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Will youth be served at Region II track and field meet?

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Jun 4, 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN — If a coach is young and filled with ideas and energy in equal doses, he might prefer to surround himself with tender-aged athletes whose enthusiasm and work-all-day attitudes mirror his personality.

If the track and field coach is a little long in the tooth and has heard his share of starter’s pistols send off sprinters, he could prefer generous experience and trustworthy athletes who give him the same sort of effort and result every time they perform.

When this area’s Class AAA, Region 2 track and field meet is staged this afternoon at Spring Mills High School, the chances of team success for Jefferson High School will rest on the mostly untried legs, arms and baton exchanges of a significant list of sophomores and freshmen.

The Jefferson boys will likely be extended and pushed by Musselman and/or Hampshire. The girls will have to outpoint Spring Mills and possibly either Hedgesville or Martinsburg,

The Cougars have a useful lineup of youth — youth that need to be served if the Cougars are to be as successful as they want to be.

Sprints, weights and even some relays have a noticeable list of fresh-faced youngsters on the Cougars’ side.

Keyshawn Robinson (freshman) and Isaiah Fritts (sophomore) are in the 100. And Caleb Shelton (freshman) and Justin Gottlieb (sophomore) have prominent roles in the 200 and 400. In the discus and shot put, it’s Jullian Matthews heaving the weight and trying for valuable points.

Older classmen are still around to boost Jefferson’s chances in the sprints — Chris Pappas — with distance runners Kyle de Nobel (800), Harris Kester (1600), and Cameron Jennings (3200) on hand to possibly fend off the Region’s six teams.

Hurdlers Chase Brown and Christian Blowe have been crucial point grabbers in earlier meets. Sprinter Justin deMoulin has joined with Shelton, Fritts, Robinson, Chase Brown and de Nobel to give the Cougars deserved optimism in the shortest of the relays. With Kester, de Nobel, Jennings and Caleb Wister, the 4×800 relay could also fall Jefferson’s way.

Matthews has been consistent all spring in both the shot put and discus. Jah’Lonnie Hollis could get points in the discus.

The long jump (Chris Pappas), high jump (Chase Brown) and shuttle hurdles (Brown, Blowe, Jared Wilberger and Michael Swartz) could yield points to the title-chasing Cougars.

Jefferson’s girls roster comes after a Regional championship with even more youth than the boys have on their team.

Freshmen Arayia Maiben (100, sprint relays), Jade Matthews (200, 400), Jayla Kidrick (400), Emily Cisar (3200), Hailey Dillow (200, 4×200 relay) and Hannah Royster (300 hurdles, shuttles) have never seen the fire of competition in a Regional meet.

A very long list of sophomores has been at the forefront of those doing well in earlier meets.

Lorelei Bangit (200, 400, 800), Briauna Goins (110 hurdles, high jump), Helena Radford (shot put), Jasmin Matthews (discus), Hope Gestl (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, shuttle hurdles), TAsya Jay (300 hurdles, shuttles), Myah Powell-Utley (100), Layla Parker (1600, 4×800 relay) and Hannah Shanley (shot put, discus) are all sophomores.

There are enough upperclassmen to show the younger group how to be successful. Sprinters Trinity Blue and Jordan Carr are also important legs on relay teams. Addie LaBombard (800, 4×800 relay) and Faith Hopson (4×800 relay) provide leadership and know the disappointment of not having a 2020 track and field season.

Youth is seemingly everywhere you look on the girl’s team. Will it be present on the scoreboard, scoring more points than Spring Mills, Hedgesville, Hampshire, Martinsburg, Musselman and Washington?