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East's Hunter breaks 3 state records

by Jim Vertuno


(May 31) CHARLESTON -- There was no stopping Holly Hunter's assault on the state record book Saturday.

Hunter, a diminutive, freckle-faced sophomore from East Fairmont High School, set state records in the 1,600- and 800-meter runs, giving her three records at the state high school track meet at Laidley Field. She broke the 3,200-meter record Friday night.

By the end of the meet, Hunters' performance was being considered the greatest individual effort since James Jett of Jefferson set three state records for the 100- 200- and 400-meters in 1989. All of Jett's records still stand.

"I told her she didn't have any competition (in the 3,200 and 1,600) and to just pay attention to her times," said Hunter's coach and mother, Sally Hunter.

"I told her I wouldn't be upset if she didn't win the 800 but now I think I'm going to cry," Sally Hunter said.

The mother and daughter train together. Sally Hunter was a hurdles specialist in college at Salisbury (Md.) State.

Hunter's time of 5:05.12 in the 1,600 shattered the record she set in 1997 by almost 4 seconds.

"I enjoy the 1,600 more that any other race so I really wanted to go out there and win it," Hunter said.

Hunter's record in that race came barely 12 hours after she broke the 16-year-old record in the 3,200 Friday night.

Hunter capped the meet with a come-from-behind victory in the 800-meters with a time of 2:17:35, beating the old mark of 2:17.57 set by Huntington's Molly Pancake in 1989.

In the 800, Hunter pulled from the middle of the pack to trail only Elkins' Ariel Davis with about 300 meters left. With about 200 meters to go, Hunter found a final kick to overtake Davis and take the race.

"I was just trying to get first. I don't even know what the record is," Hunter said.

Hunter has finished no lower than second each time she ran the 800 this season, her mother said.

Ritchie County's Erin Richards won the first girls Class AA state pole vault championship with a vault of 8-6.

Because this is the first year the pole vault was sanctioned as an official girls event, Richards' mark will stand as a state record.

In the team standings, Parkersburg won its third straight girls Class AAA title.

The Big Reds led in total points going into Saturday's events and never looked back as Caroline Fleek dominated the 400-meter run with a time of 57.93, more than a full second ahead of DuPont's Ciara Chic.

"I thought the race would be closer, but I always run the first 200 hard and when I saw no one was near me at the (final) turn, I knew I had it won," Fleek said.

Fleek also placed second in the long jump and third in the 200-meters to help pace Parkersburg to its 10th state team title since 1975. Parkersburg became the first AAA girls team to win three consecutive titles.

Cabell Midland successfully defended its Class AAA title to claim its third consecutive boys championship.

Jack Chapman led Cabell Midland by winning both the shot put (54-6 Saturday) and the discus (161-5 on Friday).