GRAFTON— Last week, the Taylor County Middle School (TCMS) track team played host to five area schools for their second and final home meet of the season, celebrating their eighth-grade members prior to its start.
15 eighth grade Knights and Lady Knights were called across the field being escorted by parents and were presented with their banners, marking the bittersweet ending to their time on the track for TCMS.
And as the meet progressed, the Knights would have even more to celebrate.
Competing against Doddridge County, Robert L. Bland, Tyler Consolidated, South Harrison and Washington Irving Middle Schools, Taylor County Middle secured overall team finishes for both the boys and girls, within the top three.
For the Knights, eighth grader Jaxson Hall would once again stand out from the crowd, taking first in three events.
During the boys 100-meter, Hall, who continues to break his own PRs in the event, outlasted 16 opponents, crossing the finish line in a time of 11.55, to take first, while Jaden Hatfield of South Harrison was the closest to Hall, coming in second with a time of 11.75.
Hall and Hatfield also ran a tight race in the boys 200-meter dash, with Hall once again finding the endurance and determination to pull ahead for the first-place spot with a time of 25.19.
From the track to the field, Hall would go on to dominate in the boys high jump events, recording another first place for his team, with a jump of 5-06.00.
Going the distance, fellow eighth grade Knight Colson Annon, also earned top finishes, beating Tyler Consolidated’s Travis Moore by less than three seconds in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:25.06. TCMS’s Cole Runner also competed in the event, earning a few points for the team with a fifth-place finish in a time of 2:36.78.
Annon went on to place second in the 1600-meter, barely missing the top spot, which was filled by Doddridge County’s Carter Sias, who finished in a time of 5:12.62, while Annon recorded a time of 5:15.34.
Additionally, Annon captured the second-place spot in the 3200-meter, finishing in 10:58.26, once again, coming in just shy of Sias’ first place time.
Jonathan Maier also made the most of his eighth-grade night meet, claiming first in the boys 200-meter hurdles.
In a neck-and-neck race with Robert Bland’s Aiden Oldaker, Maier narrowly earned first place with a finishing time of 30.93, while Oldaker came in right behind with a time of 30.95.
Maier also excelled in the long jump, with a solid second place for his jump of 15-06.
Additional point earning finishes for TCMS included a third place by Maier in the 400-meter, second-place in the 4x100 relay, fifth-place in the 4x200 meter relay, Tyler Clemm with a fifth-place finish in the long jump and Conner Robinson and Kaige Andrews recording third and sixth in the shot put.
Andrew and Robinson also earned fourth and fifth for the Knights in the boys discus throw event.
These top finishes led the Knight to a solid team score of 108, landing them in second place overall, just behind Doddridge, who took first with 174 points.
Adding to the boys’ 18 top six wins, the Lady Knights earned 17 top wins of their own, to finish strong with an overall third place with 92 points.
Sophia Austin stood out for the Lady Knights with second place finishes in multiple events including the girls 800-meter, 1600 meter and 3200 meter, while Natalee Cartwright stayed right with teammate Austin, taking third in the 800 and 1600.
Cartwright also earned fourth place in the 400-meter, recording a time of 1:15.02.
Recording the Lady Knights’ only individual event first place at the meet was Carly Vandergrift, who shut out Doddridge County’s Kimberly Blosser, as well as 13 other competitors in the 100-meter hurdles, with a time of 18.79.
Maddy Haddix also did well in the event, earning points with a fifth-place finish at a time of 19.58, while Vandergrift also claimed fourth in the 200-meter hurdles with a finishing time of 35.73.
In relay events, the shuttle hurdle team of Haddix, Vandergrift, Maddie Lynch and Rielee McGuffey raced their way to first in a time of 47.16, the 4x400, as well as the 4x200 teams earned third and the 4x100 took fifth with a time of 1:02.01.
During field events, Lynch would beat out two from Robert Bland for a second-place finish in the girls high jump, coming up short of first to Doddridge County’s Kimberly Adams.
McGuffey also made it into the top with a fifth-place finish in the long jump event, recording a jump of 11-11.00.
TCMS has just two meets left on their schedule before their season concludes on May 14, at the Harry Green Invitational.