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Eagles could place in team race

by Rob Peirce

SPORTS WRITER

Next week, Robert C. Byrd could be finding out that the sum of the parts can equal a rather large whole.

The Eagles boys team is sending six to the state meet May 25 and 26 in Charleston. Together, it could mean placing considerably high as a team.

"We'll place," coach Bob Steele said. "That was the key (in Friday's regional meet) to get enough kids in enough events to where we can go down there and score some points. We could finish as high as second. I don't think we have enough depth to get first, but we can make a run for it."

The Eagles will field the 4x200-meter relay team (Tony Shade, Bobby Buffey, Tyjuan Wright and George Shehl), Joe Bowie (pole vault), R.J. Coleman (shot put and discus), Buffey (100- and 200-meter dash) and Shade (long jump, 110- and 300-meter hurdles)

Of course, the biggest individual threat for RCB is Shade, who won the 110s and long jump Friday. Shade said his best chance at a state title will be in the 110s, but he won't stop there.

"I think I can really break two state records," he said.

Shade, who took high point honors Friday with 29, could place RCB single-handedly, Coleman said. With the help of others, the Eagles could be a team to watch for.

"Tony might get 30 himself this year," Coleman said. "I'm just going to pitch in and try to get as many as I can. Then we'll take Bobby down and try to get the relay in, and we might have something."

Friday, Shade lost for the first time this year in the 300s. But he still qualified for states by placing second.

Steele said he's glad Shade got it out of his system.

"It couldn't have happened at a better time," Steele said. "Better here (at regionals) than at the state meet. I already know how he's going to run the race. We've already talked about it. (Friday) he didn't run that. But I would hate to be (Shade's) competition (in the 300s at states)."

RCB's girls team made some noise Friday as well. Four individuals qualified for states, the most impressive being freshman Celia Gottschling, who took the regional competition by storm, winning the 100- and 200-meter dash.

"I really didn't expect to get first in both events, because there was a girl from East Fairmont that's really good, and I've never beaten her (before regionals)," she said.

Gottschling's performance also surprised her coach, considering this is her first year of high school track.

"Both her time in the 100 and the 200 were her tops," RCB girls coach Midge Zinn said. "She broke her record. The thing is, it's not work for her. It's fun; she's a natural. And I hope she never ever figures out that it's work. She smiles the whole time."

Gottschling will be joined at states by her sister, Liann (100- and 300-meter hurdles), Stephanie Hatfield (1,600- and 3,200-meter run) and Britney Amodio (pole vault).

Sports writer Rob Peirce can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com.

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