WAHS Track Girls Win Conference, Finish Fourth at States

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By Jerry Reid & Cherie Witt

Pole vaulters swept the top three slots: from left, Melina Punsalan (9th), Madison Masloff (1st), Coach Matheny, Katrina Barredo (2nd), Sarah Tolman (3rd) Photo: Cherie Witt.
Pole vaulters swept the top three slots: from left, Melina Punsalan (9th), Madison Masloff (1st), Coach Matheny, Katrina Barredo (2nd), Sarah Tolman (3rd) Photo: Cherie Witt.

Thoroughly enjoying the high-pressure climate surrounding competition with the state’s best, the Western Albemarle girls pole vaulters racked up 24 points, taking the top three spots. Madison Masloff earned her first state championship by winning in a personal best 11’-3”. She was followed by teammates Katrina Barredo, 11’-0”, and Sarah Tolman, 10’-6”. Melina Punsalan finished just out of the scoring in her first year as a vaulter.

The only other state champion from Western was sophomore Zoe Clay in the 3200. Her time of 11:08.34 is the second fastest indoor time in school history.

Western racked up some points in the other distance events with Averi Witt placing second in the 1600 and 1000. She also anchored the second-place 3200 relay team with Clay on lead-off, Faith Reid, and Emma Ratcliffe. Their time of 9:47.17 was a season best by 29 seconds. Ratcliffe came back later to finish 8th in the 1600 before rushing off to a soccer game.

Lydia Gardner placed third in high jump, tying her season best jump, 5’-2”. Nichole Heon placed sixth in the long jump with a jump of 16’-00”. The 4×400 team ran a season best time by four seconds to place fifth in 4:14.18. All team members ran their season best with Caroline Outlaw on lead off, Madison Masloff, Val Hajek, and Savannah Wilson on anchor.

The team finished fourth in a tight battle that I.C. Norcom won with 84 points, Tabb and Blacksburg tied for second with 76 points. Western had 72 points.

Coming into the state tourney, the Western team had many outstanding performances at the Region 3A West meet held February 19 at Liberty University. Many girls stepped up to huge personal records. Clay was ran a 7-second PR in the 1600 to finish second and then came back to obliterate the field in the 3200, winning that race by 18 seconds. Witt won the 1600 with a 2-second indoor PR and came back in the 3200 to finish sixth. Jasmine Monge bested her triple jump by three feet to place second, jumping just over 34 feet. Heon had her best indoor long jump and finished second. She also ran right on her best time in the 55m to finish sixth. Katrine Berg and Caroline Koester ran personal bests by about a second each in the 300. Berg placed sixth and earned a trip to the State meet. The 4 x 400 team placed second with team members Masloff, Berg, Val Hajek, and Outlaw. In the 4 x 800, both Grace Rainey and Berg ran personal bests and the team finished fifth. The pole vault trio of Katrina Barredo, Masloff and Sarah Tolman took the top three spots, all vaulting right on their season best vault of 11’-0”.

Lydia Gardner soared to third place at States in the high jump (5’ 2”). Photo: Cherie Witt.
Lydia Gardner soared to third place at States in the high jump (5’ 2”). Photo: Cherie Witt.
Warriors Conference 29 Championship team featured Leah Ackerman (1st place) and Jasmine Monge (6th) in the shot put. Photo: Cherie Witt.
Warriors Conference 29 Championship team featured Leah Ackerman (1st place) and Jasmine Monge (6th) in the shot put. Photo: Cherie Witt.

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