BOONE — Watauga track and field coach Randy McDonough had a simple goal for the Pioneers at the Western Regional 3-A Track and Field Championships on May 12 — take a bus to the state meet.
McDonough got his wish. Watauga brought a young track and field team to the western regional at Jack Groce Stadium. Eight Pioneers qualified for the state meet, which is May 18 at North Carolina A&T’s Belk Stadium.
The meet will run at the same time with the 1-A meet. Everything begins at 10 a.m.
One of the Pioneers’ distance runners Sophia Ritter, qualified with a relay team and in an individual event. Ritter was seeded 14th in the 2017 3,200-meter regional race, but she finished fourth in the race to qualify for the state meet.
“Last year we had two girls and no boys go to the state,” McDonough said. “They both rode down with their parents. Our goal this year was to take a bus, so we’re taking a bus Friday. Hopefully we can grow off of that next year.”
The first Pioneers to qualify for the state meet was Watauga’s girls’ 3,200-meter relay team comprised with Emma Beach, Emma Tzotschew, Caroline Edwards and Ritter. The team finished third at the regional with a time of 10:00.45.
Cuthbertson won with a time of 9:52.15, while T.C. Roberson was second.
Ritter also qualified for the 3,200-meter run by finishing fourth with a time of 11:40.09 after picking up the pace in the final lap.
The top four finishers in each event qualified for the state finals.
Emma Brown, a sophomore, also qualified for the girls’ meet by finishing third place in the 100-meter hurdles. She finished with a time of 16.68 seconds.
Watauga’s boys’ team also is sending three athletes to the state meet. Bryce Satterfield, a sophomore, turned in a personal best time of 50.26 seconds to qualify for the 400-meter dash.
Satterfield also tried to qualify for the 200-meter dash, but finished sixth. He nearly did not even make it to the regional after having a respiratory illness, but shook it off to run both races.
Distance runner Josh Lamont qualified for the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10:09.82. He outlasted teammate Price St. Clair, who was fifth with a time of 10:11.17.
Watauga’s Avery Cannon was seventh with a 10:23.80.
Lamont was trailing a runner by about 100 yards when that runner started to struggle. Lamont crossed the finish line just ahead of St. Clair, but the runner ended up having to crawl over the line.
“I’m tickled to death that Josh is going, but the runner in front of him started to overheat,” McDonough said.
Watauga’s other qualifier, Luke Drummonds, took fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet, one inch. Drummonds nearly qualified in the 100-meter hurdles, but finished fifth with a time of 15.75 seconds.
“Luke might could have it in the 300, but he was really hurting when he got to that,” McDonough said. “He had just missed making it in the high hurdles.”