- Phoebus finished second behind Western Branch
- 1,600-meter relay team clinches second
- Ocean Lakes standout wins three jumps again
Newport News ─ Phoebus track and field coach Brian Rountreewanted his girl's track team to use the Eastern Region track andfield finals, held Friday and Saturday at Todd Stadium, to show itsPeninsula District championship was no fluke.
The Phantoms set a goal of finishing in the top three, but eclipsedthat by piling up 66 points to take second place overall. WesternBranch of Chesapeake won the girls title with 118 points, andPrincess Anne finished third with 55.
On the boy's side, Ocean Lakes of Virginia Beach wont the titlewith 79 points, Western Branch finished second with 70, and FirstColonial of Virginia Beach was third with 53.
"They wanted one of those trophies," said Rountree. "I'm so proudof these girls, because they've worked so hard this year to get tothis point, and they came in and took what they wanted. They ranhard today."
After checking the team standings with just one event remaining,Rountree hurried to the infield to talk to his 4x400-meter relayteam.
"I told them to get it done," said Rountree. "That the trophy wasin reach, but they had to want it."
The girls responded, and senior Brittany Alston brought it home bywalking down a big deficit on the back straightaway and thenholding off a pass attempt by Western Branch's Javette Lee down thehomestretch.
Christal Peterson aided the cause with a first place finish in the200-meter dash and a second-place in the 100-meter dash.
The Phantoms received a big boost when Vamonie Boddie and JasmineVaughan finished second and third, respectively, in the 300-meterintermediate hurdles.
Boddie reached a personal goal with a time of 44.95 seconds.Vaughan had already added four points with a fifth-place finish inthe 100-meter hurdles and later added six more by anchoring thethird-place 4x100-meter team.
"Picking up those points was a very big deal," said Boddie, whohopes to reach 43 seconds at the state meet. "This is the toughestregion in the state, so finishing like this here makes us feel goodabout our chances at the state finals."
As the field event finals finished up Saturday morning, the showbelonged squarely to Ocean Lakes' Justin Hunter. For the secondconsecutive year, Hunter won the trifecta of jumps, taking homefirst place finishes in the high jump (7 feet), long jump (24 feet,8 inches), and triple jump (49 feet, 9 inches).
After Western Branch's Kendrick Smith took the lead on his finaljump with a leap of 47 feet, 1.5 inches, Hunter took his mark,gestured for some crowd support, then won the event for the thirdconsecutive year even though he took off with the wrong footplanted nearly 18 inches short of the foul line.
If measured from where his take-off foot was planted, Hunter wouldhave put up an effort of 51 feet and 7 inches.
"When I got close to the board, I realized my steps were off, butit was my last attempt and I had to get it, so I just went for it,"said Hunter, who set a personal best with the jump. "50 inches wasmy goal here, so I'm a little disappointed that I didn't reach it,but it's nice to see that it's within my reach and I have room forimprovement."
Other Peninsula District athletes who won individual events wereMenchville's Melissa Wilson in girl's pole vault (10 feet, 9inches), Hampton's Renay Ransaw in girl's long jump (18 feet, 0.5inches), and Woodside's Brandon Burton in the 800-meter run(1:52.74).
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