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RCB's Shade on track for strong showing

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

CHARLESTON -- It was almost the beginning to a disastrous end for Robert C. Byrd's Tony Shade. Shade, the Eagles standout hurdler, was the favorite in the Class AAA 110 high hurdles and legitimate contender for high-point honors.

On the first trial run of the 110s, Shade got out to a big lead over the rest of the field and was out front, coasting. However, Shade clipped the eighth hurdle, stumbled, but caught himself to still finish first in his heat with a qualifying-best time of 15.46 seconds.

"I thought for a second I was going to lose it right there," Shade said. "I guess it's good to get it out in the trials."

Even then, Shade was still better than anyone in the 110s on the first day of the State Track and Field Meet at Charleston's Laidley Field. He's also a favorite in the 300 intermediates and could factor greatly in the long jump.

"I was racing against two of the top four (in the 110s)," Shade said. "I was getting an idea of what I'd be against (today). I was really interested in seeing the kid from South Charleston (Scott Kautz).

"I didn't finish real strong, but I think I still got a pretty good lane for (today)."

Last season, Shade finished second in both the 110's and 300 hurdles. This time he said there's a little more pressure and more at stake.

"This is it," he said. "I'm a senior and this is my last chance. If I don't do it now, I'm not going to."

-- STRONG SHOWING: Bridgeport's Josh Nicewarner got the Indians' boys team out to a solid start. The senior shot put thrower placed fourth in the event with a throw of 48-feet-0.5. Girls teammate Theresa Melko placed third in the discus with a throw of 114-11.

-- STILL FEELING CONFIDENT is Robert C. Byrd's R.J. Coleman. Despite a disappointing seven-place showing in the discus, Coleman, the favorite in the shot put, still likes his chances in the event today.

"It was awful," Coleman said of his performance in the discus. "That's all right, though. I've got all night to think about the shot put. I think I can go 55 (feet) (today)."

-- BACK ON THE TRACK: Notre Dame junior Kenny Beerbower returned to distance running following a back injury which kept him out of competition for more than a year.

Beerbower placed fourth in the 3,200 meter run.

-- FOURTEEN AND COUNTING: Fayetteville phenom Jessica Taylor continued her domination of the distance events at the state meet.

Taylor won the 3,200 with a record time of 10:59.2, giving her 14 state titles, including her four cross-country crowns. Taylor will compete today in the 800 and 1,600 events. She is a three-time winner in both.

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

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