CHARLESTON – With a still growing track and field program, Jason Ward was certainly happy with the eight points his Ripley Vikings put on the board over the weekend at the 99th Annual West Virginia Boys State Track and Field Meet inside UC Stadium.
Those points were produced both on the track and in the field.
Freshman Zane Griffith was responsible for half of Ripley's eight, thanks to a fourth place finish in the pole vault. Griffith's best height was 12-0. Among the top seven in Class AAA (the top six score in events, but due to a three-way tie for fifth in Saturday's AAA pole vault competition there were seven who were awarded points), four, including Griffith, are underclassmen.
"He's right on the verge of being up there (in championship contention)," Ward said of his young pole vaulter.
Ninth grader Tristan Slater of Capital won the pole vault going up and over at 14-06.
"I think you are going to see those two (Griffith and Slater) slugging it out the next few years," Ward said.
Senior leader Ryan Gregory scored in two events for the Vikings to earn three points. He was fifth in the long jump with a leap of 20-03.75. It marked the second straight year Ripley has taken fifth in that event. Jesus Sanz did it a year ago.
Besides the long jump, Gregory scored in the 300 hurdles with a sixth place finish in a time of 40.73. Gregory also earned a place in Saturday's 110 high hurdle finals and came in eighth with a time of 15.94. Gregory nailed down the eighth and final spot for the finals during Friday evening's time trials with a 16.04 clocking.
"He had a great season and a nice meet. I mean you look at the hurdlers and they are these big 6-3 type athletes and here's Ryan, maybe 5-9 on a good day," Ward said.
Ripley's other point was scored by sophomore Antonio Jones who took sixth in the 800 meters with a school record time of 1:58.42. The five runners ahead of him and the two who finished behind him were all seniors.
Also competing individually for Ripley at the State Meet were senior Chad Longanacre in the 800 meters (14th overall at 2:03.05) and sophomore Eldrick Millares in the pole vault (no height).
Ripley also had two relay teams running at the State Meet. Friday evening the 4x800 wasn't too far away from scoring, placing ninth. Longanacre, junior Jake Casto, freshman Levi Phillips and Jones turned in a time of 8:25.63.
Ripley's 4x400 team was 16th in a time of 3:41.80. Junior Colton Holmes, freshman Skye Stover, junior David Baker and Jones made up that foursome.
The Lady Vikings didn't score in the Class AAA girls division. Molli Cunningham came the closest by finishing ninth in the 300 hurdles (49.07) on Saturday.
Page 2 of 2 - Cunningham, a junior, came back strong Saturday after breaking her wrist Friday night for a second time this season on Friday night in the 100 hurdle time trials. The injury prevented her from running later that evening in the shuttle hurdles before she returned on Saturday for both the 300 and 4x200 relay.
"We thought she might have scored in the 100 hurdles, but she gets hurt right off the bat," Ward said. "She came back like a trooper on Saturday and that's a credit to her."
Ripley's 4x200 team was 10th overall in a time of 1:50.34. Cunningham was joined by sophomore Holly Farkosh, freshman Audra Thomas and freshman Caylee Painter.
The shuttle team was 13th overall with a 1:11.87 clocking. Farkosh, sophomore Madison Sanders, junior Erica Gibson and freshman Amanda Longanacre (who replaced Cunningham) made up the unit.
Also competing individually for Ripley were Farkosh (100 hurdles), Thomas (200 meters) and freshman Maddi Randolph (pole vault).
"I'm really proud of the kids," Ward said.