This is the first in a series of articles looking at some of the records and history of Ravenswood High School and Ripley High School sports.
Lady Viking Track and Field
COVID-19 wiped out the West Virginia high school track and field season, leaving us all to wonder what might have been – especially for the Ripley High School girls program, which was going to be gunning for a third consecutive Class AAA state championship this spring with two of the all-time greats in Allison Fields and Tori Starcher leading the way.
We will never know.
But what we do know is those two along with several other past standouts own school records among the 18 events for high school track and field.
Here’s a trip down memory lane for both the girls and boys programs at Ripley High:
In the spring of 1981, Phyllis Chancey made Ripley High School sports history by becoming the first female to garner the prestigious Athlete of the Year award.
Other females would follow.
These days, there is an award for both a female and a male at Ripley High.
While Chancey was best known during her athletic days as a standout basketball player, she also performed well throwing the shot put in the spring for the track and field team.
Chancey remains the record holder in that event with a throw of 34-feet.
To date, it is the longest mark in the program’s history when it comes to school records.
Exactly 10 years later, Renae Salmons recorded a throw of 109-8 in the discus – which marks the second oldest girls track and field record at Ripley High.
Aside from three marks set by the great Amaris Easter in the late ‘90s, the rest have come after the year 2000.
Easter set the record in the 400 meters during the season of 1996. Not only did she establish a new mark at 56.50 but also claimed a Class AAA state title.
In 1997, Easter, who would run at the collegiate level for Rice University, set marks in both the 100 meters and 200 meters. She was clocked at 12.07 in the 100 and 25.1 in the 200.
Logan Anderson’s long jump mark of 17-feet grew to be 15 years old this spring. Anderson nailed her record-setting leap into the sand back in the spring of 2005.
In 2007 Parker Winters, who would go on to compete at Morehead State, Brandy Gandee, Sarah Slone and Chelsea Knotts, who ran for the University of Tennessee, teamed up for the school record in the 4x800 meter relay with a time of 9:58.33.
The season of 2016 was a year to see some records fall.
Audra Thomas set a new mark in the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.16. She was also a member of two record-setting relay teams.
The 4x100 unit, which also consisted of Laurel Miller, Olivia Miller and Caylee Painter, produced a time of 50.91 while the shuttle team had a time of 1:06.73. Thomas was joined on that squad by Jeri Patterson, Olivia Miller and Painter.
Laurel Miller, who has been a part of track and field programs at both the College of Charleston (South Carolina) and Virginia Tech, put her name at the top of the list in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-9.
Team-wise, the last three seasons have been glorious for Ripley High School girls track and field with a Class AAA state runner-up finish in 2017 followed by back-to-back state championships in 2018 and 2019.
Laurel Miller gained another school record in 2017 when she recorded a time of 15.34 in the 100 high hurdles.
Miller also ran a leg on the 4x200 team of 2017 that set a new mark with a time of 1:44.79. The unit, which also featured Courtney Lanham, Sydni Cunningham and Allison Fields, would be state champs during that runner-up season for the Lady Vikings.
Starcher, who is heading to Stanford to compete at the next level, leaves Ripley High with her name attached to four school records.
Starcher was a three-time individual state champion three consecutive years in the open 800, 1600 and 3200. She has school records in all three of those events. She set the 3200 mark in 2018 with a time of 10:29.87 while the 800 and 1600 records were recorded during her junior season of 2019 with times of 2:08.04 and 4:46.61, respectively.
Starcher, Fields, Kyanah Baldwin and Cassidy Miller set the record in the 4x400 last season with a time of 4:01.64.
Olivia Miller became the new school record holder in the pole vault last spring, clearing the bar at 11-0.
Viking Track and Field
Just like the girls program, Ripley High School’s two oldest boys track and field records are in a pair of field events.
Mike Scarberry, a rocket-arm quarterback for Viking football back in the day, continues to hang on to the discus mark.
In the spring of 1973, Scarberry launched the discus 142-feet, eight inches and it has stood the test of time ever since.
A few years later in 1978, Tim Merritt, an outstanding lineman on the late Frank Marino’s first Viking football team, finished fifth in the shot put at the State Meet, which Marshall University hosted that year.
Merritt left Ripley with a record heave of 52-1 and it still stands to this day.
Brett Hunt, a running standout in the ‘90s, is next in line when it comes to years hanging on to a record. In 1993, Hunt, who would later be inducted into Alderson-Broaddus University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, recorded a time of 9:43.00 in the 3200-meter run.
In 1994 Hunt also helped set the record in the 4x800 meter relay. He joined forces with Robert Keller, Mike Parsons and Matt Roberts for a time of 8:13.17 to set a new school mark.
Keller was the Class AAA 1600-meter state champion in 1994 and established the Ripley High record in that event with a time of 4:29.
The year of 1994 also saw a new record set in the 4x400 meter relay. Parsons, Nathan McKee, Mike Hatcher and Matt Upton made up the foursome which produced a time of 3:29.80.
Justin Southall, a great all-around three-sport athlete, set records in the 100 and 200 with times of 11.05 and 22.45, in 1999.
Southall was a two-time Class AAA state pole vault champion in 1999 and 2000 (he also left Ripley High with the record in that event before it was clipped). Southall moved on to the collegiate ranks with a full track and field scholarship at the University of Akron.
The year of 1999 also saw a new high jump mark established with Dennis Simmons going over the bar at a height of 6-4.
In 2001, Brock Stotts, now a local attorney, set the record in the long jump with a leap of 21-1 1/4.
Corey Waybright, who competed in college at West Virginia Wesleyan, remains the record holder in both the 400 and 800 at Ripley with times of 50.16 and 1:57.84, respectively. The 800 mark was set in 2005 and the 400 was established in 2006.
The season of 2017 was one in which five new records were set.
Hurdle standout Ridge Dalrymple, who competes these days at West Virginia Wesleyan, set marks in the 110 with a time of 14.74 and the 300 with a 39.37 clocking. Dalrymple was the 2017 AAA state champ in the 300 hurdles.
He was also part of the shuttle hurdle unit that teamed up for a new record time of 56.39. Dalrymple, Sam Pierson, Steven Carte and Garrett Robertson not only own the school record but put together a state championship run in the season of 2017.
Pierson and Carte were also members of the 4x4 and 4x2 relay teams to produce school records in 2017. They teamed up with Noah Kelly and Noah Carson on the 4x4 unit for a time of 44.22 and more importantly a state championship.
Dalrymple and Robertson were the other two members of the 4x2 squad. The record-setting time was 1:31.33.
The most recent record to be set came last spring in the pole vault when Evan King cleared the bar at 14-6.