By MARK PIFER
ELKTON — Kiante Barber became the most decorated athlete in Covington High School track history here Saturday.
The Cougar boys team, however, came up 14 points short of a state title.
Patrick Henry-Glade Spring held off Covington 101-87 to win the Group 1A state track team championship at East Rockingham High School.
Barber won three more individual state titles — 100 meters, 200 meters, triple jump — bringing his total to six with still his senior year to go, and scored a meet-high 46 points.
His third straight 100 meter title and his second consecutive 200 crown were expected, with the triple jump win coming as a surprise.
Barber, seeded third, jumped a school-record 46 feet, 11 inches, to edge classmate, teammate and best friend K.J. Moore, who went 46-8 on his final jump.
Both broke the state meet record, with Barber’s leap clipping Andy Carroll’s Covington’s school-record jump of 46-10 in 1990.
“The triple jump, I had no idea I could bust something like that out,” said Barber. “They kept telling me, you have to do this for your team. You and K.J. have to go 1-2 in the triple jump, you have to get in that second spot. It’s the best jump I’ve ever had.”
Barber just started triple jumping early in May and the battle between the teammates was edge-of-the-seat stuff.
“That triple jump competition this morning was amazing,” said CHS coach Ray Sullins. “That PH (Patrick Henry) kid had thrown a 45 (foot jump) in there. If we hadn’t had that 1-2 finish there, it would have been even tougher the rest of the day.”
Barber was a bit shocked and even a bit upset about surpassing Moore.
“If K.J. wasn’t there I guarantee you I wouldn’t have jumped as far,” Barber said. “He pushes me to my best.”
Barber ended the weekend with three firsts, two seconds and a third.
“It’s been a good two days,” Barber said. “I set high expectations for myself, I was really confident in the 100 and 200.”
Moore had five all-state efforts, including runner-up spots in both the triple, the 4 x 100 and the 100 meters to Barber, and a third in the 200, scoring 29 points.
“My two days went pretty good,” said Moore. “I jumped a bunch of spots (from seed times) in my 100 finish. The triple jump, as long as my teammate won it, it wasn’t a big deal. I’m happy for him.”
Amir Young and Josh Roldan completed the Cougar scoring with 10 and two points respectively.
The Cougars were nipped by .05 seconds in the 4 x 100 meter relay, but Young bounced back in the 400, running a personal best 51.47 and nearly pulling a huge upset.
Young was seeded 7th in the race, but finished second, just .13 seconds behind winner Will Layman of George Wythe.
The turnaround from the 4 x 100 to the 400 is one of the toughest in track. It was fueled by a little bit of pent-up emotion on Saturday.
“I basically used the 4 x 1 anger really,” said Young. “It kind of sucks, being ranked No. 1 all season (in the 4 x 100) and to lose it at the state meet. I just used that in the 400.”
The top three boys teams in the meet came from the West region with Auburn placing third.
Although disappointed, Sullins said his group did about all they could do.
“We competed great today,” said Sullins. “You can’t really complain about anything. We had a lot of good times.
“The great thing is I think we were about 10 points over what our performance list had us at,” he added. “And it ends up PH is about 10 points better than what they had going in. PH has indoor track and we don’t so they are able to get some work on some things that might have been able to help us in a few of those events. Just how tough is our region? The top three teams come from the West. Just the fact that we had to score 87 points to be second. Normally 87 in any other year would win.”
The Covington 4 x 400 relay team — Brady Groves, Trevor Miller, Roldan and Ahmir Smith — finished 13th (3:55.30), while the 4 x 800 team — Ethan Forbes, Miller, Smith and Groves — was also 13th (9:07.00).
The good news for Sullins is that all four point scorers for the Cougars will be back next spring.
Barber had a message for the competition as he walked away late Saturday afternoon.
“All of the other teams have some seniors that are graduating and congrats to them, it’s an awesome accomplishment to be out here, to make your way out of high school and hopefully to bigger things,” Barber said. “But we will definitely be back here next year and I guarantee Covington is going to bring home a state title next year.”
Tiffany Burr closed out her outstanding Cougar running career, while Lauren Gillespie, part of the talented CHS Class of 2018 track contingent, won all-state honors for the second straight season.
Gillespie placed 7th in the 200 meter finals, while Burr, running on a bad leg, finished 11th in both the 1,600 (6:09.95) and 3,200 (13:12.97).
