NRTF ready for nationals

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nansemond River High School’s track and field team is ready to compete in the New Balance National Outdoor meet.

Syaira Richardson runs the 400-meter dash at the 5A state outdoor meet. Nansemond River High School will compete in the New Balance outdoor championships.
John Herzog photo

The NRHS track and field team will send 20 athletes to Greensboro, N.C., to compete in the National Outdoor meet this weekend. The Warriors are coming off of a 5A state championship for the girls’ team and a seventh-place finish for the boys’ team.

With Nansemond River going against national competition with less room for error, the preparation for the meet is more rigorous. The Warriors had to make a quick turnaround from the outdoor season to start preparing for the outdoor season. It has also been a bit difficult for the athletes, as they are in the middle of final exams as well.

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“It’s definitely a tough and busy time for the kids,” Warriors coach Justin Byron said. “I think everyone will be prepared and ready to roll when it’s time to.”

Eight out of the 20 athletes are coming from the boys’ team, which is by far the most during the Warriors’ coach’s tenure. Over the course of the indoor and outdoor season, the Warriors boys’ track team looks to be ascending. They recently won the 4×400 relay at the 5A state meet. That team consisted of JeVon Waller, Jacari Sain, Kevin Johnson and Daiqwuan Faircloth.

“This is big for them,” Byron said. “Having these many boys at the national meet is definitely a program change for us. I’m excited for how they have progressed.”

The boys’ team also feel like they are heading in the right direction. They have understood the process of getting better and putting their trust in Byron’s decision making. There is more discipline on the team, and the leadership has gotten better as well. All the changes that have been made on the boys’ team have helped them seeing success quickly. Even though the boys’ team finished seventh at states this year, that’s better than last year, when they finished last.

“We’ve done a great job at knowing our roles,” Waller said. “If we can continue to improve and work hard, we can be an extremely dangerous team next year. All of us going to nationals is a big step in the right direction. We only hope to continue to get better.”

“Those boys have had a complete turnaround this year,” Byron said. “The boys are working so hard and are turning our boys’ program into a strength. I was running acting like a fool seeing those guys take the 4×400. They’ve worked so hard for it.”

Team WAR gets the bulk of the attention, so for the girls who will be competing in nationals, it is another opportunity to prove how good Nansemond River is. Team WAR can complete a strong track year with some impressive performances at nationals.

So far this year they have taken home the 5A indoor and outdoor championships. For seniors like Syaira Richardson, this will be their last high school meet before moving on to their respective colleges. The moment is bittersweet for all the seniors, but they are excited about their futures.

“I think they are all ready to go out with a bang,” Byron said. “They’ve done all for this program and have achieved a lot as well.”

Each year under Byron, the Nansemond River track and field team has improved its performances at nationals.