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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK NOTEPAD: Off season work pays off for Knights

The Spotsylvania track and field team has been training since December, but the Knights weren’t able to perform what they’ve learned until last Saturday.

First-year head coach Charles Sayers likes what he saw at the Shoot The Gun & Run Invitational at New Kent High School.

Spotsylvania’s boys finished seventh out of 12 teams. The girls placed eighth out of nine teams, but Sayers said he still saw progress in a group that only had seven athletes in 2013.

“It was nice to be able to get out there and just run and throw and jump and see where we stand,” said Sayers who was a Spotsylvania assistant coach the previous three years. “Now we know how to really go back to the drawing board. We’ve got a good base to go even further.”

The Knights, as well as the other four schools in Spotsylvania County, don’t have an indoor track and field program. So they began preparation for the outdoor season with one practice session per week in December. They went up to two days a week in January and three in February.

It’s paid off for a few of the athletes, especially senior jumper Nicholas Smith. Smith placed second in the long jump (19–10) on Saturday and third in the triple jump. His triple jump leap of 40 feet, 4 inches set a new personal best.

“For the first meet, that’s pretty awesome,” Sayers said. “He definitely put in a lot of work in the offseason to develop his jumping.”

The Knights girls have more than doubled their participation from 2013, going from seven to 16 athletes. They’re led by Sophomore Ayanna Sims, who was an all-Battlefield District and all-Region I performer in the 100 and 200 last spring. Sims , placed fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200 on Saturday.

“She’s just a heck of a runner and a really good competitor,” Sayers said. “When she gets out there, she wants to win.”

The Knights will be back in action next Wednesday with a dual meet against Caroline.

—Taft Coghill Jr.