TCMS track records 15 firsts at home opener

GRAFTON— After earning ten first place finishes the Taylor County Middle School (TCMS) boys track team tied the West Fairmont Middle School boys for an overall first place team finish with 127 points at their home opener on Wednesday afternoon. 

Along with West Fairmont, Taylor County also played host to Robert L. Bland Middle, Central Preston and Washington Irving Middle Schools. 

For the Knights, veteran runners Jaxson Hall and Colson Annon each recorded three first place finishes. 

Hall’s explosive speed put him ahead of the competition in the 100-meter dash, taking first by a long shot with a time of 12.28. During the 200 meter, he would again pull away from his opponents and cross the finish line in a time of 25.33 to secure the first place spot. 

 His third top finish came off the track during the boys high jump event, where his first-place jump of 5-02.00 scored his team some valuable points. 

Meanwhile, Annon’s finishes were tests of not only speed, but endurance as well, topping out in distant events including the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter runs. 

Coming in first in the 800 by nearly ten seconds, Annon’s ability to pace himself, balancing speed and endurance also led him to a dominating win in the 1600, as he finished first with a time of 5:19.05, nearly 11 seconds better than West Fairmont’s Josiah Brannen, who took second. 

And being able to outlast his challengers, Annon also reigned over the 3200 with a first-place time of 12:05.51.

Adding to Annon and Hall’s first place winnings, Johnathan Maier also contributed a couple of top spots, with an exciting close finish in the boys 400-meter run. Maier also placed first in the challenging 200-meter hurdle event, finishing at a lightning speed time of 32.03. 

 In addition, Maier finished just behind fellow Knight Hall in the boys high jump, coming in second.

Tyler Clemm was a standout for Taylor County in the boys long jump event. His jump of 14-08.50 earned first place. Second place was awarded to Washington Irving’s James McMillion, with a jump of 13-04.50. 

Clemm also scored points for his team with a third-place finish in the 400-meter run, with a time of 1:04.62. 

Coming together for a relay event, Clemm, Maier and Hall, with the addition of teammate Cole Runner also took a first-place finish in the 4x100 meter relay with a finishing time of 52.76. 

In a true team win, Kaige Andrews (3rd, 63-03) and Cameron Poling (5th, 62-10) also added points for the team in the boys discus throw. 

The Lady Knights track team also held their own during the meet, facing tough competition, and gaining the edge for a second-place overall team finish, beating out Robert L. Bland by just half a point. 

With five first place finishes, three second place finishes and seven others within the top five, the ladies of TCMS put on a solid performance and finished with 102 points, while West Fairmont led the meet for the girls with 128. 

Key finishes for the Lady Knights came from an impressive performance in the 3200-meter run by eighth grader Sophia Austin. 

Finishing nearly a full minute ahead of second place, Austin focused on pace and breathing, to push herself to way ahead of the competition for first place with a time of 14:32.01. 

Showing skill in timing and stride, Lady Knight Carly Vandergrift earned top points in the girls 100-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in a time of 18.46. 

Vandergrift would also go on to participate in the 200-meter hurdles where she placed third. 

Out of the four field events the Lady Knights participated in, they yielded first place in three. 

Rielee McGuffey landed ahead of West Fairmont’s Keighley Dodd, recording a first-place jump of 11-04.50 in the girls long jump. 

Scoring 20 points for her team, TCMS’s Reese Lambert was also an essential part of the team’s finish, as she came out on top of the shot put and discus throw events.

Adding another respectable finish to the Lady Knight’s final total, was experienced runner Natalee Cartwright. 

Cartwright matched up against 10 other runners in the 800-meter run and finished in second with a time of 2:58.34

The Lady Knights also earned two second place finishes during relay track events. 

The 4x800 team of Austin, Leah Knotts, Bailey Weaver and Cartwright finished more than a minute faster than Robert L. Bland’s team with a time of 12:41.63, while the shuttle hurdle team of Lucky Jones, Maddie Lynch, McGuffey and Vandergrift also came in second with a time of 49.54. 

At the conclusion of the meet, TCMS finished just behind West Fairmont, with a combined team total of 229, a very solid early season performance at home. 

The TCMS track teams will be back in action today, as they travel to Doddridge County. 

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