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Virginia AAA Northern Region track and field championships

Price Leads South Lakes to Title

A.J. Price, who was third in the high jump, also scored in the long jump, 200, 400 and 4x400 relay. "There's no feeling better than this right now," he said.
A.J. Price, who was third in the high jump, also scored in the long jump, 200, 400 and 4x400 relay. "There's no feeling better than this right now," he said. (By Joel Richardson For The Washington Post)

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By Carl Little
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, May 24, 2008

The buzz was palpable to A.J. Price at school yesterday.

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In home room, just hours before the Virginia AAA Northern Region track and field championships, the public address announcer declared that the boys from South Lakes had a legitimate shot at winning the Reston school's first region title. Price received countless well wishes and pats on the back while walking through the hallways. His classmates, swollen with school spirit, vowed to come out and support the team as it pursued the historic victory.

So what did they say when Price told them the meet was going to be held at Lake Braddock High School in Burke, about 20 miles away?

"They said call us after and tell us how it went," Price said.

Despite easily discouraged classmates, Price still had a solid contingent of supporters in the stands who watched him score in five events -- the long jump, high jump, 200, 400 and 4x400 relay -- and lift the Seahawks to the team title.

"There's no feeling better than this right now," he said.

South Lakes edged Edison, 93.5-86. T.C. Williams, behind exciting wins by Brad Kenimer in the 1,600 and 3,200, finished third with 77 points.

Lake Braddock breezed to the girls' title, scoring 101 points to defeat Centreville (56.5 points) and Edison (53).

Price was the top seed entering the 400 and 200 meters, and he won both races comfortably. In the 400, he relaxed all the way around the track until just 100 meters remained, when he started his kick and powered to the finish in 48.87 seconds. He took the 200 in 22.02 seconds.

On Thursday, after practicing the event for just two weeks, Price won the long jump with a personal-best 23 feet 7 inches. He also finished third in the high jump and anchored South Lakes' 4x400 relay team that finished second.

Two meet records fell, and they both occurred on the girls' side. Westfield senior Tasia Potasinski won the 800 in 2:10.42, more than a full second faster than the old record set in 2000 by Hayfield graduate and current U.S. Olympic trials qualifier Nikeya Green. Potasinski also came from behind to anchor the Bulldogs' 4x400 relay team that won in 3minutes 59.30 seconds.

Tynita Butts won Thursday's long jump with 20-4.5. She also captured the high jump with 5-4.

But the day belonged to South Lakes, and Price was the catalyst. A two-year varsity football player who has signed to play for Penn State, Price started running track for the first time this outdoor season after teammates Nick and Adrian Vaughn persuaded him to try it. Last week, he helped the Seahawks to their first Liberty District title in 24 years.

"He's averaging 35 points a track meet," Nick Vaughn said. "He's our main guy. We didn't really have a strong guy in the field events besides Adrian, so that's pretty important."

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