It was little surprise that Fauquier standout junior Sarah Bowman won all three of her events at the Region II track and field championships Thursday in Winchester. She bested her own region records in the 800 meters (2 minutes 10.03 seconds) and 1,600 (4:48.78) and anchored the Falcons' 4x400 relay to a record-setting mark of 4:03.24.
But the first-place finish by sophomore Renee Lott, a first-year runner, in the 400 meter dash in 58.29 ultimately made the difference in Fauquier's 63-54 victory over second-place Brentsville.
"I had no idea what to expect when I came out to track," said Lott, whose older sister, Krystal, is a senior on the team and had encouraged her to join. "I had no idea any of this would happen. But, whew, I found a sport that fits me, I guess."
Bowman holds the meet record in the 400 as well -- she won in 57.16 last season -- but Lott's success allowed Bowman to join the 1,600 meter relay team instead of running three open events.
"Renee has done wonders for us is so many events," Bowman said. "Everyone likes to talk about me, but it's not just me out here. Everyone on this team is contributing. And I'm just doing my part. I see everyone working so hard all season, and it makes me want to contribute all that I can, too."
The Falcons got a somewhat unexpected first-place finish in the 4x100 relay when Charlottesville, which entered with the fastest time, bobbled a handoff. Fauquier also picked up additional points from Bowman (third in high jump), Diana Moore (fifth in 200), Kaitlyn Vincie (sixth in 400) and Jess Smith (fourth in 300 hurdles).
"This is a nice reward for a hard season," Coach Scott Murphy said. "The girls have worked really hard, and this is a testament to that."
A First for Reyes
Loudoun County senior Amber Reyes soared farther than 17 feet in the long jump for the first time this season to win her first Region II title. She won with a leap of 17 feet 01/2 inches, and later finished first in the triple jump at 35-91/2 -- also her best of the season.
"It's definitely a nice way to go out my senior year," said Reyes, who scored in five events at the Dulles District championships last week. "It means all of my hard work paid off."
Reyes also placed sixth in the 200 and helped the Raiders' 4x400 relay to a third-place finish.
"When you're ducking all these cicadas out here," Reyes said, "it helps make you run faster."
Coleman Gets Helping Hand
Former Washington Redskins running back Ricky Ervins first heard about Broad Run senior Michael Coleman during football season.
"People kept telling me about him being real fast," said Ervins, who runs Xtreme Xplosion track club in Ashburn. "I didn't know if I should believe it because Loudoun County doesn't have too many kids who are really fast. And this was a tall white kid. But I went out to see him run, and he was legit. But he was running without form, running on natural ability alone. So I started working with him."
Ervins, after seeing Coleman win the 100, 200 and 400 at the AA Dulles District meet, spent last week perfecting Coleman's form. And he was there Thursday to witness Coleman shave nearly a half-second off his time in winning the 200 in region-record 21.83. Coleman also won the 400 in 50.32 and finished second behind Charlottesville's Reuben Jones in the 100.
"I got with him a week ago, and he's the reason I did so well here today," Coleman said of Ervins. "In one week he got my start better and taught me a new technique to keep my knees up. He told me that [Jones] would be ahead of me coming out of the turn in the 200, but that if I kept my knees up I'd be able to get him back down the stretch, and he was right. He's made this fun for me."
Following in Hanlon's Footsteps
Fauquier's Matt Bierlein said he learned from last week's second-place finish to Millbrook's Joel Hanlon in the 1,600 at the AA Northwestern District champions what not to do Thursday. Employing a different strategy than he has used in the past, Bierlein let Hanlon set the pace.
"Last week he stayed behind me, now I stayed behind him," Bierlein said. "And it paid off, too."
Bierlein sprinted past Hanlon with about 50 meters remaining on the final lap, winning in 4:19.98. Hanlon finished second in 4:20.35.
"I was second in the mile all of last year and at districts, and I wasn't going to have another repeat of that," Bierlein said.
Adeka, Vikings' Relay Also Win
There were two other area champions at the Region II meet, including Stone Bridge senior Geonna Adeka in the shot put and discus and Loudoun Valley's boys' 4x400 meter relay team.
Adeka, who set the meet record last year in the discus at 130-04, repeated her title with a toss of 122-11. She also set a personal record in the shot put, winning in 39-02.50.
"I was actually feeling a little slouchy, but I just went out there and decided to throw from the front and give it all I had," Adeka said. "And it worked."
Loudoun Valley's 4x400 team held off a late charge by Heritage, winning in 3:25.02. Trevor Albro, the Vikings' anchor, was pushed by Heritage anchor William Bray in the back stretch, but held on.
"I had thought he was farther behind, but then I felt him coming," Albro said. "I just gave it everything I had left."