CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mason County will be well-represented this weekend at Laidley Field as both Point Pleasant and Wahama have a combined 29 athletes competing in the 2016 WVSSAC state track and field championships on the campus of the University of Charleston in Kanawha County.
Point Pleasant has 15 qualifiers competing in 14 separate Class AAA events, while Wahama advanced 14 athletes in 15 events at the Class A level. Hannan — the other school with track in Mason County — did not have a state qualifier from the Class A Region IV meet.
The Lady Knights landed the most individual qualifying spots from any of the four area teams, as 11 athletes advanced in eight different Class AAA events. Of those 11 ladies from PPHS, a half-dozen will be making their first state appearance at Laidley Field.
The Lady Knights enter Friday and Saturday with four relay events and four events with individual qualifiers, including a double entry in the discus event.
Juniors Aislyn Hayman and Morgan Roush are both returning to the discus final on Saturday as qualifiers from a year ago in the same event.
Hayman — a two-time state podium finisher in the discus who also finished fourth in 2015 — enters the Class AAA event with the top overall throw from regionals a week ago with a distance of 132 feet, 1 inch. Roush owns the eighth-best throw in the AAA discus following a heave of 101 feet last week at regionals.
Hayman will also be competing the discus event for a third year and has the third-best regional throw out of 16 entrants with an even 37-feet.
Freshman Madison Hatfield will be making her state debut in the 400-meter dash and enters Saturday’s finals with a qualifying time of 1:02.69 — 13th-best among the 16 state participants.
The Lady Knights will compete in the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m and 4×102.5m shuttle hurdles relays this weekend, with 10 different girls competing in those quartet of events.
The 4×102.5m shuttle hurdles team of seniors Carlee Dabney and Lexi Toth, junior Siera Toles and sophomore Cierra Porter enter the weekend with the slowest time of of 1:12.90.
Dabney, Toles and Porter have previously competed at the state meet, while Toth will be finishing her career in her first and only AAA championship event.
Freshmen Bri Reymond and Teagan Hay will join Hatfield and Dabney in the 4x100m relay, where the quartet owns the 12th-fastest time of 52.44 seconds.
Hatfield, Hay, freshman Sydnee Moore and senior Kyla Scott enter the 4x200m relay with the 10th-best time of 1:51.65, while Hatfield, Hay, Scott and Moore possess the 15th-fastest qualifying mark of 4:23.56.
On the boys side of Class AAA, the Black Knights have four individuals competing in six events — including a trio of competitors in the shot put event.
Seniors Cody Mitchell and Tanner Hill are making return trips to state in the shot put event, with Hill serving as the 2014 Class AAA champion in this event. Hill enters the final with fourth-best qualifying throw of 49 feet, 8 inches, while Mitchell — who skipped last year’s shot put final — enters Saturday with the top overall of throw of 51 feet, 1 inch.
Junior Joseph Clark will be making his state debut as the third PPHS athlete in the AAA shot put final, possessing the seventh-longest throw of 45 feet, 10 inches.
Mitchell and Hill will also be competing the discus final, with Mitchell — the 2015 AAA discus runner-up — again entering as the favorite following a regional toss of 175 feet, 8 inches. Hill is seventh in the discus with a qualifying heave of 144 feet, 8 inches.
Junior Sheb Harris — the Region IV 400m runner-up — enters his first state meet appearance with the 15th-best time of 53.38 seconds.
Wahama, conversely, has 10 boys competing in a dozen events and four girls involved in three events at the Class A meet. Only five of the 14 athletes have competed at the state level prior to this weekend.
Senior Wesley Jones has the best overall shot for the White Falcons at a podium finish as the repeat qualifier owns a trio of top-six qualifying times headed into his three state events.
Jones currently owns the third-best time in the 100m dash (11.43), the fourth-fastest time in the 400m dash (51.86), and the fifth-best 200m dash mark of 23.27 seconds.
Senior Austin Juelfs is also returning to Laidley Field with the sixth-best leap in the long jump (20-2), as well as the 11th-quickest time in the 100m dash with a time of 11.83 seconds.
Another state returnee — junior Mason Hildreth — enters the 3200m run with the sixth-best qualifying time at 10:29.31.
Junior Travis Kearns will be making his state debut in a pair of events. Kearns is currently fifth in qualifying in the 1600m run (4:44.83) and is also sixth in the 800m run with a mark of 2:07.01.
Freshman Brodee Howard will debut at state in the 110m hurdles and owns the 12th-fastest time headed in with a mark of 17.36 seconds.
Wahama will be competing in three relay events on the boys side, with Jones, Juelfs, senior Nolan Pierce and freshman Brady Bumgarner owning the fourth-fastest qualifying time of 45.82 seconds in the 4x100m relay.
Juelfs, Pierce, Kearns and junior Jace Edwards enter the 4x400m relay with the fifth-fastest qualifying time of 3:41.16. Edwards, Howard, sophomore Johnnie Board and freshman Jacob Lloyd also own the 12th-quickest time in the 4x110m shuttle hurdles relay with a mark of 1:10.30.
Pierce joins Juelfs, Jones and Hildreth as the fourth and final state returnee for the White Falcons.
The Lady Falcons have one relay team at the state meet, with the quartet of junior Rebekah Roach, sophomores Lizzy Mullins and Kaleigh Stewart, and freshman Skylar Riffle owning the ninth-best time of 53.86 seconds in the 4x100m relay.
Stewart — the lone state returnee for the Wahama girls — will also compete in a pair of individual events. Stewart is currently sixth in the 100m dash (13.42) and is also 11th overall in the long jump following a qualifying effort of 14 feet, 10 inches.
Mullins will also compete in the 100m dash after posting the seventh-best qualifying time of 13.44 seconds.
Complete results of the 2016 WVSSAC track and field championships will be available on the web at runwv.com
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.