By Keeli Parkey
In a meet that hosted more than 700 athletes and 35 schools, members of the Unicoi County High School track and field team left an impression.
The Tri-Cities Track Classic held at Science Hill on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, was a meet where UCHS athletes saw and competed against some tough opponents, according to head coach Megan Davis.
“I think any chance we get to expose our athletes to high caliber competition is only going to raise the bar for them,” Davis said. “My expectation for our athletes is for them to perform at the postseason level. If I am going to ask that of them, I need to put them in meets where they are going to be rattled, have to compete and have to push themselves. This was that type of meet.”
Blue Devils and Lady Devils returned to Erwin with top-10 finishes from the meet.
Senior Stephanie Wisse turned in the top performances for UCHS over the weekend, winning third place in the 100-meter dash, third place in the 300-meter hurdles and ninth in the triple jump.
The 300-meter hurdle race is a new event for Wisse, having just started competing in it during this season.
“Stephanie’s 300-meter hurdle result was excellent,” Davis said. “She dropped below 50 seconds, which is what we needed her to do. That race is a stretch of endurance. She is doing really well in the event and is enjoying running it. It is an event that she can perform at the state level.”
Senior Cameron Higgins, who signed with Milligan College prior to the start of the season, turned in the most notable result for the Blue Devils – finishing ninth in the discus throw.
“Cameron threw pretty well,” Davis said. “He is performing where we need him to be right now. He is doing a lot to take care of his body. Knowing he has a future college career, he is working to make sure he ends his high school career successfully and is prepared for college. He is putting a lot of work in on his own.”
He didn’t finish in the top-10, but sophomore John Campbell represented UCHS well, including running in a new event for him – the 2,000-meter steeplechase – and setting personal records in other events, according to his head coach.
“John had an amazing weekend,” Davis said. “He has never run the steeplechase before. He did well and had fun with it. He ran personal records in both the 800-meter and the mile. He is doing everything we ask of him. He is turning in huge drops in his times.”
Other UCHS athletes made strides during the event, Davis said.
“Almost all of our athletes set personal records in some way at the meet,” she added. “It was good for them to see such quality competition.”