By this point last year, the Fauquier track team had competed in three invitational meets. But because of scheduling quirks and a washed out Saturday last week, the Falcons -- and every other area school -- have yet to compete in a meet this season.
For a team such as Fauquier, which won a boys' state title and finished second among girls' teams last year, waiting to compete can be frustrating.
Fauquier's Sarah Bowman, a nationally ranked middle-distance runner, also is a high jumper. But neither she nor her teammates have had a chance to show off their skills lately.
(2004 Photo Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post)
"You've got to kind of hold [on] to the reins," Coach Quentin Jones said. "It can get a little frustrating. But we talk a lot in practice about focus. You've got to stay focused, no matter what the circumstances, and not get too crazy."
All meets last Saturday involving area teams were cancelled because of rain and lightning. The lost day of competition is even more significant because the district championships are just five weeks away.
When the Falcons' girls team finally does compete, it looks to have a good shot at capturing the state title that eluded it last year. Leading the way is senior Sarah Bowman, the nationally ranked middle-distance runner who also has high-jumped 5 feet 5 inches. Bowman was scheduled to make her first outdoor appearance of the year yesterday at the Taco Bell Classic in Columbia, S.C., where she was slated to run the 800 meters.
Also expected to provide important points for the Falcons are seniors Jess Butler, a jumper and hurdler, long sprinter Renee Lott and sophomore sprinter Dania Moore.
Sprinter and jumper Brandon Edwards is the top returner for the boys' team, which lost several standout seniors.
"We're working to get back to there," Jones said of winning the state finals. "You try to get a little bit better every single day. All of the coaching staff is focusing on getting each individual, to get them a little bit better."
In his first meet last year, Potomac Falls senior Brandon Jackson did not break 20 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles. In the Panthers' first meet on Wednesday, Jackson had a mark that was better than the state-qualifying time.
That standout performance, in a dual meet against Loudoun Valley in Sterling, may be a sign of good things in store. A year ago, Jackson's strong season was cut short at the Region II championships when he tripped over a hurdle and could not recover; he failed to finish in the top six and missed the state meet.
"He really stood out on Wednesday," Coach Brian Blubaugh said. "He was probably one of the top seven or eight hurdlers last year, but he hit the second hurdle, and he couldn't quite make a comeback. Those things happen. But he looks really good."