Lakeland perseveres at states

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lakeland High School’s track and field program pushed through disappointment to end up with nine all-state finishes at the 2016 Virginia High School League Group 3A indoor state championships last weekend in Lynchburg.

An all-state finish involved an individual or relay team placing within the top eight of an event.

“I think the kids performed marvelously under the conditions that we had,” Lakeland activities director Gregory Rountree said.

Email newsletter signup

There was one event that shaped much of Lakeland’s experience at this year’s meet.

“Our girls’ 4×200 (relay team) had won the state championship only to be disqualified on a controversial call,” Rountree said.

The call was that there was a baton exchange that happened outside of the exchange zone.

Rountree consulted a video recording of the race to see if it was true.

“It was close, but the judge was clearly not in position to make the call,” he said.

The Lady Cavaliers’ 4×200-meter relay team consisting of seniors Kiera Rountree, Teahney Walker, sophomore Enicia Hopes and freshman Loren Biggs had led the race from start to finish.

Rountree noted that “things are going to happen, good and bad, for you in life,” so this was an experience the girls had to learn from. And he was proud of how they responded.

“The kids came back and persevered,” he said.

Among the all-state finishers from Lakeland, senior Ja’Len Baker took third place in the boys’ 300-meter dash with a time of 36.36 seconds.

He was also part of the boys’ 4×200-meter relay team that finished in one minute and 35.98 seconds to place fourth. Joining him on that team were juniors Riven Williams, Alajuwun Langston and sophomore Deondre Little.

Williams claimed fourth place in the boys’ 500-meter dash, narrowly beating his seed time by finishing in 1:8.79.

Loren Biggs finished fourth in the girls’ 55-meter dash with a 7.42-second time after taking fifth in the preliminary heat with a time of 7.4 seconds that beat her 7.5-second seed time.

Kiera Rountree finished right behind Biggs in the 55 finals, placing fifth with a 7.43-second time.

Rountree also took seventh in the triple jump with a leap of 34 feet and 8.25 inches.

Teahney Walker ran the 55-meter hurdles in 9.15 seconds in the finals to clinch seventh place.

Senior Darren Daughtry beat his 8.03-second seed time in the prelims of the boys’ 55-meter hurdles, finishing in 7.93 seconds to take second. In the finals, he was slightly slower, running the event in 8.1 seconds, but still had an all-state finish, taking seventh.

Entering the meet with a seed time of 6.71 seconds in the boys’ 55-meter dash, sophomore Kory Lawrence placed sixth in the prelims with a 6.68-second time. He finished the finals in 6.83 seconds to take eighth.