Clarke girls tie for 1st at Bull Run track and field meet

Posted: May 16, 2013

Special to The Winchester Star

STRASBURG — It’s safe to say that the Clarke County girls’ track and field team has found the right combination for the 4x400-meter relay.

By adding soccer defender Allison Crandall as the third leg at Wednesday’s Bull Run District championships, the Eagles found someone that could use her burst of speed to make a difference.

Taking the baton from fellow senior Amanda Spain, Crandall put the Eagles into the lead before handing off to junior anchor Channing Alsberry, who finished off the win for the group in four minutes and 18 seconds to allow Clarke County to gain a share of the district title with Manassas Park.

Both the Eagles and Cougars finished the meet with 126 points, but winning in the final event proved very gratifying for Clarke County, which was a No. 4 seed coming into the 4x400. Manassas Park had been No. 1, but the Cougars could not match the excellent performance turned in by the Eagles, who had freshman Rebecca Breeden as a leadoff leg.

Crandall, who will play three soccer games this week, including tonight’s Bull Run playoff against George Mason, has enjoyed her first year in track and said she could not be any happier how things turned out in such a crucial event.

“I just don’t know where it came from,” Crandall said of her decisive leg in the 4x400. “I don’t know what I did. I was just like ‘catch her, catch her.’ I know you’re not supposed to pass on the curb to the corner, but I just kept my spot to the end. I just took off.

“I knew once I hand off to [Alsberry], we were good because Channing is such an amazing runner.”

The Eagles were solid everywhere all day long. Clarke County got points from 12 performers and scored in 11 of 15 events. The Eagles scored 77 points alone in the field events to get off to a great start, then Clarke County put it all together in key events on the track to earn its share of the district title.

“Usually every meet we do very well in our field events,” Clarke County coach Andre Kidrick said. “We come out strong, and I told them ‘We have to finish our running events.’ And today, they did. The girls stepped up and did a heck of a job.”

The tone was set early when senior Delia Condon won the high jump (5-0) and tied for second in the long jump (15-8). She also placed second in the 100 hurdles (17.43) to end up with a team-high 25 points.

The Eagles also got the expected high marks from their throwers, with junior Michelle Yates (33-11/2) winning the shot put and senior Ammie Levi taking second in the discus (114-10) to go with her sixth in the shot. Clarke County scored 20 points in the triple jump, getting a second from senior Miles Crosby (34-11) and a third from senior Natalie Flagg (33-8).

Then there was Alsberry. After finishing second in the 400 (1:01.68), Alsberry picked up a crucial win for the Eagles in the 200. The top seed, Alsberry, with Manassas Park runners on either side of her as she came out of the blocks, shot down the straightaway and won in a season-best 26.33.

“When Channing is focused, Channing is a huge part [of the team], all the way around,” Kidrick said. “It was just a very good race against a good and deep Manassas Park team.”

Alsberry was excited about how her day played out.

“I thought I was going to die in the end [of the 200], but then I thought ‘I’ve got to keep going,’” Alsberry said. “I wanted first. I thought ‘Do it for Mommy.’

“[Tying for the team championship] just shows how hard our girls work. Our guys do too. Our girls team really wanted it bad.”

The Eagles placed just sixth in the boys, but it certainly was anything but a down day for senior Zach Campbell.

In his final district meet, Campbell defeated old rival Anthony Wallis of Strasburg in the 1,600 before overtaking George Mason’s Preston Custer to win the 800 in 1:58.75 to win by eight seconds. It was the first time Campbell has taken two first places in the district meet.

“He went out and set a good pace and I just tried to stay right behind him,” Campbell said. “It’s just a really good feeling to win. I was just hoping to run well, and I did.”

The Eagles also got a pair of top-three finishes from junior Colton Chrane, who placed second in the high jump (5-8) and third in the triple jump (39-0).

Central scored 100 points to win the boys meet, topping runner-up Manassas Park by 21.