Three-peat for Bulldogs
CHARLESTON – Gilmer County senior Anthony Aviles put on a show in the high jump here Saturday on the final day of the 99th West Virginia state boys track meet and there was no stopping the green and gold of Doddridge County head coach Bobby Burnside as the Bulldogs rolled to a Class A three-peat.
The gang from West Union amassed 121 points to easily outdistance runner-up Williamstown (73) and third place Buffalo (64), which for a few minutes on Saturday was announced as the team runner-up with Bison high-point winner Dylan Rich getting his picture taken all alone with the second place trophy.
Aviles, who ended his Titan career as a three-time state high jump champion, smashed his old meet record and set the new bar at 6 feet, 9 inches, but barely.
“I would have been embarrassed,” admitted Aviles, who didn’t clear 6 feet, 2 inches until his third and final jump. “I’m setting it (the new meet record) for my little brother Noah.”
Doddridge County’s Dillon Muhly-Alexander finished runner-up in the high jump after he went 6-0, but it looked like that’s where Aviles was going to end at. However, he still would’ve captured his third title at that height since the Bulldog senior had one more miss.
“He was the only one I was worried about,” said Aviles, who noted he is 99 percent sure he’ll jump for Radford at the next level and has been fighting hamstring issues late in the season.
“It got to the point where I needed to break another record. I jumped 6-9 this week in practice. It (6-9) was my goal all year. I expected to break my record, but not 6-9.”
Muhly-Alexander beat teammate Daniel Plaugher, who are both seniors, in the 110 high hurdles (15.77 to 16.01) and was runner-up in the long jump (21-1.25). Plaugher posted a victory in the 300 intermediate hurdles with a time of 41.09, which topped the second place showing of Williamstown’s Mitchell Goertler (41.78).
Bulldog junior Isaac Britton defended his discus crown via a winning effort of 147-11. Gilmer County freshman Hunter Ashley was runner-up thanks to a throw of 144 feet, 8 inches.
“I felt pretty confident until warmups,” admitted Britton. “I couldn’t stay in the ring. I don’t know what it was.”
Although they didn’t need the points, DCHS senior Marty Lipscomb was pumped about placing in both the shot put (sixth) and discus (fifth).
“I pulled a 134-6 out (in the discus) and that was my first throw. I was so proud,” Lipscomb said.
Doddridge County’s Caleb Moore took second in the 2-mile with a time of 9:52.25, which was just good enough to hold off Jordan Whitehair in third. The St. Marys distance runner, who was second in the 1600 (4:30.09) with Moore taking third (4:32.05) finished in 9:53.43.
Tyler Consolidated’s Alex Doak sped to wins in the 100 (11.27) and 200 (22.81) and was runner-up in the 400 (50.36). Bulldog Zach Cottrill was third in the 400 with a time of 51.28.
The Silver Knights also received an individual championship from pole vaulter Hunter LeMasters, who cleared 13 feet, 10 inches. Every placer in Friday’s pole vault was from the Mid-Ohio Valley. Goertler was second (13-0), Dyllon Hayes of Doddridge County was third (12-6), Williamstown’s Dalton George was fourth (11-6), Bulldog Ian Spencer took fifth (11-6) and Silver Knight Josh Ruble cleared 11 feet for sixth.
Evan Smith of Williamstown had the best area effort in the shot put, going 47-11.75 to finish third. Another Titan freshman for veteran head coach Willard Wright – Nathan Stout threw 44 feet, 10 inches and placed third. Yellowjacket Jason Lockhart’s time of 2:04.58 in the 800 was good for fourth place, also the best local finish.
TCHS scored 46 points to place fourth and Clay-Battelle (38), Gilmer County (33) and Tucker County (28) rounded out the top seven squads in the team race.
The Bulldogs managed just one victory in the relay events and that came thanks to a clocking of 1:00.24 in the shuttles. Muhly-Alexander ran the opening leg and was followed by Cottrill, Hayes and the anchor Plaugher.
“We’re very dedicated. We know what we wanted and we kept that in mind all year,” Plaugher said of the three-peat and what the key is to the continued success of the Bulldogs.
Plaugher missed more than a month of the season with a foot fracture in his fourth metatarsal and when he competed in one event at the Little Kanawha Conference tournament he had just went off crutches.
“What’s amazing is when I run I can’t feel it. I consider that a gift from God,” Plaugher added. “We’re pretty happy to bring home a third straight state championship.”
The runner-up Yellowjackets of head coach Doak Markley did post a trio of wins in the relays thanks to first place efforts in the 4 by 100 (44.69), 4 by 200 (1:33.3) and the 4 by 400 (3:35.22).
Teammates Jarric Hoskins, Mathew Zlatkind, Trace Hart and Goertler comprised both the 4 by 100 and 4 by 200 teams. Hoskins led off the 4 by 400 and was followed by Marshall Williams, Kohen Mossor and anchor Jason Lockhart.