CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One competitor. Two medals.
Wahama junior Rowen Gerlach became the first member of the boys track and field team to win an individual state title at the 2022 WVSSAC Class A state championships, along with being the first boy to win two events in the same state competition.
This was also Wahama’s first state win period since 2012, when Kelsey Zuspan won the girls 100-meter dash and the boys 4×100 relay team took home that state title.
Gerlach’s first win came Friday, during day one of the state meet, when he won the discus throw with a top throw of 144 feet, 5 inches, besting Richwood’s Joshua Landreth and the rest of the field by almost two feet.
Gerlach finished sixth in the event at the 2021 state meet.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Gerlach said. “It feels really good. I’ve worked really hard this season and in the offseason. Lifting weights and working off an injury, which did set me back a bit, but my hopes were up after the first meet this season.”
After his first win, Gerlach predicted that he would get the win in the shot put the next day.
This prediction came true, as he won with a put of 47 feet and nine inches, edging out second place Dalton Kasekamp of Paw Paw and the rest of the field by just under a foot.
“It feels really great to get this and the discus yesterday,” he said. “I was feeling really confident coming to the shot put because I’ve had really good practices this week, so it’s incredible to win both.”
His road to the shot put title wasn’t a smooth one, however, as he found himself trailing Kasekamp with two puts to go in the finals.
“I knew I had to throw a bomb to get back in this,” Gerlach said.
On his next throw, Gerlach put up his winning measurement of 47 feet and nine inches.
In other events, the White Falcons had six individuals and five relay teams competing over the two days of the state meet.
Other than Gerlach, Wahama had two more top-3 finishes, both on the boys team.
Friday, Gavin Hieronymus finished third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.80 seconds.
This was followed up Saturday by the 4×400 relay team of Hieronymus, Wyatt Harris, Josiah Lloyd and Sawyer VanMatre finished third with a time of 3:39.90.
Harris, Lloyd and VanMatre also competed in individual events for the White Falcons.
Lloyd competed in the 800 and 1600-meter runs, finishing 16th (2:40.56) and 12th (4:57.78), respectively.
VanMatre finished 13th in the long jump with a length of 17 feet and 11.75 inches.
Harris qualified for the high jump, but did not record a height during the state meet.
In other relay events, the White Falcons took 15th in the 4×100 with a time of 48.60 seconds, 16th in the 4×800 with a time of 11:27.31 and 16th in the shuttle hurdles with a time of 1:14.55.
Overall, the White Falcons finished sixth in the Class A meet with a score of 32.
The Doddridge County Bulldogs defended their state title with a team score of 86, edging out second place Ritchie County by six points.
While the girls track and field team didn’t notch any victories, each qualifer came away with a top-10 finish.
Michaela Hieronymus competed in three individual events.
She finished seventh in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:03.10, seventh in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:34.04 and ninth in the pole vault with a height of eight feet.
Lacey Neal was the Lady Falcons’ only other individual competitor, competing in the 100-meter dash.
After qualifying for finals with a prelim time of 13.75, Neal finished seventh overall with a time of 13.84.
In relays, the Lady Falcons finished eighth in the 4×100 with a time of 55.67 seconds.
Overall, the White and Red didn’t gather any points over the course of the meet, with the Williamstown Lady Yellowjackets taking the state championship with a score of 148 points.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100