Coach Bruce Pugh is trying to cobble together the history of the Loudoun Valley girls' track and field team, pouring over the records around school and having several of his athletes look through old yearbooks.
Motivated by the Vikings' victory at the Loudoun Valley Invitational, Pugh said he would like to put his team's accomplishment into perspective.
"I think that we haven't won an invitational here since the 1980s," Pugh said. "I know Loudoun Valley finished second in the district in 1990 and 1991, so it's been about 15 years since there's been a really competitive [girls'] track team here. At least, that's my understanding."
Pugh can state with certainty that the Vikings won the first invitational title in his three-year tenure. The Vikings bested the 10-team field by collecting 104 points; Millbrook finished second, with 70 points; and Stone Bridge was third, with 56.
"Our relays were the difference in the meet," Pugh said. "We scored 28 points off of our relays alone. But we had some great, really great, individual performances as well."
Senior Alicia Essex led the way for the Vikings, accounting for 281/2 points. Essex won the 100 meters and was a member of the winning 4x400 relay team. She was second in the high jump and bested her personal record in the triple jump by 14 inches to finish third at 32 feet 91/4 inches. Essex also ran a leg on the runner-up 4x100 relay.
"Needless to say it was a pretty busy day for her," Pugh said, laughing.
Junior Jessica Nauta posted a similar point total (261/2) winning the 100 and 300 hurdles and taking fourth in the discus. She was also one of Essex's teammates on the winning 4x400 team. Nauta, who previously qualified for the state meet in the 100 hurdles at 15.8, also qualified in the 300 hurdles last weekend in 47.3. . . .
Stone Bridge had three individual winners: Geonna Adeka in the discus; Ashelley O'Banion in the shot put; and Lauren Bolsover in the 400. Loudoun County's Amber Reyes (triple jump) was the only other local champion.
Park View Boys Win Handily
The Park View boys also had a successful weekend, winning the nine-team Clarke County Invitational by a decisive 129-75 margin over second-place Loudoun County.
"This past week things really began to fall into place for us," Coach Duane Colebank said. "We looked strong.
"A couple of years ago, we had a pretty good team, but we peaked too early, and then in the region I think we ended up finishing third or fourth. But these guys are coming on really well, at the right time, just about the way we had hoped."
Seniors Roscoe Johnson and John Laird carried the load for the Patriots. Johnson captured gold medals in the triple jump (41-5), high jump (6-2), shot put (42-0) and as a member of the winning 4x100 relay team. He also took fourth in the long jump. Laird, for his part, was also on the winning 4x100 team and won the 100 (11.2), 200 (23.1) and the long jump (20-73/4). He also placed fifth in the triple jump.
"Those guys have been doing a terrific job for us all year," Colebank said.
Kyle Taylor won the 110 hurdles (15.7) and was fourth in the triple jump.
"We have always been strong in the relays and in the sprints," Colebank said.
"But this year as you can see we really have come on in the field events. We've been getting first, second and third places in all of the events. It's the strongest we've been in the field events since I've been here."
Park View senior Earl Barnes, a state qualifier in the hurdles the past two years, is out with a lingering hamstring injury. Barnes has not yet qualified to return to states this season and must be ready in time to compete in the AA Dulles District meet May 20 to do so.
"There's no question if he's ready to run, he'll qualify," Colebank said. "But I'm not sure he's going to be.". . .
Loudoun County had three first-place finishes: Cam Harris won the 400 (52.0); Russell Lewis claimed the 300 hurdles (43.4); and the Raiders won the 4x400 relay (3 minutes 37 seconds).