RC’s Track Numbers Up

Indoor Season Begins At Heritage Saturday For Wildcats

Numbers are up this year for the Rockbridge County High School indoor track and field teams, with 26 girls and 22 boys, but the teams are diverse and young, with several returnees and plenty of freshmen.

Longtime head coach Jennifer Showalter said that the girls’ team is strong in all areas but not as experienced in throwing. The Wildcats graduated Danielle Crawford, who became the school’s first athlete to win a state throwing championship when she won the shot put last winter. Crawford went on to place second in the shot put and discus at the outdoor state meet in June, setting school records in both events, and she is now throwing for the Wing-ate University track and field team in North Carolina.

Leading the RC girls in throwing this year will be senior Emma Lawson, who was a regional qualifier for the outdoor track and field team last spring.

Another one of the Lady Wildcats’ top athletes is senior Haley Pitzer, a jumper and sprinter who competed at the outdoor state meet last spring. Pitzer played basketball last winter.

Several of the RC cross country team members are competing in indoor track, including senior Karalyn Timmes and and her younger sister Megan, a freshman. The Timmes sisters both earned all-district honors to help the Wildcats place second at the Valley District cross country meet this fall before finishing sixth at the Region 3C Meet. Karalyn placed sixth in the 3200-meter run at the outdoor state meet last spring.

Other leaders for the Wildcats will be seniors Halyana Hamilton and Tymeisha Suitte. Hamilton placed third in the high jump in the state meet last winter, and she was also a talented sprinter and relay team member. Suitte is a sprinter and relay team member.

For the RC boys, the lead middle-distance runner is senior Josh Wawrzyniak, who finished 13th in the 1600-meter run at the state meet last winter. Wawrzyniak is coming off a strong cross country season, during which he earned all-district honors. Cross country teammate Kyle Kendall, a junior, also looks to step up in middle-distance races.

Returning throwers for the RC boys are seniors Noah Lawhorne and Isaac Connors. Lawhorne placed seventh in the state meet in the shot put last winter, and Isaac Connors finished 10th.

The Wildcats plan to name captains this week, now that the football season is over. Assistant coach Julie Tisone will coach the distance runners.

Showalter said one of the goals is for the girls’ team to win the Valley District championship. “It is packed with a lot of great talent, just need to utilize everyone’s strengths as we approach Feb. 1 The district meet was a virtual meet last year, with both RC teams placing sixth, but Showalter said it may be an outdoor Polar Bear meet. In the Valley District, Showalter expects Turner Ashby and Spotswood to be the Wildcats’ toughest opponents.

The Wildcats will begin their season with the Wally Gilbert Invitational this Saturday at Heritage High School in Lynchburg. Some of the Wildcats hope to compete in the Virginia Track Coaches Association Winter Classic in Lexington on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Virginia Military Institute’s Corps Physical Training Facility. Last winter, the meet was canceled due to a winter storm. “Hopefully the weather is clear in January so that we can attend a home meet,” Showalter said.

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