The Radford High School boys are the 2020 state Class 2 swim champions after a one-point win this past weekend.
By Marty Gordon
The weekend meant title town for three of the area’s high schools as the Christiansburg boys and girls and the Blacksburg boys won regional indoor track championships and the Radford High boys won the state swim championship.
In the Region 3D track meets, Kendall Lewis won four events for Christiansburg, en route to winning honors as the Region 3D performer of the year. Lewis took the long jump (17 feet), high jump (5-2), triple jump (33-11) and 55-meter hurdles (8.64 seconds).
Trey Wilson, who won the 1,600 (4:26.33) and 1,000 meters (2:39.61), was named boys region performer of the year.
The Blue Demon girls outscored William Byrd 171 to 77, while the boys knocked off Lord Botetourt 114 to 79 Saturday at Roanoke College.
On the other side of the track, the Blacksburg boys outdueled Jefferson Forest 126-115 for the Region 4D team title. The Blacksburg girls finished second behind Jefferson Forest. Individually, Blacksburg’s Audrey Link won the 1,000 (3:10.92) and 1,600 (5:14.80).
In Region 2/1C, the Auburn boys finished second to Parry McCluer.
In the pool, Radford rolled to the boys state title by one point in Class 2. Radford outdistanced Virginia High 277 to 276. Bruton was third. The Radford girls finished seventh as Glenvar took the win with Bruton in second.
Radford Coach Heather Rowland said this was a title 14 years in the making of her coaching career. “Everything fit together perfectly, every single race, every single breath all fit together in order to create this first ever title,” she said.
This was the boys first state team championship ever, and Rowland attributed it to every single member of the team.
“It came down to the last race of the entire meet and the last swimmer of the 400 free-relay. Every athlete contributed to every single point. It was a nail biter through the last race, the 400 free-relay. We knew we needed to finish two places ahead of Virginia High School in order to claim the title. As we watched it unfold, we could hardly believe our eyes,” Rowland said.
“Each race throughout the morning preliminary helped to place us into the finals. We began the finals on top above Virginia High School and as the meet unfolded, we thought we were doing pretty well. After the 200-freestyle relay, we watched the scoreboard change and we moved into second place,” Rowland said.
It wasn’t until after the hundred backstroke and the hundred breaststroke and the points were scored moments before the 400-free relay that the team realized they were only three points behind Virginia high school after trailing by 27 points a few events before.
“We (Coach Shannon Wohlford, Coach Richard Fisher and myself) realized then that it was 100% possible,” Rowland said. “We knew it would all come down to the last race. All of the teams hit the water, and we knew we needed to be two places ahead of Virginia High School to pull it off. As we watched the race unfold we went through a roller coaster of emotions beginning with thinking it was going to happen easily, then struggling to watch what we thought was a title slipping out of our hands and finally in the last 25 yards of the race watching our dreams come to fruition,” Rowland said.