There are times when some high school track and field athletes have to go a long way to find tough competition.
Waynesboro’s Jaylen Simmons and Fort Defiance’s Dakota Morris and Zach Boyers never have to worry about that because that competition is always there when they compete against each other in a Valley District meet.
Those three, all of them juniors, met again Wednesday at Waynesboro High School in the first district mini-meet of the season, and they produced some solid performances in the shot put and discus.
Boyers stunned the competition, and even himself, in the shot. He uncorked a school-record heave of 56 feet, 5 inches on his first attempt, eclipsing the old record of 54-81/2 set by Ethan Callison in 2012. Boyers’ throw beat Simmons’ best mark of 47-8, with Stuarts Johnathan Snell taking third (43-51/2) and Morris fourth (41-11).
“I just picked up my speed on the spin and it just popped,” said Boyers, who beat his personal record of 51-4. “That surprised me. I was even a little shocked.”
Simmons was the winner in the discus, doing it in dramatic fashion. After recording marks of 124-9 and 130-3 on his first two throws, he cut loose with a mark of 139-11 on his final throw.
Boyers was the last to throw and it looked like a good one, prompting Simmons to yell, “I hate you!,” which produced a wave of laughter around the throwing circle. But Boyers’ toss was measured at 136-4, meaning Simmons’ throw remained the top one. Morris took third with a mark of 134-0.
“I already had a 130, so I just wanted to put it all together,” Simmons said. “So I just relaxed and let it go, and it was a good one.”
That push to get one last good one is a result of going up against throwers like Morris and Boyers, Simmons said.
“They’re both great athletes,” he said of Boyers and Morris. “They’re great to compete against. It just comes down to who is having the best day.”
Morris and Boyers are pushing each other daily, too, both in the throwing circles and in their football workouts.
“We’re always competing against each other,” Morris said. “He wants to beat me as much as I want to beat him.”
Two more of the area’s best went head-to-head in the meet as Robert E. Lee’s Iyon Oravitz and Waynesboro’s DeVante Robinson faced off in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Robinson drew first blood in the 100, winning in 11.21 seconds. Oravitz was an eyelash behind in 11.25, with Stuarts Draft’s Dylan Lehmann in third in 11.67.
“My coach was telling me all week I had to get a fast start,” Robinson said. “I felt good. I got a chance to run against him and I beat him, so I’m happy.”
Oravitz, the defending Group 2A champ in the 400, also was pleased with his effort against the Little Giants’ speedster, but knows he’ll get faster as the season goes on.
“DeVante ran a really good race,” Oravitz said. “This was my first 100 of the season and I had a good time, and know I’ll progress throughout season.”
Oravitz got Robinson back in the 200, winning in 22.86 to Robinson’s 23.70.
There were several double winners in the competition, won by Fort Defiance on the boys’ side and Wilson Memorial on the girls’.
Girls double winners were the Cougars’ Paetyn Beverley in the shot and disc, Waynesboro freshman Chauncey Johnson in the 100 and 200, and Wilson’s Emilie Miller, who took the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. The Green Hornets swept all three relays — the 4×100, the 4×400 and 4×800.