by Jamaar Hawkins, i64sports
Western Branch senior Shadajah Ballard figured her main competition coming into this weekend’s Class 6 state championships would likely be the time clock.
Ballard, a senior headed to the University of Kentucky, make quick work of both the clock and her opposition, setting meet records in the 55 meter hurdles, 55 meter dash and later adding a title in the 300, as the Lady Bruins ran away with a state championship.
As usual, Western Branch dominated the sprints. The Bruins took three of the top four places in the 55. Ballard’s younger sister, Na’Taja, finished second in the 300 and third in the 55. Sophomore Jazmin Tilmon added a second place finish in the 55mh, along with her fourth place finish in the 55 The Lady Bruins 4 x 400 meter relay team also had a runner-up finish.
South County sophomore Aly Conyers held off Cosby freshman Meraisia Johnson to win the 500. Piper Dean (Yorktown HS) won the girls 3200, finishing just shy of 11 minutes. Hayfield’s Raquel Pauly leaped 17″6′ to win the girls long jump.
OSbourn Park senior Sydney Banks captured the high jump title. T.C. Williams senior Courtney Holford won the shot put by more than two feet (42-06.25).
The Western Branch boys made sure the day concluded with a Bruin sweep, topping second place Oscar Smith by 34 points. Battlefield rounded out the top three.
Chase Osborne won the boys 1600m race to give Western Branch some crucial points. The Bruins also won the 4 x 400m relay in a blistering 3:24.58.
We caught up with Western Branch senior Jacob Nixon following the Bruins’ win in the 4 x 200m relay. Nixon, who was competing in his first indoor state meet as a Bruins, spoke with us on the importance of upholding program’s championship standard.
“As a new transfer that just got here, I just tried to adapt quickly. I already know they’re know for winning championships. I just wanted to be apart of that,” Nixon said.
Tallwood senior Isaiah Carter won the 300m dash. Carter also finished runner-up to Riverbend’s Jaren Holmes in the long jump. Holmes also won the triple jump. Oscar Smith’s Aaron Shirley finished runner-up in the 55 meter hurdles, and third in the 300.
Kurt Powdar (Oscar Smith) ran away from the competition, including his own teammate Shirley, to win the 55mh in 7.34 seconds. Thomas Dale’s Chris Tyree won the 55 in 6.30 seconds,
Franklin County’s Trent Whittaker won the 1,000 meter run in 2:31.26. Worth nothing: Xavier Jemison (McClean HS) was the lone freshman to make the finals, finishing in 9th place. Jemison also finished fourth in 1600.
Battlefield finished 1-2-3 in the pole vault, led by senior Dakota Prue (15-00).
But the real star of this weekend’s meet was Ballard, who gave the state of Virginia an amazing final indoor meet as she heads to the University of Kentucky in the fall. She set a meet record in the 55mh and came back minutes later to run 6.87 in the 55.