’Jackets, Doddridge claim team crowns

PARKERSBURG – Williamstown girls track and field coach Zach Hall couldn’t ask for a better present for his 28th birthday.

At Thursday’s Class A, Region IV Championships conducted at Erickson All-Sports Facility, the Yellowjacket girls claimed their third consecutive regional title and advanced an assortment of qualifiers for next week’s state meet in Charleston.

Behind Andrea Chidester’s regional record performance in the 400, the Yellowjackets piled up 224 points compared to 117.5 points for runner-up Doddridge County, which received a memorable night from D’Andra Swiger.

The top three placewinners in each event qualified for state. The next four best performances in all four regions also advance. In the high jump and pole vault, the top four finishers earn a berth at the state meet.

Shortly after the field events kicked off last night’s meet, Swiger surpassed what would have been a state record in the high jump by clearing 5-foot-6 on her third and final attempt at that height. Not only did Swiger surpass the regional mark of 5-4 set by Williamstown’s Megan Steele in 2011, but she also broke her own school record of that same height established at last year’s state meet.

“I’ve been trying to clear 5-6 forever this year,” Swiger said. “At my last meet, my heels clicked the bar and that really got me down. I didn’t think I would get another chance at 5-6. But then again, I didn’t think I would jump as well as I did today.”

Swiger would like the opportunity to clear 5-7 at the state meet.

“I jump Friday afternoon during the first event so my legs will be fresh – that’s definitely to my advantage,” said Swiger, who also broke a regional record and what would be a new state time after winning the 300 hurdles in 46.28. She made it a clean sweep with wins in the long jump and 200.

Sweeping the throws in shot put and discus was Savannah Phillips of Doddridge.

On the boys side, Doddridge County won by a landslide thanks to the contributions of Dillon Muhly-Alexander, who set a regional record by winning the long jump with a leap of 21-10 – six inches farther than St. Marys’ Kyle Davies in 2008. The senior added wins in the 110 hurdles to his collection.

Bulldog teammate Isaac Britton captured the discus title and finished runner-up in the shot put. Other winners for Doddridge included Caleb Moore in the 3200 and Dyllon Hayes in the pole vault.

Williamstown received a first-place effort from Trace Hart in the 200, Mitchell Goertler in the 300 hurdles and Evan Smith in the shot put.

The Bulldog boys finished with 177 points, while Williamstown finished runner-up with 130 points.

For the Williamstown girls, Chidester broke her own regional mark in the 400 of 1:00.30 set last year by winning in a time of 59.99. The Yellowjackets made it a clean sweep as Madelin Gardner and Kathleen Cornell finished second and third, respectively.

Teammate Lincoln Postlewaite would have her regional record in the 100 hurdles erased during last night’s meet, but the senior matched her personal best in the pole vault after clearing 10-6 – which would be a state record if the result was turned in at Charleston.

Outdoing Postlewaite’s 2012 effort of 16.07 in the 100 hurdles at last year’s regional meet was Doddridge’s Sarah Ferguson, who crossed the finish line in 15.71 in the second heat of the prelims. The junior wasn’t finished as she clocked a 15.66 while winning the finals.

Joining the victory parade for Williamstown was Cami Mossor, who manufactured a two-second margin of victory in the 1600 and added a gold-medal finish in the 800.

Gilmer County was represented in the winner’s circle as sophomore Katie Benson claimed the 3200.