Loudoun County High School senior Jeff Papirtis hesitated at first when his parents asked to take a picture of him after he won the discus title Saturday at the Group AA track and field championships at James Madison University. Papirtis was excited about his victory, but he wasn't happy with his winning throw of 149 feet 11 inches.
"My parents wanted to take a picture of me next to the [winning] distance marker. I finally let them do that because it made them happy," said Papirtis, whose personal best is 157-8, four inches shy of the school record. "But it was a really bad throw. It should've been beaten."
Papirtis was the only area athlete to win a state championship at the AA and AAA meets this past weekend. It capped an undefeated season for Papirtis, and it also helped erase the memory of last year's state meet, when he scratched three times.
"I scratched on my first throw this year, and then on the second one I threw 133. On the last throw of preliminaries, I threw 149," which turned out to be the winning throw, Papirtis said. "I thought it would be torn apart in the finals, but I guess I lucked out. . . . To win most of the time takes skill, but to win all the time takes some luck."
Loudoun County senior Megan Wiseman, the Northwestern District and Region II champion in the 300 hurdles, finished second in the event at the state meet. Wiseman ran a personal best of 45.81, breaking her school record of 46.4 in the process, but she was edged by Handley senior Devin Grim (45.80) in a photo finish.
"I was disappointed for Megan; I was just as crushed as she was," Loudoun County girls coach Marnie Robey said. "I couldn't have asked for any more out of her, and she couldn't have asked for anything more out of herself, even though she did. She broke the school record, she ran her fastest time -- what else could she do?"
Loudoun County senior Ashley Franck was second in the shot put with a throw of 38-1. She led throughout most of the competition, until Lee senior Ashley Honeycutt, the final competitor, recorded a throw of 39-7 1/2 on her last attempt.
Spotswood won the boys title with 56 points, while Jefferson Forest took the girls title with 72.75 points. Loudoun County had the highest team finishes, with the boys placing 21st (10 points) and the girls placing 12th (18 points).
Liberty, the defending girls champion, finished 15th with 16 points. "It's hard to come back after winning a state meet, but we didn't have any seniors competing on Saturday, and that is a good sign for the future," Coach Ken Wall said.
Liberty junior Danielle Tapscott placed second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.65, behind Matoaca junior LaShaunda Jefferson (15.51). Sophomore Jenny Gray finished fourth in the 400 in a school-record time of 59.46. Spotsylvania sophomore Jennifer Nelms won in 57.00.
The Liberty boys finished 43rd with three points. Senior Joe Washington, the Northwestern District champion in the 100 and 200, did not qualify for the 100 finals and was disqualified for false-starting in the 200 trials.
Group AAA Championships
Potomac Falls junior Jeff Maynard did not panic when he found himself at the very back of the pack early in his 3,200-meter race at Saturday's AAA track and field championships at Norfolk State University.
"They went out really fast, and I don't like to do that," Maynard said. "I knew I could catch people."
Maynard's patience paid off. He passed seven runners in the final five laps to claim the Panthers' first state track and field medal in school history with a fifth-place finish in 9:40. The top eight finishers in each event receive medals.
"We told him not to get happy feet at the beginning and go out too hard," said Potomac Falls Coach Brian Blubaugh. "We kind of knew [the field] would go out fast, and I was not shocked that he was in last place. I was not worried at all because I knew that was the plan."
Maynard used a strong finishing kick to nearly take fourth place but was one second shy of catching Midlothian sophomore Austin Smith, the only nonsenior that placed ahead of him. Maynard finished seven seconds out of third place.
"My goal was top six," Maynard said. "I really wanted to catch that guy at the end, but I just couldn't. . . . But taking home a medal makes it all worthwhile."
Maynard placed fourth at the Concorde District championships in a personal-best 9:33 and took second at the Northern Region meet in 9:40 using the same race strategy.
Senior miler Jonathan Farrell and junior shot putter Ike Hamilton also competed for Potomac Falls, which did not have any state qualifiers last year. Farrell placed 13th in the mile in 4:30, and Hamilton, the fourth seed, fouled on all three of his attempts.
Group AA Championships, Local Finishers
Teams: 1. Spotswood 56; 2. Laurel Park 44; 3. King George 43; 4. Western Albemarle 39; 5. Lee-Staunton 38; 6. Handley 31; 7. Jamestown 27; 8. Lafayette 26; 8. Heritage (Lynchburg) 26; 10. Brookville 21.
1,600 run: 17. Jason Towery, Loudoun County, 4:44.34. 110 hurdles: 17. Ian Lansdowne, Fauquier, 16.38. 300 hurdles: 9. Brandon Jackson, Loudoun County, 41.40; 11. Lansdowne, Fauquier, 41.67. 400 relay: 6. Liberty, 44.25. 1,600 relay: 11. Liberty, 3:37.22. Long jump: 11. Kevin Thomas, Loudoun County, 20-6 3/4. Discus: 1. Jeff Papirtis, Loudoun County, 149-11.
Teams: 1. Jefferson Forest 72.75; 2. Charlottesville 47; 3. Turner Ashby 38; 3. Spotsylvania 38; 5. Lafayette 37; 6. Louisa 33; 7. Lee-Staunton 32; 8. Matoaca 30; 9. Jamestown 28; 10. Western Albemarle 26.
100 dash: 8. Lakisha George, Liberty, 12.8. 200 dash: 8. Catherine Vorrasi, Fauquier, 26.62. 400 dash: 4. Jenny Gray, Liberty, 59.46. 3,200 run: 9. Joanna Long, Loudoun Valley, 12:06.32; 13. Melissa Caudill, Loudoun County, 12:19.18. 100 hurdles: 2. Danielle Tapscott, Liberty, 15.65; 7. Megan Wiseman, Loudoun County, 15.99. 300 hurdles: 2. Wiseman, Loudoun County, 45.81; 18. Chanda Benton, Fauquier, 52.27. 400 relay: 7. Liberty, 51.14. 1,600 relay: 9. Loudoun County, 4:13.29; 11. Liberty, 4:15.99. Shot put: 2. Ashley Franck, Loudoun County, 38-1. Discus: 10. Franck, Loudoun County, 101-7.