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Williamstown girls seek 5th straight state track title



Williamstown’s Kyndra Johnson competes in the discus during the Russ Parsons Invitational earlier this season at Parkersburg High School’s Stadium Field.
(Photo by Jay W. Bennett)

WILLIAMSTOWN — One for the thumb. A rallying cry made famous with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early 1980s and an outcome the Williamstown girls track program is trying to attain at this week’s West Virginia High School State Track and Field Meet in Charleston.

This year’s edition has the makings of the kind of drama the previous four have lacked with the Yellowjackets winning by 53 points or more on each occasion. Doddridge County, a bridesmaid in the past three state meets, figures to have a say when all is said and done when the two-day event comes to a close, Saturday at Laidley Field.

“The coaches on our staff got to thinking about the relays – there are several where a school could finish first or drop to sixth because tenths of a second separate,” Williamstown coach Zach Hall said. “It’s all about the handoffs. A couple of events could go either way. Every point helps.”

In the four relays Williamstown qualified at regionals, three are projected to place first. DCHS is tabbed to place in all five relays and win the 4×200.

On the track, Williamstown sprinter Shelby Smith (100, 200, 400) and distance runner Alyssa Sauro (800, 1600, 3200) are strong contenders to win their individual events. In the field events, Kyndra Johnson and Reagan Corbett headline the throws but DCHS has its share of girls who can contribute points in the shot and discus.

“During the season, it’s a grind and we try not to make it too stressful,” Hall said. “I’m a little kid at heart, so that helps with the goofing off.

“Regionals was all about survive and advance. I’ve seen all these girls since they were in middle school – they expect to do well and they have definitely put in the time. This weekend, they are not going down there for social time. They are going down there on business.”

Other Yellowjackets figured to score points include Audrey Lefebure (100), Cassie Sites (1600, 3200), Alexis Wynn (3200), Grace Boone (pole vault), Izzy Zide (pole vault) and Cate Berdine (pole vault).

An array of DCHS athletes also figure into the mix with Payton Currey (100, 200); Payton Trent (200, 400), Destiny Berryman (800, 1600), Katie Cottrill (3200); Jaycee Lipscomb (300 hurdles); Anna Trent (pole vault); A’Kaia Williams (shot, disc); Brooke Burnside (shot, disc); and Jeonah Underwood (disc).

The field is chasing Magnolia’s Jenna Blain in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, while Ritchie County’s Sydney Kopshina has a firm grip on the pole vault. Tyler Consolidated is favored in the shuttles.

The state meet begins at 2 p.m. on Friday.

“When I first started in 2011, I had no clue what I was getting into,” Hall said. “Now there is no way I would go away from coaching girls. They are just unbelievable – they work hard and have fun. They know when to take it serious and when to goof off a little bit.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at

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