“Tiffany had a great running career for us in both track and cross country,” said Sullins. “She’s been the leader of that distance group. And it will be great to have Lauren back for another season.”
BOYS TEAM RESULTS
1. PH-Glade Spring 101
2. Covington 87
3. Auburn 72
4. Mathews 37
5. Stonewall Jackson (Quick.) 33
(36 teams scored)
BOYS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS w/CHS PLACE WINNERS
100 Meter Dash: 1. Kiante Barber (Covington), 11.09; 2. K.J. Moore (Covington), 11.31; 3. K’Vonte Moore (Essex), 11.43; 4. Connor Buchanan (PH-Glade Spring), 11.47; 5. Jackson Cruise (PH-Glade Spring), 11.55; 6. Mason Jefferson (Charles City), 11.64; 7. Tim Johnson (Essex), 11.69; 8. Jalen Augcomfar (Sussex Central), 11.87
200 Meter Dash: 1. Kiante Barber (Covington), 22.38; 2. Conner Buchanan (PH-Glade Spring), 22.69; 3. K.J. Moore (Covington), 22.85; 4. Jackson Cruise (PH-Glade Spring), 23.31; 5. K’vonte Moore (Essex), 23.33; 6. Kaelan Sorrells (Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg), 23.36; 7. Jalen Augcomfar (Sussex Central), 23.42; 8. Mason Jefferson (Charles City), 23.45
400 Meter Run: 1. Will Layman (George Wythe), 51.34; 2. Amir Young (Covington), 51.47; 3. Kaelan Sorrells (Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg), 51.58; 4. Adam Ketron (Eastside), 52.10; 5. Brandon Justice (Auburn), 52.45; 6. Shaun Campbell (Luray), 52.52; 7. Austin Mooney (Chilhowie), 53.47; 8. Jalen Foster (Cumberland), 53.74
4 x 100 Meter Relay: 1. Patrick Henry-Glade Spring, 43.67; 2. Covington (K.J. Moore, Josh Roldan, Amir Young, Kiante Barber), 43.72; 3. Essex, 43.98; 4. Sussex Central, 44.60; 5. Charles City, 44.67; 6. George Wythe, 44.78; 7. Luray, 45.27; 8. West Point, 45.89
High Jump: 1. Stuart Anderson (Mathews), 6-5; 2. Ja’Twon Hence (King & Queen), 6-4; 3. Kiante Barber (Covington), 6-4; 4. Tanner Johannsen (Middlesex), 6-4; 5. Raymond Hoskins (J.I. Burton), 6-2; 6. Luke Lawson (Eastside), 6-0; 7. Gavin Jenkins (Rappahannock), 6-0; 8. Traven Rice (Northumberland), 6-0
Long Jump: 1. Tim Johnson (Essex), 22-7¾; 2. Kiante Barber (Covington), 22-2¾; 3. Alex Davenport (PH-Glade Spring), 21-10; 4. K.J. Moore (Covington), 21-6¾; 5. Isaiah Ramsey (Fort Chiswell), 21-6½; 6. Ellis Robinson (George Wythe), 21-1; 7. Kahorie Batten (Surry County), 20-5; 8. Jerquist Morris (Northumberland), 20-2
Triple Jump: 1. Kiante Barber (Covington), 46-11; 2. K.J. Moore (Covington), 46-8; 3. Connor Buchanan (PH-Glade Spring), 45-2; 4. Stuart Anderson (Mathews), 43-8½; 5. Jordan Stout (Honaker), 43-5½; 6. Tanner Johannsen (Middlesex), 42-9; 7. Isaiah Ramsey (Fort Chiswell), 42-7¾; 8. Brad Taylor (Mathews), 41-5
GIRLS TEAM RESULTS
1. Auburn 100
2. PH-Glade Spring 54¾
3. Northumberland 44
4. Radford 38
5. Eastern Montgomery 37
T32. Covington 2
(35 teams scored)
GIRLS INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
200 Meter Dash: 1. Chelsea Blagmon (Essex), 26.01; 2. Talasjah Weathersby (Galileo Magnet), 26.12; 3. Destiny Sweeney (Eastern Montgomery), 27.27; 4. Amber Lee (West Point), 27.37; 5. Maggie Buchanan (PH-Glade Spring), 27.44; 6. Destiny Neff (Stonewall Jackson-Quicksburg), 27.92; 7. Lauren Gillespie (Covington), 28.02