A point here, a point there could have made the difference. But things didn’t fall James River’s way last Saturday and the Knights were edged by Manassas Park in their quest for a Group A state girls track championship. James River took runner-up honors at Radford University’s Cupp Stadium, with 51 points to the winner’s 56.

“We didn’t win, but second place is a lot better than 15th or 30th, you know what I’m saying?” said River coach Greg Dyer. “I’m very proud of our girls.”

Reanna Hamm (center) is on her way to a school record time and state championship medal in the 100-meter dash.   Photo by Richard Shumaker
Reanna Hamm (center) is on her way to a school record time and state championship medal in the 100-meter dash. Photo by Richard Shumaker

The Knights had high hopes for a state championship, but it just didn’t work out. A couple girls couldn’t run at the end of the season, and distance runner Britta Grim gutted it out with an injured foot. River lost a few other points the Knights figured to get, and in a meet this close every point was important.

“I said before the meet, everyone had to PR (personal record) in everything and we’d be in good shape,” said Dyer. “It didn’t happen. That’s a lot to ask.”

Cheyenne Falls won the state Group A shotput with a 36'7" toss. File Photo
Cheyenne Falls won the state Group A shotput with a 36'7" toss. File Photo

River did have some great all-around performances. Freshman Reanna Hamm won the 100 meters in a school record time of 12.19, breaking Brittany Chambers’ River record. Hamm was also second in the long jump and second in the 200.

Cheyenne Falls won the shot put with a toss of 36’ 7” and Grim was third in the 1600 and fifth in the 800.

The Knights were still in it as the last event was held, the 4×400 rely, but the Knights would have to run their best time ever by more than a few seconds to make up the difference. If they had won the 4×400, then River and Manassas Park would have tied with the same number of points.

But the Knights finished fourth with a time of 4:23.33 with the team of Grim, Hamm, Kendall McGuire and Ashley King. The winning time, by the Appomattox foursome, was 4:08.17, about 10 seconds faster than River’s best relay time of the season.

“The Appomattox team ran a great time,” said Dyer. “It was very hot at the meet and our girls were tired by that point. They did a great job.”

Clarke County won the boys meet and River tied for 20th. All the points came from the weight crew as Russell Rexrode took fourth in the shot and eighth in the discus and Cheve Tolbert was sixth in the shot.

Rexrode and Tolbert are both seniors, but River returns every girl who scored in the district, regional or state meets. Dyer is also hoping to get a few back who were out with injuries, so if all goes as planned the Knights are the early favorite for next year’s state meet. Of course, that’s a long time from now.

“Next year should be our year,” said Dyer. “But then again I thought this was going to be our year. Everything has to go just right.”

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