A weak link causes a chain to break under pressure. That’s been the message and theme of the 2015 Thomas Dale track season started by head coach Jamarri Price. The chain that’s been forged by the Knights this season is as strong as ever. In a true team effort, all 21 girls that competed scored points and 19 of 22 boys scored as the Knights took home both the boys and girls Conference 3 Championships.
“There isn’t really just one leader,” said Price. “They pick each other up all the time,” he continued. “When the sprinters are recovering, they’re motivating the distance crew while they’re set – at any given time, anyone will step up.”
Price actually brought a chain to practice that served as both a symbol and a finish line. That symbol caught on with his seniors and the affect trickled down.
“I saw this coming around mid-season,” Sprint specialist Ronnie Fitzgerald said. “Every time we crossed the line, even during workouts when we were holding that chain together.”
Thomas Dale wasn’t expected to win either of the titles, making the victory that much sweeter. Favored were the girls of Cosby and the boys of Patrick-Henry Roanoke. However, the Knights’ creme rose to the top.
Sweeping all of the relay events except the boys 4×800, the Knights got an MVP-caliber performance from freshman Titiana Marsh once again. In addition to being a member of the winning 4×100 team that currently ranks third in 6A and eighth in the state, she won the triple, high and long jump. Marsh also took home a win in the 200m dash while placing second in the 100m dash.
Another event winner of the day included Louis Rivers in the 110m hurdles (15.10) and Concord University (WV) commit Fitzgerald in the 100m (10.97). The senior’s performance was his first time ever running in the 10’s, a personal record (PR).
However, winning a meet does not mean that a team must win all of the events. Several underclassmen gave the Knights a huge boost.
On the girls side, it was sophomores Kamryn Davis and Aliyah Newman in the long jump, placing second and fourth respectively (a PR for Newman). Newman also finished second in the triple jump. Freshman Madalyn Roseberry took third in the 800m run, while her twin placed third in the 400m dash. Freshman Asia Giles placed third in the 100 and 200m. Though not an underclassmen, Senior Kamiya Lewis had a strong meet, placing third in the 300m hurdles and second in the 100m hurdles.
For the boys, sophomore Treshawn Jones along with seniors Dillion Richards and Devin Bethea placed second-third-fourth in the triple jump. Another sophomore, Milton Coleman placed second in the high jump and 400m dash, while yet another sophomore in Devin Williams had the second best discus throw of the day. Senior Jordan Barnes took third in both the 110m and 300m hurdles. All of the aforementioned athletes scored points towards their respective team’s victories.
“Our team stayed for another 30 to 60 minutes for extra practice to get better,” said Bethea, who will sign with VCU Thursday. “Both the guys and girls teams were disappointed we didn’t win in indoor season, so we focused on getting better individually and as a team to win conference.”
Thomas Dale isn’t done yet. Regionals are this coming weekend and states are June 5 and 6 at John B. Todd Stadium in Newport News, Virginia. A unified team will do its best to strengthen its links to ensure that this chain doesn’t break.