NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The moment the shot left Hylton senior Christopher Lee’s hand, a collective gasp could be heard among those watching at Friday’s Virginia 6A track and field championships.
It carried through the air for a while, nearly landing outside of the pit at Todd Stadium and onto the grass behind it. Lee’s official throw was marked at 61 feet 6 inches, a personal best. His top competitor, Cosby senior Tyler Powell, had one last throw to try and beat him. It fell just short of Lee’s mark, landing at 61-21 / 2, giving Lee the individual shot put championship.
“I put all of my effort into it,” Lee said. “I don’t like to throw with anger, but I had to, because I’ve been doing this for a long time. I brought the anger from indoor [season], last year at nationals — all those pent-up feelings. I brought it out.”
A year ago, Lee left states with a disappointing 10th-place finish. This year, he had a long talk with one of his coaches, which helped provide the extra motivation needed. He had moved up the Virginia leader board ever since, and his final throw of the season proved to be his best.
Lee’s throw could rank in the top 40 nationally after the weekend, though numerous other state finals are still ongoing.
“I knew this was going to come sooner or later,” Lee said . “But it still surprised me.”
Select field events and the 4x800 relay finals were completed on Friday, with the remainder of the finals scheduled to conclude Saturday. Oakton, Hylton and Osbourn Park are among four teams tied for third with 10 points in the 6A boys’ team meet. South County (16) and Lake Braddock (15) are in third and fourth place, respectively in the 6A girls’ meet.
T.C. Williams sophomore Noah Lyles placed fifth in the high jump by clearing 6-6. He also ran a preliminary time of 10.96 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.60 in the 200 to qualify for the finals in both. Lyles’s brother, sophomore Josephus Lyles, also qualified for the 200 finals with a time of 21.55.
Forest Park senior Ricky Morgan had the best 100 time of the afternoon, running a 10.90 in his first heat to set up a Saturday showdown between the rival sprinters.
One week after finishing runner-up in the 6A North region meet, Oakton’s boys’ 4x800 relay reversed the order and claimed a championship win (7:51.55) over Osbourn Park (7:55.26). The Cougars enjoyed a comfortable lead entering the last leg, with senior John Stoney running alone on the final turn. Osbourn Park senior Nick Causey took the Yellow Jackets from sixth place to second on his anchor leg but could not overtake Oakton.
In the 6A girls’ 4x800 relay race, four Northern Virginia teams finished in the top five behind Western Branch’s winning squad (9:02.11) — Washington-Lee (9:10.58), Lake Braddock (9:15.73), Oakton (9:16.67) and West Springfield (9:21.13).
South County had a male and female in the top three of their respective triple jumps, with senior Kevin Hires placing second (47-01 / 2) and senior Jeonna Taylor finishing third (37-61 / 2). South County senior Morgan Knight was third in the pole vault (11-0), with Westfield senior Katie Freix (11-3) took second.
Battlefield senior Galissia Cause won the 6A shot put with a throw of 44-11 / 2 and Stone Bridge senior Tyler Banks finished second in the 5A high jump (6-4).
Osbourn Park senior Kiana Hairston posted the best times of the day in the 100 (personal best 11.97) and 200 (24.59).
“Honestly, I thought I ran slow,” Hairston said. “But after I finished, I realized it was pretty good after all.”