CHARLESTON – Thanks to some solid performances in the Class AAA Region 3 competition last Wednesday at UC Stadium in Charleston, several Ripley Vikings and Lady Vikings will be returning to that same venue this Friday and Saturday for the annual West Virginia State High School Track and Field Meet.

"We're taking a lot of kids down there," said Coach Jason Ward. "We're getting a lot of kids out and it (track and field) has become a legitimate sport at Ripley. It's pretty neat."

The Ripley boys team earned the runner-up trophy for the regional with 94 points to follow team champ Greenbrier East, which finished with 145.

Senior Ryan Gregory had a memorable day for the Vikings with three first place finishes. Gregory won both the 110 high hurdles and 300 hurdles while also capturing the long jump. Gregory posted a winning time of 16.62 in the 110 event and 41.05 in the 300. He had a leap of 20-03 in the long jump.

Besides Gregory, Antonio Jones was first in the 800 meters with a time of 2:03.99.

Zane Griffith was second in the pole vault (12-0) along with the 4x800 meter relay team (8:30.52) of Chad Longanacre, Jake Casto, Levi Phillips and Jones. Ripley's 4x400 squad (3:38.45) of Colton Holmes, Skye Stover, David Baker and Jones placed third. Longanacre also brought home third in the open 800 meters (2:05.11).

Those individuals and relay teams finishing third will move on RO the State Meet. Eldrick Millares is also heading to the State Meet thanks to his height of 9-0 in the pole vault, which earned him fourth place. (The top three finishers in running events, relays, shot put, discus and long jump from the four regions advance to the State Meet. The 13th through 16th positions are determined by the next four fastest times and distances from regional results. Meanwhile, each regional qualifies the top four in the high jump and pole vault, plus any additional athletes who meet or better the qualifying standard for the State Meet.)

Also finishing fourth for the Vikings were Baker in the 100 meters (11.75) and D.J. Cummings in the discus (116-09).
Ripley got fifth place finishes from Jake Casto in the 1600 (4:43.97), Caleb Casto in the 3200 (10:18.19), Sammy Shaver in the 110 hurdles (17.30), Shane Johnson in the pole vault (9-0) and the 4x100 unit (46.41) of Colton Holmes, Paul Lively, Quaseem Fields and Baker. Placing sixth were Holmes in the 400 (54.40), Phillips in the 3200 (11:00.59), Shaver in the 300 hurdles (42.55) and the 4x200 squad (1:37.10) of Shaver, Jones, Fields and Baker. One downer to the evening was the disqualification of the Viking shuttle hurdle relay team. Ripley easily won the event and in the process set a new school record, breaking a mark that has stood since 1970. But it wasn't meant to be.

"The kids were so excited about what they had done and then I had to go break the news," said a disappointed Ward. "I hate it."

Ward feels the foursome of Gregory, Shaver, Longanacre and Tyler Jones, all seniors, would have had a shot at placing in the top six at the State Meet.

In the girls division, Maddi Randolph won the pole vault by going up and over at 8-06.

Placing second for Ripley were Audra Thomas in the 200 meters (28.01), Molli Cunningham in the 100 hurdles (16.40), the shuttle hurdle relay team (1:09.27) of Holly Farkosh, Cunningham, Erica Gibson and Madison Sayre and the 4x200 squad (1:51.00) of Farkosh, Cunningham, Thomas and Caylee Painter. Finishing third were Cunningham in the 300 hurdles (49.41), Farkosh in the 100 hurdles (17.41) and Gibson in the pole vault (7-06).

The lone fourth place finish was turned in by the 4x100 relay squad (54.66) of Amanda Longanacre, Caressa Robinson, Thomas and Painter. Coming in fifth were Painter in the 100 meters (13.77), Julia Scruggs in the discus (80-11) and the 4x400 relay (4:49.26) featuring Longanacre, Taylor Dale, Sayre and Emily Oldham. Sixth place finishers were Kelsey Holmes in the 3200 (14:55.13) and the 4x800 team (12:48.08) of Dale, Holmes, Kelsey Frampton and Morgan Pierson.