CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It was a historic weekend for Point Pleasant track and field … all the way around.
Streaks both continued and ended, including state titles, following the conclusion of the 2017 WVSSAC Class AA championships held Saturday at Laidley Field on the campus of the University of Charleston.
PPHS had a total of 22 athletes — 13 girls and nine boys — competing in 21 combined events over the two-day event, but only the Lady Knights managed to come away with any points as the Black Knights did not have a top-six effort in any of their nine events.
The Point Pleasant girls, however, came away with two state titles and a fifth-place finish with 26.5 points. It was the Lady Knights’ highest point tally since the 2012 campaign (31) and it was also the first time since 2008 that the girls came away with an individual state champion.
The Lady Knights also scored at least one point at the state tournament for a 14th consecutive year, dating back to a scoreless 2003 state meet. The fifth place finish on Saturday was also the highest team placement at a state tournament since the current scoring streak started in 2004.
Senior Aislyn Hayman gave the PPHS program a state champion for the fifth time in six years, as well as a second straight year, after winning both the shot put (40-11.5) and discus (133-0) finals on Friday.
Hayman snapped a nine-year drought for the Lady Knights, who hadn’t had a state champion since the duo of Alea Hipes and Mallory Nowlin each won gold in 2008. Hayman also became the first female dual-champion in Point Pleasant history.
Hayman accounted for 20 of the Lady Knights’ team points, while freshman Sami Saunders came up with the other 6.5 points.
Saunders joined Winfield’s Avory Albert in a third place tie in the pole vault (9-0) final, then tied Hayley Willey of Robert C. Byrd for fifth in the high jump final (5-0).
Senior Morgan Roush — despite a personal-best effort — just missed the podium in the discus event after finishing seventh overall with a heave of 102 feet, 8 inches.
The 4x100m relay squad of Ashley Staats, Madison Hatfield, Sydnee Moore and Teagan Hay placed eighth with a time of 53.17 seconds, while Staats, Hatfield, Moore and Allison Henderson put together a 10th-place effort of 1:54.16 in the 4x200m relay.
The quartet of Henderson, Morgan Miller, Lexi Watkins-Lovejoy and Cierra Beatty ended up 10th in the 4x800m relay with a mark of 10:48.44, while Moore, Hatfield, Henderson and Miller placed 12th in the 4x400m relay with a time of 4:26.70.
Hatfield finished 11th in the 400m dash with a final mark of 1:02.93, while Grace Allensworth was 13th in the shot put with a heave of 29 feet, 9.5 inches. Ariat Rollins also participated in the pole vault final, but the sophomore did not clear a qualifying height.
Of the dozen state events that the Lady Knights competed in, seven of those ended up having better times or distances than the qualifying marks from the Class AA Region 4 tournament a week before.
Only two of the 13 Lady Knights that qualified for state are seniors. Both Hayman and Roush, however, a four-year state qualifiers and have 12 state tournament appearances between them.
The Winfield girls — who won half of their eight state titles in relay events — came away with the Class AA title after scoring 148 points, finishing just ahead of runner-up Bridgeport (137). A total of 25 girls teams scored at least one point in the Class AA meet.
BHS won six Class AA girls titles and Point also had its pair of wins, while Berkeley Springs and Roane County also came away a state title apiece.
Bridgeport senior McKenna Smith came away with the high-point scorer award in Class AA after tallying a perfect 40 points following victories in the 300m hurdles, as well as the 100m, 200m and 400m dashes.
On the boys side of the Class AA tournament, the Black Knights had a 14-year scoring streak snapped — dating back to a scoreless 2002 state tournament at the triple-A level.
Despite that misfortune, the Red and Black still had better times or distances in five of their nine events this past weekend — in comparison to their Region 4 qualifying efforts.
Sophomore Luke Wilson just missed top-six finishes in two events after finishing seventh in the 3200m (10:11.92) and eighth in the 1600m (4:39.82) finals.
Freshman Steven Trent also just missed the mark after placing seventh in the pole vault with a cleared height of 10 feet, 6 inches. Trent tied the sixth place finisher, but dropped to seventh based on tiebreakers.
The quartet of Justin Brumfield, Cason Payne, Justin Staats and Keshawn Stover placed 10th in the 4x100m relay with a time of 45.66 seconds, while Payne, Trent, Stover and Jared Icenhower were 15th in the 4x400m relay with a mark of 3:49.59.
Icenhower, Wyatt Dean, Brady Adkins and Peyton Hughes also finished 16th in the 4x800m relay with a mark of 9:59.65.
Jesse Gleason was 11th in the shot put (42-3.25) and did not have a qualifying throw in the discus final. Eddie Mayes was also 13th in the shot put with a heave of 39 feet, 6 inches.
All nine of Point Pleasant’s state qualifiers on the boys side are underclassmen.
The Winfield boys won the Class AA title with 77 points, while Bridgeport was the runner-up with 59 points. A total of 26 teams scored at least one points in the Class AA meet.
Winfield, Weir, Keyser, Berkeley Springs, Bluefield, East Fairmont and Poca all came away with two individual state titles apiece, while Clay County, Grafton, Nitro and Roane County each won one individual championship.
Winfield sophomore Aaron Withrow was the top-point scorer in the Class AA boys tournament with 27.5 points. Withrow won the 1600m and 3200m runs, placed third in the 800m run, and was also part of the third place 4x800m relay team for the Generals.
Complete results of the 2017 WVSSAC track and field championships are available on the web at runwv.com
NOTE: Aislyn Hayman’s state championships will be featured in a separate story that will be available in the Wednesday sports edition of the Point Pleasant Register.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.