CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The possibility of a record-setting weekend for Point Pleasant is very real. Now it just comes down to the performances.
The Black Knights and the Lady Knights are sending a combined 27 athletes into 32 events this Thursday and Friday at the 2021 WVSSAC Class AA track and field championships being held at Laidley Field on the campus of the University of Charleston.
Based on regional qualifying marks alone, PPHS enters the 2-day affair with six event leaders — four girls and two boys — and the potential for another eight top-3 placers over the course of the double-A tournament.
That is on paper, based off of regional results held in four different locations with as many different sets of conditions. This will be simultaneous at Laidley Field, and a first for several of the athletes involved this week.
The Lady Knights — who were second to Winfield in the Region IV standings — have 10 girls competing in 13 events, including a pair of relays.
Addy Cottrill is the lone defending champion returning to the state meet on behalf of Point Pleasant after winning the girls shot put title as a freshman in 2019. Cottrill enters the week with the top throws in both the shot put (39-6.5) and discus (136-7) out of the 16 finalists in each event.
Kianna Smith is competing in both of those events as well and enters the discus (88-2) in 13th overall and is 14th in the shot put (29-10). Kayla Butler is also competing in the shot put final and is third overall at 35 feet, 6 inches.
Elicia Wood is within striking distance of three individual state titles this weekend as she enters both the high jump (5-4) and 100m hurdles (16.01) with the top qualifying marks. Wood also sits second in qualifying for the 300m hurdles (18.59) event.
Wood also joins Skyla Hall, Kendall Connolly and Katelynn Smith with the third fastest time in the 4×102.5m shuttle hurdles relay (1:03.05).
Hall is making a repeat state appearance in the pole vault and enters the week eighth out of 12 qualifiers with a height of 8 feet. Smith is 13th out of 16 competitors in the long jump (14-1) final as well.
The quartet of Hall, Smith, Ella Hunt and Brooke Warner enter the 4x100m relay with the 10th fastest time of 54.98 seconds. Kady Hughes is also 14th headed into the 800m final with a mark of 2:36.93.
The Black Knights — who were second to Winfield in the Region IV standings — enter the boys meet with 17 athletes taking part in 19 events, including all five of the relay finals.
Jonathan Griffin starts Point’s double-A weekend on Thursday night as he owns the second best time of 51.45 seconds in the 400m dash. Griffin is the only PPHS athlete competing in an event on Thursday evening.
The foursome of Ian Wood, Trey Peck, Luke Derenberger and Brayden Wise own the fastest qualifying time in the 4x110m shuttle hurdles with a mark of 1:03.05. Cody Schultz enters the discus final with the top throw of 159 feet, 1 inch, and Brayden Connolly is also ninth headed into that final at 119 feet, 11 inches.
The 4x400m relay team of Griffin, Gavin Jeffers, Hector Castillo and Brayden Randolph are second with a qualifying time of 3:37.32. Jeffers, Griffin, Peck and Preston Taylor also have the second best time in the 4x100m relay with a mark of 45.22 seconds.
Jeffers, Griffin, Peck and Tyson Richards own the third fastest time in the 4x200m relay (1:34.93) final, while the 4x800m squad of Castillo, Sean Wilson, Braxton Watkins-Lovejoy and Trenton Murphy have the slowest qualifying time of 9:51.55.
Cael McCutcheon enters the pole vault final with the second best height of 13 feet, while Jeffers is fifth in that same event at 10 feet even. Taylor owns the fourth best time in the 200m dash (23.20) and is fifth entering the 100m dash (11.52) semifinal.
Brayden Wise enters the 110m hurdles with the fourth fastest time of 17.02 seconds, while Ian Wood is ninth in that same event at 17.67 seconds. Wood also competes in the 300m hurdles with a sixth fastest time of 44.51 seconds.
Derenberger is eighth headed into the high jump (5-6) final and is also 12th entering the long jump (18-2) final.
West Baker comes into the shot put final seventh with a distance of 43 feet, 2 inches. Castillo is also 16th out of 16 qualifiers with a time of 2:14.70 in the 800m final.
The Class AA track and field championships begin just after 7 p.m. Thursday night with the running of the 400m dash and 3200m run events, then the remainder of the tournament will be held on Friday starting at 11 a.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.