the Wheeling Central senior finally got another chance to don a gold medal on the big stage.
''It feels really great,'' she said. ''I was a state champion my freshman year and to win it again my senior year, it was an amazing feeling.''
Displaying their gold medals Friday is Wheeling Central’s winning shuttles quad of, from left, Aspen Matlock, Lindsey Baker, Beth Stayduhar and Bailey Clark.
Photo by Tony Viola
Matlock, however, wasn't the only Maroon Knight posing for pictures as she was joined on the podium by the rest of the 4x410 meter shuttle hurdle state champion relay team that consisted of Lindsey Baker, Beth Stayduhar, Bailey Clark and Matlock.
''We didn't expect to do as well as we did,'' Baker admitted. ''Our seniors and juniors are great role models and they were good people to look up to in high school as a freshman.''
According to Clark though, the relay team had put in enough time and effort to rightfully call themselves champions.
''We've worked so hard,'' the junior noted. ''We've put in so much extra work after practice that we truly deserve this. I'm glad we got it for our two seniors.''
And for Stayduhar, the other senior on the relay, the season could not have ended any better.
''It's just been great running with these girls,'' she said. ''I've just had so much fun. We worked really hard and I just couldn't ask for a better finish.''
The Maroon Knights were not the only team at Laidley Field to watch their seniors go out on top.
The Silver Knights of Tyler Consolidated also boasted a state champion.
For the second straight year, Hunter LeMasters is the Class A pole vault winner.
''I'm honored to get it both this year and last year,'' he said. ''I'm just happy.
''The first time, it felt great, but winning it two times in a row, it just made it even better.''
LeMasters' sister, Haylea, will also bring back some hardware to the Wetzel County school. The senior finished second in the pole vault.
The Wheeling Park 4x410 meter shuttle hurdle relay also came away with a silver medal. The Patriot team of Cristin Dolan, Jazzlynn Hall, Kayley Miller and Tamara Bumgardner finished second to Buckhannon-Upshur, whose group set a new state meet record in the event.
Two Hancock County schools watched their respective schools finish 1-2 in the 4x800 meter relay.
The Weir High team of Kristen Mastrantoni, Chantelle Harper, Stephanie Pennacchio and Alexis Virtue came away with the gold, while Oak Glen's team of Christen Mangano, Alex Arnott, Felicity Nolder and Kelsey Chambers picked up the silver medal.
The Golden Bears did have an individual state champion.
Micah Swiger is this years Class AA long jump champion as the sophomore jumped 20-feet, 3 inches to claim the gold medal.
The Oak Glen girls were the only local team to earn a spot in the top three team standings. The Golden Bears are in second place as the state meets heads into its second day.
What to Look For
Speaking of today, while some athletes were being honored with some well-deserved hardware Friday, others were still trying to compete for the chance to get theirs.
Tyler Consolidated's Alex Doak and Oak Glen's Alexis Burch will each try to capture the gold in the 100-meter and the 200-meter today.
Doak earned the top seed in the 200 and the No. 3 spot in the 100, while Burch is seeded second in both events.
Weir's Jonathan Rice and Bishops Doanhue's Elaysia Hill are both the top seed in their respective 100-meter race as well.
John Marshall freshman Tori Derrow will also be in action tomorrow as the third seed in the 100-meter hurdles.
Haylea LeMasters is also seeded third in the Class A 100-meter hurdles as the senior will look to collect another medal.
Action begins today at 9 a.m with the boys Class A discus finals.