West J girls, Sugar boys lead local trophy haul

West Jefferson’s Sage Wood anchors the 4x200 team to another state title.

The Sugar-Salem boys won their third consecutive 3A track state championship and sixth in seven years, edging familiar foe Kimberly for another blue trophy and state banner.

Also getting a boys trophy Saturday was Salmon, which placed fourth in 2A. Sugar-Salem also placed third in the 3A girls standings with 68.5 points and West Jefferson and Firth placed second and third in 2A with 87 and 75 points, respectively, in a 2A team trophy race that was as tight as anticipated. It is West Jefferson’s fourth 2A girls track state trophy in four years and third runner-up trophy and Firth’s first trophy since 2015. Melba repeated as state champions with 99 points, but the lead was trimmed to nine after the 400 finals West Jefferson head coach Melinda Schwieder said she congratulated the Cougars on their trophy and Firth head coach Paula Tucker thanked the Panthers for competing at such a high level because it pushed the Cougars.

“It’s gonna be the same thing again next year,” Schwieder said. “To have two teams from the same district place in the top four at state says a lot about the talent in our district.”

Among the massive point scoring efforts by the Panthers and Cougars were three gold medal streaks in relays. McKenzie Sermon, Cambree Hall, Malaika Rogers and Sage Wood gave the Panthers their third consecutive state title in the 4x200 in 1:46.29 and Sermon, Rogers and Wood teamed up with hurdler and sprinter Jordi Holdaway to get a three-peat title in the 4x100 in a new 2A classification record of 49.80, fittingly with a gold baton. All five scored points in their individual finals Saturday as well.

“This is sweeter (than the first two),” said Holdaway, a senior.

“Going into track, I never thought about being a three-time state champ,” said Wood.

Firth’s Kaydee Park, Cassi Robbins, Abby Schiess, Jaylyn McKinnon concluded an impressive year in the 4x400 by repeating as state champions in the event in 4:09.81. They said there were nerves before the start, but they soon went away.

“As soon as the gun went off,” said Robbins.

“It’s been a good year,” added Park.

Marlowe Hereford

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