No one from Potomac Falls qualified last year for the Group AAA outdoor track and field championships. The second-year high school will be well represented, though, at this week's state meet.
Three athletes -- senior Jonathan Farrell and juniors Ike Hamilton and Jeff Maynard -- qualified for the state meet with top-six individual finishes at Friday's Northern Region championships at Jefferson.
The top six individuals in each event and the top three teams earn automatic berths to the state championships Friday and Saturday at Norfolk State University. No Broad Run or Park View athletes qualified for the state meet from the region championships. Centreville won the boys team region title, and West Potomac was the girls champion.
Qualifying three athletes "means a lot since 90 percent of these schools double us in enrollment," Potomac Falls Head Coach Brian Blubaugh said. "It means a lot to our program that we can come into one of the best regions on the East Coast and compete."
Hamilton started Friday afternoon on a good note for the Sterling school, placing fourth in the shot put (50-8 1/2). He won the Concorde District title in the event with a put of 51-9.
The junior's put distance has improved eight feet from last year, in part thanks to extra instruction from Coach John Buelman.
"[Hamilton] is blessed with a lot of natural abilities and finally decided to use them this year," Blubaugh said. "He's working hard with his natural ability."
Maynard had secured a spot in the state meet before Friday, having run a qualifying time of 9 minutes 33.39 seconds in the 3,200 at the Concorde District meet. The junior did well enough to place second at regionals, finishing in 9:40.47 behind All-Met senior Jacob Frey of Oakton (9:28.01).
Farrell placed sixth in the 1,600 in 4:29.55. The senior, who will attend the University of Virginia in the fall, was extremely happy with his performance.
"[Finishing in the top six] was the second option," Ferrell said. "The first option was to run below 4:22. . . . The race was a little slow because of the heat."
Farrell ran the 1,600 in 4:24 at districts, finishing sixth. He said Blubaugh helped him believe he could qualify for states.
"Coach [Blubaugh] is able to get everything out of everybody," Farrell said. "He never lets us get beat before we step on the line. He always think we can win it."
REGION II: A number of area athletes qualified for Saturday's Group AA championships based on their finishes at Thursday's Region II meet at University of Virginia. The top six individual finishers and top three relay teams in each event will participate in the meet at James Madison University. Area qualifiers, with their event and region finish: Fauquier, girls: Catherine Vorrasi (100, fourth, 13.14; 200, second, 26.04); Chanda Benton (300 hurdles, sixth, 49.16). Fauquier, boys: Ian Lansdowne (110 hurdles, fifth, 16.22; 300 hurdles, fifth, 42.27). Liberty, girls -- Lakisha George (100, third, 12.93; 200, fifth, 26.54); Jenny Gray (400, second, 59.44); Danielle Tapscott (100 hurdles, first, 15.48); and 4x100 relay (second, 51.21). Liberty, boys -- Joe Washington (100, fifth, 11.39; 200, fourth, 22.93); 4x400 relay (third, 3:32.70). Loudoun County, girls: Megan Wiseman (100 hurdles, third, 16.11; 300 hurdles, first, 46.19); Ashley Franck (shot put, first, 36-08 3/4; discus, fifth, 106-03); 4x400 relay (third, 4:09.94). Loudoun County, boys: Jason Towery (1,600, fifth, 4:35.32); Brandon Jackson (300 hurdles, fourth, 41.94); Kevin Thomas (long jump, sixth, 20-09); Jeff Papirtis (discus, first, 154-10). Loudoun Valley, girls: Joanna Long (3,200, fourth, 12:08.22).
CAPTION: Potomac Falls junior Jeff Maynard, center, finished second in the 3,200 at the Northern Region championships, in 9:40.47. He is one of three Panthers to qualify for the Group AAA state meet.