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WCMS track finding success

The WCMS track eighth graders are having plenty of fun this season (Painted Barn Media photo)

When Scott Pritt and James Saldana started helping with the WCMS track program, they knew there was plenty of speed in Warren County. They just had to go find it. After leaving the subsectionals with 13 athletes holding bids to next week’s sectional tournament, it’s safe to say Warren County’s speed has been found. The rest of the state will try to keep up next week.

Leading the pack of impressive track athletes at WCMS this year is the boys 4x400 relay team, which claimed a victory at TMSAA 3AA Subsectionals at Riverdale. Isaiah Robledo, Lee-Allen Esparza, Elijah Mietling and DeJames Lewis paced a field of eight teams with a time of 3:52.40, topping Rockvale by nearly a second at the line. Their winning time at subsectionals is currently the best time of any of the 15 teams who have qualified to run at next Monday’s sectional event in Dickson.

While the 4x400 boys were the lone winners for WCMS in Murfreesboro, the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers had plenty of top-five finishes (the cut-off for advancing to sectionals). There were individual standouts and team runners making their bids for top spots.

Ariyanna Rippy showed she could fly in the 400, finishing second in Murfreesboro. The long strider turned in a time of 1:03.68 to finish second to Oakland’s Amaya Nash (1:01.61). Rippy’s time is a standout number considering Katie Toney broke the 400 record at Warren County High School last year with a time of 1:03.65.

Rippy was also part of 4x200 and 4x400 girls teams who qualified for sectionals with fourth-place finishes. Rippy teamed with Bernice Almaguer, Breanna Iverson and Maya Reagan to run 1:58.22 in the 4x200, while Rippy, Reagan, Stacey Bonilla and Avery Womack ran 4:41.19 in the 4x400.

Other Lady Pioneers who have been involved in the 4x200 and 4x400 this year for Warren County include Claire Hale, Ellis Crosby, Biara McKinley, Abigail Bundy and Mary Lou Margeson. The WCMS coaches have been looking to mix and match for the best speed all year, which looks like they have found as the state tourney looms.

Luke Saldana was also right in the mix for a win at Riverdale. Luke took second at subsectionals, flexing his muscles with a 41-foot, eight-inch toss. He was one of only two competitors to clear 40 feet at event (and just one of three competing in next week’s sectionals with a 40-plus foot qualifying toss).

Luke nearly grabbed a bid in discus as well. His 100-foot, four-inch heave at subsectionals finished sixth, just 15 inches from advancing.

Samantha Saldana, Luke’s twin sister, just missed qualifying in shotput and discus, finishing seventh and 11th, respectively, in the events at Riverdale. Ana Sifuentes (seventh, shot put) and Madelyn Kesey (eighth in shot put, ninth in discus) also had great days throwing for the Lady Pioneers at subsectionals.

Lewis and DeShawn Adams were the other individual qualifiers for the Pioneers at subsectionals. Lewis ran the 400 in 57.34 seconds, good for fourth in the eventh. DeJames is the younger brother of Devans Lewis, who set the WCHS school record in the 400 last year (52.81 seconds).

Adams, a big-time performer on the hardwood for WCMS this winter, showed out in the high jump. He was one of four jumpers who tied for third with a leap of 5-foot-2, earning him a bid to Dickson next week. Keyton Reno just missed the cut in the high jump, finishing in seventh by clearing five feet.

Rounding out the bids for WCMS at subsectionals was 4x200 boys relay team, made up of the same four who blazed the path in the 400. Robledo, Esparza, Mietling and James ran a time of 1:41.22 in the 200, finishing fourth at the event.

The WCMS track team will be looking to punch tickets to the state tournament Monday when the group competes in Dickson. Just a year ago, Pioneer Dyson Elam won the TMSAA state championship in high jump, giving the program a huge boost locally. This year’s state tournament is set for Saturday, May 21 at Franklin High School.

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