By DYLAN GARNER
Feb 18, 2017
St. Catherine’s coach Sherry Edwards had just one request for her 62nd birthday: to win the state championship.
“We thought that wasn’t good enough,” said a smiling Eryn Carlisle.
Before a team photo could be taken at the end of the meet, seniors Carlisle and Emma Ballantyne had snuck away to grab a surprise for their coach. They came back with a cake, the perfect gift to go along with another championship trophy for St. Catherine’s.
St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s claimed the girls and boys team titles at the VISAA state indoor track and field championships at the St. Christopher’s field house Saturday. St. Catherine’s wiped away the competition with 182.5 points, and St. Christopher’s totaled 117 to edge Fork Union Military Academy by 10.
St. Catherine’s path to victory was quick, leading from the start thanks to Carlisle and Ballantyne in the field events. Carlisle won the triple jump with 37-5.5, and Ballantyne took the long jump at 17 feet. The points poured in from outside the first-place spot, with Carlisle taking third in the long jump and Ballantyne earning fifth in the triple jump.
The two continued to star as the meet advanced. Carlisle placed second in the 55-meter dash and 300, setting a school record, and Ballantyne added a victory in the 500 along with a third-place performance behind Carlisle in the 300. Carlisle was named the field athlete of the meet.
Along with their contributions to the winning 4x200- and 4x400-meter relay teams, the two put on a show in the course of eight-plus hours at the meet.
“They don’t complain, they work hard, they’re dedicated. That’s what you want,” Edwards said. “Two things you want out of an athlete: it’s coachable, and dedication. And they fit the mold.”
Adding to the senior combination at the top was sophomore Hannah Ballowe, who motored her way to her first individual state title of her career in the 1,600, beating out Norfolk Academy’s Julia Lambert with a time of 5:07.96. Just a short time later, she added a win in the 1,000 in 3:03.55.
She also contributed arguably the strongest split of the 4x400, stretching the Saints’ lead in the third leg before Ballantyne finished the win.
Ballowe was proud to contribute to another title for Carlisle and Ballantyne.
“They’re both amazing. … I just love running with them because they’re such good leaders, and they’re nice, and they’re always motivational,” Ballowe said. “I’m really lucky to have been with them for the past three years.”
St. Christopher’s jumped out to a similarly strong lead early on, with Harrison Rice winning the pole vault by clearing a meet-record 15-6 and a host of other scoring performances in the field events.
But the lead evaporated quickly. The Saints led Fork Union by only 10 points after the 300, putting high stakes on sophomore Wyatt Campbell in the 3,200 to clinch the title.
Campbell ran away with the win in 10:00.98, preventing any anxiousness before the final relay by sealing the team victory.
“I will say this team, whatever meet we’ve done this season, has never failed to exceed expectations, above and beyond,” said St. Christopher’s coach Marshall Ware. “Where we’ve dropped points in one event, we’ve picked up points in another.”
Top 10 teams: St. Catherine’s 182.5, St. John Paul the Great 70, Norfolk Academy 57, Collegiate 57, Paul VI 40, Potomac 36, Episcopal 35, Trinity Episcopal 33, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes 18, Bishop Sullivan 14
55 dash: Fitzsimon (PVI) 7.40; 300: Fitzsimon (PVI) 41.75; 500: Ballantyne (STC) 1:19.46; 1,000: Ballowe (STC) 3:03.55; 1,600: Ballowe (STC) 5:07.96; 3,200: Lewis (VER) 10:52.28; 55 hurdles: Farquharson (EPI) 9.08; 4x200 relay: St. Catherine’s (Shannon, Durham, Pratt, Carlisle) 1:46.87; 4x400 relay: St. Catherine’s (Horner, Gurkin, Ballowe, Ballantyne) 4:05.26; 4x800 relay: St. John Paul the Great (Dunlop, Billingsly, Conner, Kreitzer) 9:55.39; HJ: O’Shea (COL) 5-2; PV: Radcliff (STC) 8-0; LJ: Ballantyne (STC) 17-0; TJ: Carlisle (STC) 37-5.5; SP: Anderegg (TE) 35-1.5
Top 10 teams: St. Christopher’s 117, Fork Union 107, Collegiate 77, Woodberry Forest 62, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes 51, St. John Paul the Great 28, Episcopal 25, Paul VI 22, Norfolk Academy 18, Trinity Episcopal 18
55 dash: Hill (WF) 6.46; 300: Etta (FUMA) 35.52; 500: Duren (PVI) 1:06.44; 1,000: Yescas (FUMA) 2:40.55; 1,600: Via (PC) 4:25.36; 3,200: Campbell (STC) 10:00.98; 55 hurdles: Ajavon (EPI) 7.92; 4x200 relay: Fork Union (Disbrow, Justice, Brockington, Walbrook) 1:31.66; 4x400 relay: Fork Union (Stupalsky, Justice, Desgrottes, Etta) 3:34.30; 4x800 relay: Paul VI (McCarthy, McHale, Paquette, Duren) 8:26.82; HJ: Walker (SSSA) 6-2; PV: Rice (STC) 15-6; LJ: Walker (SSSA) 23-5.5; TJ: Perry (COL) 44-8.5; SP: Speight (COL) 54-9.25