Lady ’Toppers win Tri-Cities Track Classic

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 20, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Savannah Hirst reached new heights in the girls’ pole vault as the Science Hill girls’ finished well above the competition Saturday in the Tri-Cities Track Classic at Kermit Tipton Stadium.

Hirst, a sophomore, cleared 9-foot-6 to win her event and set a personal record by a foot. She won by six inches over Daniel Boone junior Abby Howe, who improved her overall height by a foot-and-a-half from her previous best.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Hirst said. “The last time I got 8-6, and today I thought I might have cleared nine feet. Coach (Randy) Brewer came over and said, ‘You’ve got 9-6.’ I was really happy.”

The team was really happy as well.

In addition to Hirst’s win, the Hilltoppers scored an early victory in the girls’ 4x800 relay. The team of Alicia DeVos, Sarah Fickley, Molly Foster and Martha McCoy finished with a time of 9:58.58, some 21 seconds ahead of second-place Dobyns-Bennett.

Science Hill outscored the Lady Indians 153.5 to 71 in the overall team competition.

Besides the event wins, the Science Hill girls had four runner-up finishes. They came with the girls’ 4x100 relay team, Molly Foster with a 5:10 run in the girls 1,600, Emanda Reid with a 28.01 in the 200 and Jalessa Kennedy at 34-11 in the shot put.

On the boys’ side, Hunter Boone doubled up with a win in the triple jump 45-31⁄2 to beat second-place Zack McCracken of Daniel Boone by nearly two feet. The Hilltopper senior also finished second in the long jump with a 21-2 effort.

“In the triple, Hunter is starting to come around at the right time,” Science Hill coach John Hyatt said. “We have quite a few of the jumpers doing well.

“As far as the girls, this was what we’ve been expecting. Distance and sprints have slowly gotten better and the field events have continued to improve. Hopefully, if everybody is healed up, we can give Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High a run on Thursday.”

Daniel Boone, which finished third behind Spring Valley, S.C. and Fork Union, Va. in the boys’ team standings, also picked up a pair of victories.

Christian Stumpf cleared 6-foot-4 in the high jump. It was a milestone for the Trailblazer sophomore, who first hit the 6-foot mark a month ago.

“I was just feeling it today,” Stumpf said. “It was a little windy, but I was fine. I just tried to stay calm and keep warm. Coming in I didn’t think I could win, but I did what coach told me and stayed calm.”

Jordan Roth edged Bryan Brackney of Watauga, N.C. by less than a stride to take the boys’ 800 race. After Brackney chased down Roth on the backstretch, the Daniel Boone runner held him off in a 100-meter sprint to the finish.

Roth’s time was 1:56.43 compared to 1:56.65 for Brackney.

“He’s extremely strong, extremely motivated and very well disciplined,” Daniel Boone coach Len Jeffers said about Roth. “He just had the will to hold it out.”

Overall, Boone set four school records at the meet — Roth in the 800, McCracken in the triple jump, Howe in the pole vault and the boys’ DMR team.

Another notable performance was University High’s Devon Wade flying high in the boys’ pole vault. The defending Class A-AA state champion in the event, Wade cleared 14 feet, a foot and a half better than the height to win last year’s state title.

“I had a head wind today so I was vaulting a little bit shallow,” Wade said. “I had to wait for the wind three or four minutes a couple of times, but I finally got the extension so it was fun.”

Eliza Gillespie also picked up a second-place for University High in the girls’ triple jump (34-1 3/4) after placing fourth in the long jump.

Among the other local schools, Elizabethton was led by a trio of fourth-place efforts — Autumn Thomas in the 200, Katie May in triple jump and Tori Cruz in the shot put. Emily Holtsclaw finished fifth in the girls’ pole vault to pace Happy Valley, and Kyle Greene was fifth in the boys’ pole vault to lead Unicoi County.

Jacob Henson led Johnson County with a distance of 18-43⁄4 in the boys’ long jump.

Conference meets are next on the agenda for most of the local schools.

The Big Eight Conference is scheduled to hold its two-day affair on Thursday and Friday at Tennessee High, and the Three Rivers Conference meet is slated for Monday, April 29 at Sullivan North.

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