Fairview’s Morgan McIntyre and Rowan County’s Laney Stone soared higher than they imagined at Saturday’s Area 7 Track and Field Championships.
Both established stadium records at Rex Miller Track in the final tuneup for regional competition.
McIntyre, a junior, has been battling tendinitis in her left Achilles but turned in a gutsy performance to help Fairview edge Raceland for second place in the girls division behind Mason County.
McIntyre goes to physical therapy twice a week for the injury, which she said causes a throbbing pain that goes up into the calf. She wears a boot except when she’s “running, sleeping or showering.”
In her first event Saturday, McIntyre ran on the Lady Eagles’ second-place 4x200 relay team.
She wasn’t looking forward to racing in the demanding 400-meter dash a little later, but gave it her best and won convincingly in a season-best time of 1:02.38.
McIntyre walked off the track feeling both happy and physically drained, then made a short walk to her favorite event — pole vault.
The three-time state champion summoned more energy and offset the discomfort in her left “plant” foot to clear 10 feet, 6 inches for the stadium record. Her personal best in the event is 11 feet, which she set earlier this season at South Point.
“It’s an accomplishment,” said McIntyre, taking a break on the infield area of the track and soccer complex. “Being hurt and still breaking the record makes me feel confident in myself. I’ve been down a little bit because it’s not fun when you are injured.”
McIntyre wasn’t finished. She came back to run a relay leg in the 4x400 as Fairview picked up a much-needed first place to overtake Raceland for the runner-up trophy.
Senior Paige McKnight turned in a strong anchor leg for Lady Eagles to cap her own outstanding day.
“Coach Stacey let us know before the race that we had to win to get second,” McKnight said. “I was nervous. We were ahead when I got the baton, but it was pretty close. The last 100 meters it was tight until I pulled away from the Mason County girl.”
McKnight took high-point honors in the girls division. She won both hurdle events handily and also captured the 100-meter dash.
“Both have done very well, really a fantastic job,” Stacey said of McKnight and McIntyre.
“Paige is very strong, very fast,” McIntyre said. “She’s having an awesome season.”
Mason County’s girls finished with 138 points. Fairview scored 103, closely followed by Raceland’s 101 among 13 teams.
“We were two points ahead going to the last relay,” Raceland assistant coach Ryan Harper said. “Fairview scored 10 and we scored six with the best time for our 4x400 team (4:31.1). We’re very happy to get third place.”
Members of the Lady Rams team took several photos on the track with their trophy.
“They did an incredible job today,” Harper said. “We scored in almost every event. All season this team has been getting better. They really made a commitment and have followed through with it.”
Raceland got first places from Jonda Williams in the 800 and Makenzi Speaks in the triple jump.
Rowan County’s deep and talented boys team secured another meet title by racking up 166 points to outduel Mason County (150.5).
The biggest excitement came at the high jump pit as Stone became the first athlete to clear 6 feet, 8 inches at Rex Miller Track.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Stone said. “My best in a meet was 6-4 and I went 6-6 in practice one time. It just came together today. My legs felt good.”
Stone also broke Rowan County’s school record of 6-6 that belonged to former standout Sam Mincey. Stone’s brother, Jalen, a senior, placed third in the event Saturday at 6-2 and the two celebrated with teammates and high-jumpers from other teams.
Rowan County coach Roy Wright, who also drove the school bus to the meet, had a twinkle in his eye when talking about Laney Stone’s achievement.
Said Wright: “When we were getting off the bus this morning, Laney turned at the door and said, ‘I’m getting 6-6.’ It was definitely his day.”
Both Stone brothers ran on the winning 4x100 relay. Jalen also took the long jump and the Vikings’ posted six first places overall.
Raceland’s Connor Messer, the boys’ high-point winner, edged out Rowan County’s Zack Kelsey in the pole vault and was runner-up to the Vikings’ Isaac Lee in both hurdle races. Their duel in the 110 hurdles was a photo finish. Messer, who led the Rams to third place, was also sixth in the high jump where Fairview’s Mason Rutherford had to settle for second best at 6-6.
Earlier, Rutherford sparkled in the triple jump by sailing 43-1.75.
“I’ve been practicing with a coach from South Point and came in knowing I had improved,” Rutherford said. “I went from 40-10 to this. I felt good today, but I didn’t expect what I actually jumped.”
Rutherford also placed second in the long jump.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2671.