by Mike Nutter
CHARLESTON -- It was his last chance to make a lasting impression in West Virginia high school track and field competition.
All season, Gilmer County's Dusty Dent dominated the boys Class AA-A distance events. He entered the state track and field meet seeded No. 1 in two of the three events he had qualified for.
He left in legendary status.
Dent finished the meet with four state championships and left no doubt as to who was the premier runner in the events.
Dent, who will run next season at Marshall University, started his assault Friday night with a win in the 3,200 meter run, and running the anchor leg on the Titans' winning 4x800 team along with Anthony Ramezan, Kevin Tingler and Jamie Adams.
"It was great to win the three (open events), but to win the 4x800 with those guys was awesome. We've been together for a while, and I was pretty nervous before the race. The baton was shaking in my hand."
Seeded fifth in the 3,200, Dent won with a time of 9:50.47 -- more than four seconds ahead of top-seed Ryan Parsons of Williamstown.
On Saturday, Dent laid back for most of the 1,600. With 400 meters left, Dent made his move and passed Doddridge County's Derek Dailey to win the event with a time of 4:27.15 -- nearly six seconds ahead of his closest competitor. Dent finished the day with a win in the 800 meter run at 1:57.5.
"I don't think you could ask for a better way to go out than this," Dent said. "I knew what I had to do, and I went out and did it. I guess this is what they call a runner's high."
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It wasn't the outcome he came for, or the results he expected, but even on a sub-par day, not many were better than Robert C. Byrd's Tony Shade.
The junior hurdler consistently finished with some of the state's top times in the 110-high hurdles and 300-intermediate hurdles.
Seeded second in the 110s and third in the 300s, Shade finished second in both events on Saturday.
"The 300s felt real good, but I just hit too many hurdles in the 110s," Shade said following his run in the 110 hurdles. "I though my run in the 300s was going to be good enough, but I just came up a little short.
"The (wet) conditions didn't help any, but I'm not going to use that as an excuse. Everyone had to deal with it, too."
Shade finished with a time of 39.45 seconds in the 300 hurdles, behind Cabell Midland's Jemmel Pursoo. His time of 15.34 seconds in the 110 hurdles was nearly seven tenths of a second of his personal record this season and better than Huntington's Joe Payne who won with a time of 14.84.
Shade said entering the meet, he had focused more of his training on the 300 hurdles. Last season, Shade entered the meet as the No. 16 seed in the 110s and finished fourth.
"The one thing you can always take away is the experience," Shade said. "There's no substitute for it. I wanted to get it done this year, but I always have next season.
"I know a little more about what I have to do. Hopefully I can come back and win next season."
Sports Writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.