A year ago, Clarke County's Madison Webster proved she was the best in Class 2 in the 800 meters.

A year later, Webster proved she's still the best.

The senior defended her title in the 800 and placed third in the 1,600 to pace the Eagles girls' in the Class 2 meet at East Rockingham High School in Elkton on Saturday.

Ellis Nei shattered a personal best in placing second in the 110 hurdles to lead the Eagles' boys on Saturday, in the meet which was condensed into a one-day affair after Friday's events were postponed by inclement weather.

Webster helped the Eagles tie for seventh among 35 scoring teams with 32 points. Maggie Walker captured the team title with 97.5. 

Nei helped the Clarke County boys' take 10th among 38 scoring teams with 23 points. Maggie Walker won the title with 84.

Webster, who ran the 1,600 prior to her signature event, was pleased to have defended her title in the 800 for more than one reason.

"I thought it was a great end to the season," she said in a telephone interview on Sunday. "I couldn't have asked for a better day. I guess it's really cool because my mom (Tracy) is also an 800 champion in Virginia for two years — her junior and senior years. It was really special to be able to share that with her.

"I'm really proud of how all my teammates did and how all of the relay teams did. We've worked really hard throughout the season. It was just a great way to end it all."

In the 800, Webster held the lead down the stretch as Buffalo Gap's Annika Fisher tried to close. Webster held on in winning in 2:22.25, about a second faster than Fisher (2:23.23).

"I usually try to start my kick a little before the 200 mark," Webster said. "Usually if someone is close in that period of the race, I try to start my kick."

While the time wasn't her fastest, Webster was happy with the result.

"I thought it went very well and I was happy with how my teammates and I did in the 800," she said. "I guess was a little tired from the [1,600]. I think my objective was to not worry about time so much, but just to place."

Teammate Skylar Bragg didn't have as easy a trek as Webster, but fought to finish fourth in 2:27.16.

"Both of them ran awesome races," Clarke County coach Andre Kidrick said. "Madison put herself out in front to get that position. But if you got to watch the race, you got to see the athlete that Skylar Bragg is. She fought for her position. [A] Maggie Walker [runner] tried to box her in and she fought out of it. They tried to do it again and she continued to fight and put herself into position where she couldn't be boxed in.

"I love Madison's dominance and I love Skylar's aggressiveness. They are two awesome runners who will be sorely missed by our team."

There certainly was no shame in Webster's third-place finish in the 1,600 considering the top two finishers obliterated the previous meet record. Virginia High's Kelsey Harrington (4:57.78) and Maggie Walker's Mary Caroline Heinen (4:58.20) shattered the previous mark of 5:06.30. Webster was third in 5:15.31.

"I wasn't so much worried about place for that race," Webster said. "I just wanted to try my best time-wise and shoot for third place or whatever I could do."

Webster and senior Skylar Bragg were also members of the Eagles' 4x400 relay team that placed third. They were joined by seniors Keagan Bragg and Heather See to run 4:17.27, nearly two seconds faster than their seeded time. George Mason won with a 4:12.07.

Webster said the afternoon was a great way to cap a high school career. She is headed to Queens University of Charlotte (N.C.), to compete in college.

"This has been one of my favorite years to be on the team," Webster said. "I've been pretty successful this year in terms of my best times. I got the school record in the 800, the 1,600 and the 3,200. It was special to end my career with those times, but also a great day at the state meet. I really feel like it was a perfect end."

The Eagles also received an all-state performance from Sara Murray in the discus. The sophomore had a toss of 114 feet, 8 inches to place fourth. Giles' Jocelyn Midkiff won, breaking the meet record with a 145-11 throw.

"Her finish is not bad at all, especially for a sophomore," Kidrick said of Murray's placing. She has the ability to throw farther. We've just got to continue to work. ... I think next year she's going to have a much better year and she had an awesome year this year."

Nei, a sophomore, shattered his previous best in his runner-up finish with a time of 15.54. He entered the event with a seeded time of 16.10. Wise Central's Maddox Reynolds won with a 14.93.

"He had a good week of practice," Kidrick said of Nei. "He false-started at regionals where he was the top seed, so he was real nervous about that because it was the same starter and he didn't want to try to get out too quick. He did an excellent job and fought through the hurdles. A couple of kids stumbled by him, but it didn't distract him from doing what he had to do. ... He leaned there at the end to get that second place."

Connor Hanson also turned in an All-State performance in the boys' 800. The senior ran 2:05.60 to take third, just finishing behind runner-up Rafe Shumate (2:05.20) of Wilson Memorial. Maggie Walker's Michael Schweiker won easily with a time of 2:00.7.

"Connor just did a great job, stepping up and getting in," Kidrick said. "He fought hard. He did an excellent job."

Clarke County also earned team points in all three relays, with Nei and Hanson playing a part.

The Eagles' top finish was a third in the 4x800. Seniors Nick Dawson, Kyle Erickson, Zach Dawson and Hanson ran a sizzling 8:32.43, nearly 11 seconds faster than their seeded time. Maggie Walker won in 8:25.19.

The Eagles were seventh in the 4x100 relay. Seniors Peter Terzian and Eric Evans, along with junior Peyton Rutherford and Nei, ran 45.18. Luray won in 43.45.

Clarke County placed eighth in the 4x400. The all-senior quartet of Erickson, Hanson, Carter Morgan and Terzian ran 3:37.38. Bruton won in 3:27.86.

"They've worked real hard," Kidrick said of the boys' relay teams. "That 4x800 has the school record and they weren't far from it. All of the relay teams improved their times. ... All of them did excellent."

Kidrick said he was proud of Saturday's finishes by both of his teams, but unfortunately, that was the last meet for many of his athletes.

"It was a great group," he said. "We had 27 seniors, a lot of them multiple letter-winners for three or four years. It's going to be very hard to replace those guys. Those guys were our leaders on the team. They stepped up when needed. 

"They did an awesome job. Leadership was good. They were good athletes, the kind of athletes you want on your team. We've just got to find a way to replace those guys and it's going to be very hard. ... I'm excited to see what we get next year and to see how they develop and grow."

For complete results, go to milestat.com.

— Contact Walt Moody at


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