Viking boys score 29

CHARLESTON – It was a weekend for the track and field history books at Ripley High School.

Starting with a runner-up finish by the Lady Viking girls team in Class AAA division of the 43rd annual West Virginia State Meet inside University of Charleston Stadium.

Morgantown nipped the Lady Vikings, 82-80, in the team title chase.

The 80 points compiled over the two-day State Meet for Ripley all came in the first place variety. (Team points at the State Meet are 10 for first, 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth, 2 for fifth and 1 for sixth).

Ripley won eight event state championships on its way to claiming the Class AAA runner-up trophy (marking the highest finish ever by a Ripley High track and field team, boys or girls).

The historic weekend started on Friday night as senior Laurel Miller, who was closing out a phenomenal career, won the high jump by clearing 5-08.

Later in the evening, freshman Tori Starcher started her amazing two-day State Meet by winning the 3200 meters in a time of 10:39.04.

On Saturday morning Starcher picked up where she left off Friday night by taking the 1600 meters with a time of 4:53.91 (just a couple of seconds shy of the state record set by Millie Paladino of University in 2014).

The afternoon session started with Allison Fields, another outstanding freshman, winning the 100 meters. Fields qualified with the best time on Friday night with a top time of 12.57.

She bested that time in the final at 12.45.

The next win for Ripley came in the 4x200 meter relay. Senior Courtney Lanham, freshman Sydni Cunningham, Miller and Fields combined for a winning time of 1:44.79.

Starcher stepped onto the sun-splashed track one event later in search of her third individual win of the State Meet. She earned it in convincing fashion with a time of 2:12.94.

Next came the 200 meters and a second individual state title for Fields, who blazed to a winning time of 25.68.

That set the stage for the team championship to be decided in the meet’s final event – the 4x400 relay. Morgantown owned a 74-70 edge through 17 events at the State Meet.

Ripley did its part by taking first with Fields, senior Haley Carson, Miller and Starcher teaming up. Not only did they get the win but their time of 4:01.82 broke a record (4:02.07 set by Buckhannon-Upshur) that had stood since 1990.

A strong anchor leg run by Morgantown’s Amber Dombrowski pulled Morgantown up to second and those eight team points kept them in front of the Lady Vikings.

Next behind Ripley was GW with 50. Cabell Midland had 34 and Wheeling Park 28.

Starcher was second in the individual High Point standings with 32.5. Fields was third with 25. GW’s Malika Houston, a senior who will run at Georgetown University, took the High Point Trophy with 36. She won the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump and placed third in the 200.

In the boys division, Ripley scored 29 points to place seventh overall.

Along the way, not one, but two state titles were chalked up by the Vikings.

And one of those state championships provided some history for Viking boys track and field.

On Friday evening, Ripley’s outstanding shuttle hurdle relay team of Sam Pierson, Steven Carte, Garrett Robertson and Ridge Dalrymple took the title in a time of 56.39. It proved to be the first time ever Ripley High’s boys program had a relay team finish first at the State Meet.

Dalrymple then finished off the morning session running action by winning the 300 hurdles in a time of 39.37.

He came back in the afternoon session and battled Adam Brown of Hedgesville to the finish. Brown got the win in a time of 14.63. Dalrymple, who is bound for West Virginia Wesleyan to continue competing on the track, was clocked at 14.76.

Later in the afternoon Ripley’s 4x200 team placed sixth with a time of 1:31.33. Robertson, Pierson, Carte and Dalrymple made up that unit.

Dalrymple’s 20.75 points placed him third in the High Point Trophy chase.

Hedgesville won Class AAA boys with 122 points. Beckley Woodrow Wilson was second with 84.