By JP Widner/SWT Sports Writer
Lynchburg- For three seniors, the years of hard work, sweat and tears paid off this past Saturday at the 2013 Virginia AA Indoor Track & Field State Championships. Inside the Tolsma Indoor Track Facility on the campus of Liberty University, the Lady Cougar track team competed against the best athletes that the state of Virginia could offer.
Sydney Anderson, the senior captain of the Pulaski County High School track & field team, was not 100% and that really bothered her. Although the Indiana University bound qualified to compete at states in the high jump, triple jump, long jump, 300 meter dash and the 500 meter run, her tweaked hamstring from her final race at Regionals was not going to let it happen. “Before states, I was upset when my coach informed me that I probably would not be running in my last indoor meet,” said Anderson. “I broke down in tears after begging my coach to run several times.” Finally, Head Coach Jamie McCarty agreed for Sydney to attempt competing in the high jump. “I was nervous at first because I really wasn’t sure how much I would be able to do during the high jump,” Anderson continued. “I warmed up really well and I stood up and moved around during the whole competition so my hamstring wouldn’t become tight.” During warmups, Anderson knocked over the bar at 4’10″ which made her even more nervous. The senior refocused and made it over the bar on most of her first attempts. Anderson won the high jump at 5’4″ to earn her second state title (she won the 2012 outdoor high jump last spring) and earned 10 important points for Pulaski County.
Sara Wright stepped into the Cougar history books as she threw 38′ 3/4″ to earn second place at states in the shot put. The senior missed the state title by less than 8 inches on the final toss of the competition. “Things didn’t turn out like I had hoped,” said Wright. “But I plan on working harder to make it happen in the outdoor season.” Sara has committed to play softball at James Madison University. She will major in engineering at JMU. After her undergraduate degree is earned, Wright plans to get her masters in education at a small college where she will use her fifth year of eligibility to compete in the shot put. After she completes her graduate degree, Wright wants to teach upper level math that comes with the engineering curriculum.
Radford University bound Tamera Smith leaped 16’9″ to earn eighth place and the final All-State honor for the long jump. When asked what she thought about competing at the state championships, Smith was quick and straight to the point. “Working hard pays off.”
Brittany Worrell, a junior, competed in five events at the state championship. Worrell missed making All-State honors by 3/100′s of a second as she placed 9th in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 9.08 seconds. Worrell also competed in the long jump (19th place, 14′ 9 3/4″) and the triple jump (20th place, 30′ 4 1/2″). Brittany also ran two relay events with junior teammates Julia Hager, Ellisa Fink and Erin Hamric. The foursome placed 11th in the 4 x 200 meters (1:52.5) and 12th in the 4 x 400 meters (4:21.14). Julie Guthrie, a senior, placed 15th in the 3200 meter run (12:09).
“It was a great day for Sara, Tamera and Sydney!” said Coach McCarty. “All three All-State athletes have worked very hard all season, and it was great to see it pay off. Watching Sydney win a state title while injured was amazing. She battled a very tough situation and she made the best of it. Sara had a great meet and she really stepped up this year. Tamera had a solid showing. Getting a top 10 finish for the girls was a great accomplishment.”
Tabb High School won the Virginia State AA Indoor Track & Field Championships with 56 points followed by Blacksburg (45), Louisa County (36), Western Albemarle (35) and EC Glass (31). Pulaski County finished in 10th place with 19 points.