Broad Run senior Michael Coleman was still bent over, trying to catch his breath after winning the 200 meters at Saturday's Virginia AA track and field championships at James Madison University when a meet official called him to come to the tent at the finish line. He wanted to present Coleman with a copy of the photo that was automatically generated when he crossed the finish line.
"Two state championships, you should be very proud," the man said.
Coleman, by way of correction, simply held up three fingers and smiled.
Coleman had just completed the rare feat of sweeping all the sprint events, winning the 100 in a AA meet-record 10.58 seconds and also taking the 200 (21.55) and 400 (48.86). Before Saturday, no runner had accomplished the feat since 1975, according to Virginia High School League records. (Terrance Warren of Richmond's Kennedy won the Group AA 100 and 400 in 1988, and no winner in the 200 was recorded.)
After 29 years, Coleman became one of two male runners to win the three sprints Saturday. LaShawn Merritt of Woodrow Wilson High in Portsmouth also swept the sprints at the Group AAA meet in Newport News.
"People had been telling me all week that this almost never happens," Coleman said. "And that just made me want it more. But actually coming away with three gold medals feels amazing. It's almost surreal."
That's because Coleman's success was, in large part, unexpected. Last season the only individual event in which he placed at the state meet was the 200, where he finished sixth. Even at last week's Region II meet, Coleman finished second in the 100.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Coleman credits his success to former Washington Redskins running back Ricky Ervins, who started training Coleman two weeks ago. In that time, Coleman's times have dropped by nearly a half-second in each event.
Coleman, who rushed for a school-record 1,522 yards last football season, had no scholarship offers from either sport before last week's region meet. Coming into the state meet he had two offers from major Division I programs to run track and play football. More could be on the way.
"He was already running well on his God-given talent and his heart," Ervins said. "I just taught him the proper form to go with that. I'm beyond words right now. He really closed the deal today."
All-Met track athlete of the year Sarah Bowman, a junior at Fauquier, had an impressive day on the girls' side, breaking the 1,600 record in 4 minutes 51.11 seconds. Bowman also bested the record she set last season in the 800, winning in 2:10.44, anchored the Falcons' winning 4x400 relay team (4:04.05) and finished second in the high jump at 5 feet 3 inches.
Bowman's 38 total points helped lead Fauquier to second place behind Courtland, 52.5-50.5, its highest team finish.
Fauquier -- led by senior Matt Bierlein's wins in the 800 and 1,600 -- captured the boys' team title, 54-41.5 over Charlottesville. It marks the first team state championship for Fauquier in any sport since the school opened in 1964.
Brentsville senior hurdler Jacqueline Bailey won the 100 hurdles (14.68) and the 300 hurdles (44.75).