“Big-11” Athletes Shine In VHSL State Track And Field Championships

As high school spring sports wind down for the 2022 campaign, Roanoke-area “Big-11” track and field teams ended the year across the state with numerous state championships over the weekend.
Cave Spring’s Jessica Palisca finishes with a final kick in her 800-meter state championship run Saturday at Liberty U. She also won the 1,600-meter title earlier in the day. (Rhonda Ihlenburg photos).

The Glenvar girls once again took the Class-2 team championship held at James Madison University as the Highlanders outscored second-place Strasburg 75-63 to complete a sweep of this year’s indoor and outdoor Class-2 titles.

Glenvar standouts Carly Wilkes and Sydney Loder once again provided the push, with Wilkes winning individual titles in the 800-meter (2:17.62) and 1,600-meter (4:49.39). Loder, daughter of coach Bekka Loder, won individual championships in the 100 hurdles (15.37) and 300 hurdles (46.67). Glenvar also won the 1,600 relay (4:13.23) and Loder added to the Highlander point total with a second-place finish in the high jump.
In the Class-3 championships held at Liberty University, Cave Spring rose to the top among “Big-11” squads in both the girls’ and boys’ competitions. Knight senior Jessica Palisca won individual state championships in the 800- meter (2:15.89) and 1,600-meter (4:59.31). Adding to her previous state titles in track, Palisca became the most decorated runner in Cave Spring High School history according to head coach Tommy Maguire. Palisca also anchored the Knight girl’s 4X400 meter relay team that finished 4th, with Bella Cavicchio, Lauren Mather and Aubrey Hertzberg also passing the baton to round out the 4-girl team. On the boys’ side, senior Skylor Griffiths, a member of the 2021-22 Cave Spring state championship basketball team, took the individual state title in the high jump, crossing the bar at 6ft-5in.
Cave Spring 4X400 relay anchor Jessica Palisca (bib 200) gets the baton from Aubrey Hertzbrg (195) Saturday afternoon in the Class-3 state championship.

In Class-4, also at Liberty, Salem’s Peyton Lewis won the 100-meter dash in 10.62 seconds.

In the Class-5 state competition held at Todd Stadium in Newport News, Patrick Henry junior Carmelo Taylor won individual state titles in both the 100-meter (10.62) and 200-meter (21.56) while Patriot Evan Langhammer won the pole vault by clearing the bar at 15ft-0. William Fleming’s Micah Jones took the individual state title in the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.29 seconds. Give Jones an award for perseverance after winning despite breaking both wrists in an accident last week.
Bill Turner

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