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Doddridge sweeps regional meet

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

TENNERTON -- It didn't start out the way Doddridge County girls coach Craig Kellar expected.

First, there was a mix up back at the high school which resulted in no one packing the poles to use for the pole vault. Then, senior standout Chayna Johnson aggravated a hip flexor, which had been bothering her throughout the season. And if that wasn't enough, there was a little matter of trying to hold off the No. 2 girls team in the state, Grafton.

The Class AA-A No. 1 Bulldogs overcame all of those, including a down-to-the-wire battle with the Bearcats, to claim the Class AA-A Region 2 track and field championship at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Doddridge County finished with 145 points, followed by Grafton with 120 and Bridgeport at 92. Frankfort was a distant fourth with 39 points.

The No. 4 Bulldogs boys team had a much easier time, winning its title with 116 points. Moorefield finished second with 60 points.

"It was a little interesting in the beginning," Kellar said. "I tried to stay away from the kids as much as I could've, because I think I get a little too tense for them.

"But really, the kids did all they could, and there was nothing more I could've asked from them. Grafton put a little heat on us, but our kids came through. I honestly wasn't as concerned about winning (the region) as I was getting key personnel to the state -- our relay teams and some of our individual performers."

In fact, it was in the field events, particularly the pole vault, where Doddridge County inflicted the most damage on any Grafton hopes for an upset. Junior Lisa Davis won the event, clearing a height of 9 feet, 6 inches. She was followed by teammates Nicole White and Karen Kellar. The Bulldogs won four of the five relay events to seal their 12th regional title in 13 years.

Doddridge County's boys team also continued its dominance, with its ninth title in 10 years. Like their girls team, the Bulldogs capitalized on the relays, winning the shuttle hurdle, 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays.

"I don't think these kids ever take anything for granted," Doddridge County boys coach Rick Coffman said. "I think that's where we're pretty fortunate.

"I think the kids feel pretty confident every time they step out on the track, but they never take any meet lightly. I think we have a good shot at finishing somewhere in the top five next week."

Gilmer County's Dusty Dent had the most impressive individual performance, winning the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Lincoln's Carl Gable won the discus (145-9) and the shot put (44-5.5)

As anticipated, Grafton's girls dominated the distance events. Sherri Flohr won the 800 and 1,600, while teammate Heather McDaniel won the 3,200. Grafton's Ginny Keener won the 100 meter dash. Bridgeport's Theresa Melko and Lacey Hill won the discus and shot put, respectively. The Indians' 4x100 relay team won with a time of 52.7 seconds, while Liberty's Maura Nelan won the 100 meter dash.

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.

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