Tigers' Fields keeps on soaring

Clears more than 7 feet again; aims for lofty 7-2 at state meet

by Mike Nutter


(May 22) BUCKHANNON -- In West Virginia high school track, a high jump over 7 feet has come along about as often as an Indian head nickel.

Elkins' Nathan Fields is changing all that.

The junior high jumper has successfully cleared the mark three times this season. That includes Thursday's jump of 7 feet, 1 1/2 inches for first place at the Class AAA Region II meet and a berth in next week's state meet at Charleston's Laidley Field.

However, Fields has some other goals he wants to meet this year.

"I'm still confident going into the state meet that I can clear 7-2," Fields said. "If I can continue to jump seven feet or higher, I feel like I can have a good chance (to win).

"I know that Woodrow Wilson and Cabell Midland have some really good jumpers."

The Elkins standout also qualified in the 300 hurdles with a fourth-place finish and the 110 hurdles, in which he was second.

Also, Robert C. Byrd's Shonna Hill cleared 5 feet to give her first place and her squad's only berth in the state meet.

"I was really surprised to do that," Hill said. "I knew that there were some really good jumpers here. And for next week, I know that I'll just have to wait and see what happens."

While Hill may have been surprised by her finish, Eagles girls track coach Midge Zinn wasn't.

"Looking at the ratings coming in, I knew what she could do," Zinn said. "I really felt that she could do well here."

Eastern Panhandle schools dominated the 12-team field.

Hedgesville's boys amassed 122 points to finish first, followed by Jefferson County with 99.

For the girls, Jefferson County's 117 points was enough to edge runner-up Martinsburg, with 100.

Both Bridgeport squads finished a respectable eighth.

The Bridgeport girls qualified five competitors for the state meet, while the boys qualified four.

"We walked into here not knowing what the teams in the Eastern Panhandle were going to be like," said Bridgeport girls coach Jim Dawson.

"Those schools are probably the best teams in the entire state.

"It's pretty tough to come here and score points, so I feel pretty fortunate to get five girls in."

Amy Miller led the way with a second-place finish in the pole vault and a third in the 100 meters, while Rachel Burns was third in the 3,200.

For the boys, Zach Brewer qualified in the 110 high hurdles, while Drew Formica, Travis Paul, and Stephen Reed each finished fourth in their respective events to earn slots next week in Charleston.

"We're the smallest AAA school in the state, and we've scored 21 points this year," said Bridgeport boys coach Jon Griffith.

"That's a lot more than we did a year ago.

"I'm real proud of the kids. They worked real hard and I'm really pleased."