Polk County’s track and field seniors made their final home meet a memorable one Saturday, perhaps no one more so than Jake Justice.
The Wolverine boys captured the team title at the 52nd Times-News Invitational, topping an 10-team field to claim the trophy, while the Polk girls finished a narrow second in the competition at G.M. Tennant Stadium.
There were impressive individual efforts everywhere. Polk senior Caleb Potter won the 3200, beating the field by almost 15 seconds, and took second in the 1600 by a tenth of a second to earn the Most Valuable Track performer on the boys side.
Olivia Overholt won both the 800 and 1600 meters and helped the Wolverines’ 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams win their events. The 4×8 squad knocked some 30 seconds off their personal best, and Overholt was named the Most Valuable Track competitor in the girls field.
And then there was Justice, who topped 15 feet in the pole vault for the first time, breaking his school record and becoming the first Polk County vaulter in indoor or outdoor meets to reach that mark.
Justice also won the long jump with a leap of 21-8, topping the field by more than a foot. For fun, he entered the triple jump, an event he hadn’t tried since he was a freshman, and posted a mark of 41-2 1/2, good for second place. For comparison, the school record is 42-5, set by Tyler Landrum in 1999. Justice was named the Most Valuable Field performer for the boys.
Justice also competed in the 300-meter hurdles for the first time and finished fourth with a time of 44.82, just two seconds off the school record.
There were plenty of other Wolverine efforts of note:
- Mariah Overholt, Marissa Twitty and Izzy Jackson finished 2-3-4 in the 400 meters
- Emmie McDowell took third in the 100-meter hurdles and second in the 300-meter hurdles
- Twitty took second in the long jump with a mark of 16-7 1/2
- Mitchell Yoder won the 200-meter dash with a mark of 23.47 and took third in the 100 meters with a time of 11.63. Gage McSwain was third in the 200 and fifth in the 100
- Polk County’s 4×200-meter relay team placed second, just a second behind West Henderson
- Hayden Shumate placed fourth in the discus and shot put
The Wolverines are slated to compete in the WHKP Relays on Wednesday, then the Swain County Invitational on April 24 before competing in the Western Highlands Conference Championships on May 2.
1. A.C. Reynolds 111; 2. Polk County 106.5; 3. Hendersonville 98; 4. Ashe County 76; 5. West Henderson 58; 6. East Henderson 55; 7. Pine Lake Prep 53; 8. East Rutherford 29.5; 9. North Henderson 22; 10. R-S Central 19; 11. Madison 14
1. Polk County 138; 2. West Henderson 102; 3. Ashe County 99; 4. A.C. Reynolds 95; 5. R-S Central 86; 6. East Rutherford 52; 7. Pine Lake Prep 36; 8. North Henderson 17; 9. Hendersonville 16; 10. East Henderson 14