ELIZABETHTON — The Three Rivers Conference track championships were once again clad in red, white and blue on Thursday at the LaPorte Track Complex.
Sullivan East made a clean sweep of the team titles, winning the boys with 167 points while the girls tallied 156 points.
Sullivan South was able to claim both “most outstanding” athlete awards as senior Madison Cowan took honors with 38 points and junior Austin Riner accumulated the same.
Both had three individual event wins and a second place.
COWAN SWEEPS JUMPS
Cowan, a Tennessee Tech commit and the area’s best field events athlete, made a clean sweep of the field events that she participated in.
In the long jump, her leap of 16 feet, 11 inches was good enough to win by more than 2 feet. She was the only one to clear 5 feet in the high jump and posted a mark of 35-8 in the triple jump.
She did show that she was mortal, as she came in second in the 100-meter hurdles, which Happy Valley’s Marcida Moore won in 17.83.
“It’s been about two years since I’ve done the hurdles and I haven’t had a whole lot of practice yet this season, so I’m fine with that result,” Cowan said. “It’s very exciting to win all three events and it’s great because this is my last conference meet.”
Cowan is aiming at giving the pentathlon competition in the postseason a try.
“I’m going to try the pentathlon this year and I’m really looking forward to it,” Cowan said.
RINER BARELY MISSES SPRINT SWEEP
Like his counterpart on the girls side, Riner dominated the long jump, winning with a leap of 19-2.5.
“Today was a day to try to prove myself,” Riner said. “I tried to get as many points as I could for the team. We thought the four events I did today would be the best to help out the team.”
In the 110 hurdles, he was able to make up an early deficit and win with a time of 17.62 seconds.
“This was the first time running the hurdles since freshman year and I have been over them one time in practice before today,” Riner said. “I figured I’d just try it out and I’m very happy with my performance, except for that first hurdle.
“If I can get that down, I feel like I can do a whole lot better.”
Riner just barely missed sweeping the sprinting crowns. In the 100, Happy Valley’s Matthew Bahn edged him out at the line, running 11.58 while Riner was second in 11.75.
He was able to exact some revenge in the 200, holding top-end speed a little bit better and taking the gold in 24.07.
“Matthew’s acceleration is extremely good, but I thought my advantage would be in the 200 because I could keep top-end speed a little bit longer,” Riner said.
BAHN FLASHES IN CENTURY
The Warriors sprinting star showed why he is a major threat in the shorter distances with his superior acceleration in the 100 and being able to finish strong.
“That wasn’t my best time, but it was into a headwind, so that was pretty good,” Bahn said.
In the 4x100 relay, Happy Valley did hold a slight lead going into the final leg, but a bad handoff nearly cost them.
When you have Bahn as the anchor leg, though, he can erase a lot of mistakes.
“I had to do that,” Bahn said. “We were doing pretty good in the relay and the handoff wasn’t as good as it usually is, but we didn’t drop the baton and that was the main thing.”
Bahn finished third in the 200, running 24.55.
Sullivan East junior Mandy Lowery almost made a clean sweep of the distance events, winning the 1,600 (5:54.51) and 3,200 (13:02.97) while finishing second in the 800 with a personal best of 2:35.02.
Autumn Stanley also had a big day for the Lady Patriots, racking up the win in the 200 (28.62), and runner-up honors in the long jump (14-3) and triple jump (30-0).
Unicoi County’s Shelby Miller swept the throwing events, winning the shot put with a heave of 32-1.5 and the discus in 96-4.
Elizabethton’s Reaghan Curde won the thrilling 800 race over Lowery with a personal best of her own at 2:34.18.
Happy Valley’s Moore also won the 300 hurdles with a time of 51.87.
On the boys side, Sullivan East’s Andrew Perry copped the 400 title (55.97).
Sullivan Central took all three distance events. Brandon Nunley won the 800 in 2:10.07 and Mason Sanders was victorious in the 1,600 (4:51.63) and 3,200 (10:35.26).