BOONE — Practice? Who needs practice?
Blowing Rock eighth-grader Gavin Sweeney doesn’t seem to when it comes to participating in the high jump. Normally a distance runner, Sweeney decided he would give the high jump a try at the Watauga County Middle School Track and Field Championships held at Jack Groce Stadium on May 10.
Sweeney had never done the high jump until Thursday. But despite his inexperience, Sweeney won the event with a leap of 5-feet. He jumped four inches higher than second-place finisher Josiah Romanus, who jumped a 4-8.
Tied with Romanus was third-place Cole Horine, fourth-place Stephen Knight and fifth-place Kai Suyao.
Sweeney, whose family moved to the Boone area this school year, also made his mark doing what he does best. He won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:26.74 and the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:09.93.
“He is a special athlete,” middle school track coach Michael Neff said. “I wish I had him for a little bit more than the eighth grade, but I know the high school is ready to have him up there and seeing what he is capable of doing.”
The whole teams, both the boys and the girls, were divided into three teams. Another member of the boys’ team, Carter Everett, had a big day by finishing second in the long jump with a leap of 14-4 1/2, finishing second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.91 and winning the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.92.
Collin Dailey was second in the 100 with a time of 12.97 and Trey Thompson, a seventh grader, was third with a 12.98. Dailey also won the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.66. He was the only runner to break the one-minute mark.
Everett was second in the 400 with a time of 1:00.10, while Garrett Hampton was third with a 1:03.80. Eli Lyons won the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.86. He edged Joe Penley, who was second with a 27.91. Matthew Taubman was third in the event with a time of 28.90.
Thompson picked up a victory in the long jump with a leap of 17-6 ½. Thompson was the only athlete to break the 17-feet barrier in the event. Will Garrett was third in the long jump with a 14-7 ½.
Neff was happy with how Thompson and Everett performed during the meet.
“They both have been solid for us all year long,” Neff said of the pair. “They’re multi-sport athletes. They can do it all. When you have athletes like that you can plug them in to do other events.”
Carlton Horine won the triple jump with a leap of 29-8 ½, while Cole Horine was second with a 27-0 ¾. Deonte Jacobs was third with a 26-2. All three athletes are seventh-graders.
Keadon Anderson won the shut put and the discus. Also a seventh grader, Anderson tossed the shot put 29-6, nearly three feet farther than second-place Jonathan Lutabinawa, who threw a 26-7. Dalton Parriet was third with a 22-9.
Anderson won the discus with a dominant throw of 84-2. Carlton Horine was second with a 68-2 and Parriet was third with a throw of 62-9.
Romanus won the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 10.50. Stephen Knight was second with a time of 10.69 and sixth-grader Marco Davies was third with a 10.74.
In distance running, Cole Horine was second to Sweeney in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:1.96. Baylor McMurray was third with an effort of 2:43.20. Josh Hamilton was second to Sweeney in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:46.47, while Jackson Roper was third with a time of 5:49.71.