'Dogs relay the message

Team events lift Martinsburg to girls track title

Team events lift Martinsburg to girls track title

May 28, 2002|BY DAN KAUFFMAN

Martinsburg track coach Ron Gray should receive an alchemy award. He tinkered with his girls relay teams all season long looking for gold, and Saturday at the W.Va. championships, he got about all the gold he could have imagined.

The Bulldogs' 400-meter, 800-meter and shuttle hurdle relay teams all won W.Va. Class AAA titles Saturday, while the 3,200 relay finished second Friday and the 1,600 relay's second place clinched the girls state team title for the Bulldogs.

"We played a lot with the relay teams early, trying find right blend," Gray said in a phone interview Sunday. "The kids just busted their tail, they did whatever we asked them to to prepare for the state meet. We don't just want our kids to do well at regionals, we want our kids do well at the state meet."


The Bulldogs took his message to heart.

The 400 relay team of Loni Duggins, Kandace Cook, Tasha Robinson and Katie Hoeck won in 50.72 seconds, the 800 relay team of Hoeck, Ashley Winston, Cook and Te Johnson-Peters won in 1 minute, 46.26 seconds and the shuttle hurdle relay team of Duggins, Robinson, Cook and Johnson-Peters won in 1:04.56.

Shannon Tobais, an 800-meter runner until this season, moved up to the 1,600 and won it in 5:17.69.

"We just stepped Shannon up to the mile, and she only ran it four or five times," Gray said. "She's a speed kid, she runs the 800 meters. Her better chance was to be a state champion in the 1,600, and she believed us, and that's what she did."

Still, the team title was in doubt among five schools - Martinsburg, Parkersburg South, Capital, Cabell Midland and Parkersburg - until the 1,600 relay.

"We did not know for sure until they made an announcement after the 17th event," Gray said. "We were behind by 2 1/2 points (to Parkersburg South), and the third place team (Capital) was 2 points behind us. Whoever had the best showing in the (1,600 relay) was probably going to be state champs."

Martinsburg finished second, while Capital finished sixth. The other three teams in contention failed to score.

"All of those kids are very versatile athletes," Gray said. "They can go from the (400) relay to the (3,200 relay), any one of them. We wanted to get them in the right place so they could get some rest times and be as successful as they could be."

It's hard to be more successful than this.

The Bulldogs finished with 63 points, beating Parkersburg South by 5 1/2. Capital (52 points), Cabell Midland (51 1/2) and Parkersburg (50) followed.

n Hedgesville's Nancy Regalbuto, who won the girls high jump title Friday, added the 300 hurdles title on Saturday, clocking 45.52. She also finished second in the 100 hurdles in 15.86.

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