HICKORY — Watauga’s track and field teams have their eyes on the Northwestern Conference Championships, which are May 2 at Watauga’s Jack Groce Stadium.
Then there is the State 3-A Western Regional Championships May 12, which is also hosted by Watauga at Jack Groce Stadium.
Watauga has not had many track meets to get ready for either meet. The Pioneers ran at a small meet at Hickory on April 18 hoping to qualify some athletes on a rare warm afternoon.
Watauga’s boys’ team won the overall meet with 90 points, four better than Hickory, which finished with 88. Alexander Central was a distant third followed by R-S Central with 81 and St. Stephens with 28.
Watauga’s girls’ team was second with 99 points. Alexander Central won with 134, while R-S Central was third with 61. Hickory scored 55 and St. Stephens had 14.
“Overall, it was a pretty good day,” Watauga coach Randy McDonough said. “We left our best distance runners at home so they could do a workout and the boys still had enough to pull out the win.”
Distance runners Price St. Clair and Josh Lamont from the boys’ team, and Sophie Ritter and Avery Cannon from the girls’ team, did not make the trip to Hickory because of previous engagements, according to McDonough. All four runners have already qualified for the regional meet and will turn their attention to the NWC meet.
That does not mean they will be by themselves at the regional. Watauga qualified one athlete — Luke Drummonds — in the long jump. Drummonds, a junior, won the event with a jump of 43 feet even.
Drummonds also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.0 seconds and was third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.2 seconds.
“He’s just starting to round into form,” McDonough said. “He’s going to start pole vaulting soon, so that will help us in the conference.”
Drummonds had plenty of help when it came to piling up points. Tracy Poe won the long jump with a leap of 20-1, while Jed Willingham was third with a jump of 19-0. Willingham was also third in the triple jump with a leap of 40-4.
Jayden Robbins was second in the pole vault with an effort of 9 feet even, while Tate Cook was second in the high jump with a leap of 5-10. Samuel Sappington was second in the discus with a toss of 114-0.
Not every standout distance runner stayed back in Boone. Watauga sophomore Caleb Cox finished second in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:03.3. Watauga’s 3,200-meter relay team finished second with a time of 9:54.
In the sprints, Bryce Satterfield was second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.0 seconds. Poe was fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.8 seconds and Grant Oliver was fifth in the 300-hurdles with a 46.4 seconds. Satterfield qualified in the 400-meter dash on April 14, but faced a tough headwind down the straightaway in the sprints at Hickory.
“They had a pretty good wind against them,” McDonough said.
Watauga also won the 1,600-meter relay with a time of 3:45.3.
Watauga’s girls’ team piled up 36 points in the jumps compared to just eight points in distance. Brooke Byrd finished second in the long jump with a leap of 14-6, and took second in the high jump with a 4-10.
Rebekah Farthing was third in the high jump with a 4-8. McDonough said both sophomores were tired during the meet and are given Thursday off.
“Brooke and Rebekah both placed, but their distances were not real good,” McDonough said. “They are tired. We’ve got to get them rested up as we get closer to conference, but they did well in the meet They gave their all, but you could tell they were dragging.”
One Pioneer who wasn’t dragging was Alyssa Lopez, who won the 300-hurdles with a time of 51.3 seconds. Her teammate Emma Brown, a sophomore, won the 100-hurdles with a time of 17.0 seconds. Hallie Sweeny, a freshman, was third with a time of 20.2 in the 100-hurdles and tied for third in the 300-hurdles with a time of 1:01.3.
Maddy Watson was second in the 200-dash, while Lena Miller, another sophomore, took third in the 1,600-run with a time of 6:29.9 and third in the 800-meter run with a time of 3:00.9.
Lauren Shaw and Grace Watson both placed in the pole vault. Shaw was second and Watson was third as both vaulted to an 8-0 height.
Watauga also got a third place finish from Tegan Allan in the discus with a toss of 76-9 and a fourth place from Madelyn Furr in the same event with a throw of 69-8. Furr was also third in the short put with an effort of 30-3 1/2.
McDonough said that despite the winds, the temperatures were much higher than what they’ve seen in the Boone area during the season.
“It was a very good, small meet,” McDonough said. “All the kids I think were happy to be hot. I enjoyed sweating like I did Saturday down in Columbia (S.C.).”