Lakeland falls just short of state title

Published 9:32 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Lakeland High School track and field team were within arm’s reach of a Class 3 outdoor state championship.

The team came just a couple of points away from claiming the Class 3 state title in Harrisonburg. The Cavs had a solid outing all around and were very much in contention for a state title, but weather may have gotten in the way for Lakeland to secure it.

The meet was supposed to start last Friday, but due to rain, there were some contingency plans in place. From there, Lakeland participated in a few events on Saturday, but had to return home after the event Saturday. Lakeland got back to school around midnight Sunday morning, and with a few hours of rest they got back on the road at 3 a.m. to get to the start of the rest of the meet that day.

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Lakeland had some obstacles they had to overcome, but gave a resilient effort to still push for a title. They ended up with three state championships in events and plenty of top-five finishes.

“For them to go out there and do what they did on the track, I am extremely proud,” coach Brian Rountree said. “We always say life is just a big adjustment. That’s what we preach all the time. We made our adjustments and fell a couple of points short, but I am so proud of these kids.”

Deondre Little led the way for Lakeland, taking the state championship in the 200-meter dash with a personal-record time of 21.96. Little also finished second in the 100-meter dash. Teshun Pierre took the state title in the long jump. Both Little and Pierre as well as Bryce St. Louis and Xavier Boone made up the 4×100 relay team won the state championship as well.

“I felt like my performance was exactly how I wanted it to go,” Little said. “Besides my shortcomings in the 100, I felt like it was a marvelous way to end my senior year.”

“I felt good about my performance,” Pierre said. “I accomplished more than me and my coaches had expected. It was all definitely a learning experience.”

Both the 4×400 and 4×800 teams placed third. Travis Copeland, Little, Nate Edghill and Pierre were a part of the 4×400 team. Copeland, Nicolas Horton, Edghill and Jeshawn Walker were a part of the 4×800 team. Edghill also placed third in the 800-meter event.

“I felt like our performances were state-title worthy,” Little said. “Everyone performed like they should have, but the whole thing with traveling and doing so much in a span of fewer than 24 hours put a dent in our game plan.”

“Those kids fought through everything,” Rountree said. “It’s not exactly a state title, but it feels like it to me. Every obstacle was thrown in front of those kids, and they worked through them all.”

For the girls’ team, Loren Biggs placed fourth in the 100-meter dash, and the 4×100 relay team placed just outside of the top five, finishing sixth. Biggs, Alana Moore, Mya Alston and Christiana Willis competed in the 4×100.