* Midlothian's Caroline Bowe was the team's MVP over the VHSL Class 5 Championships
Photo Credit: Mary Ann Magnant/MileStat
By Jim McGrath - MileStat
One of the adjustments forced upon coaches and athletes at this year's Virginia High School League state indoor championship meets came with the decision of which events to try and qualify each standout athlete for.
Unlike other years, when two classifications competed together over a two-day period, the timeframe of the new logistical setup carved each meet's length from a mostly field event-filled Friday evening and six-to-eight-hour program on Saturday to three-and-a-half hours in one morning or afternoon, as the girls competed and left, followed by the boys, who started their meet after a 90-minute clean-up break.
In essence, a 12-hour meet was chiseled into a time schedule similar to the length of an NFL game. In the meantime, the athletes still needed to rest between their events.
But there was still a team title to contend for, and individual state championships on the line. In some cases, a rare window was opened up for some athletes because of the absence of several teams. The question was -- who was willing to be a workhorse for his or her team and how many events can he or she handle?
A prime example of this, exemplified by Caroline Bowe of Midlothian, was during the VHSL Class 5 girls championship on Tuesday. Bowe, a senior, had been among the state leaders in the 1,600 and 1,000 for three years, and in a normal season would be expected to run well in both races.
However, on Day 2 of Class 5, and just like at the other three meets contested at the Virginia Beach Sports Center, there was only one event (the 500m) between these two races. And with only 12 athletes competing in each event, there were not even numerous heats to add to the rest time.
Under the new schedule, Bowe accepted the burden: Run two distance races in a span of 30 minutes.
However, Midlo was considered to be a team favorite, so Bowe trotted out for the 1,600, clocked a winning time of 5:10.97 (her best is 4:57.81), rested for 20 minutes, and then made her way back to the bullpen for the single heat of the 1,000 (above), a race that she also won with a 2:59.05, eight seconds off her best.
Midlothian benefitted greatly from Bowe's 20 points, but it still rested in third-place behind Atlee (75) and Freedom-South Riding (73) with 67 points and only one event, the 4x400 relay, remaining.
* Jada Foreman had one of Virginia's most outstanding performances over the state indoor championships
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Atlee was not entered but Freedom was, so Midlo had to race to win the team title outright, while Freedom could earn no better than fifth.
And with Bowe running leg No. 3, they did win, crossing the line in 4:08.18.
Since Freedom's eighth-place finish garnered a single point to finish them at 74, it was the Chesterfield County team that hauled home the first-place plaque.
Largely because of Bowe's role.
While the senior's triple-win in a 90-minute span was impressive, the performance of Jada Foreman from runner-up Atlee shouldn't have been overlooked, either.
In terms of its size, scope, and impact, it was just as good.
Foreman won the high jump (5-2), long jump (19-2.25), and triple jump (39-0.5), while placing second in the open 55m and 55-meter hurdles. She ran a leg on Atlee's fifth-place 4x200, and as her coach Neil Mathews was quick to point out after picking up the runner-up plaque, she "managed to get us a point (with an eighth-place finish) in the shotput.
However, Midlo was considered to be a team favorite, so Bowe trotted out for the 1,600, clocked a winning time of 5:10.97 (her best is 4:57.81), rested for 20 minutes, and then made her way back to the bullpen for the single heat of the 1,000, a race that she also won with a 2:59.05, eight seconds off her best.
In all, she scored 47 points as an individual and had a hand in four more with the relay.
Oddly enough, Foreman almost did more work for her single shotput point than the 20 earned in the two horizontal jumps, taking all six throws, but only seven jumps (four in long, three in triple).
She did admit to having one advantage.
"Almost all of the events were inside of the track so I could just go from one place to another."
Exhausted but retaining a smile of relief, Foreman also talked about her next season -- volleyball -- which comically enough had already started.
"We have a game tomorrow," joked the middle blocker.
Asked if she would enjoy the break from running, she pointed out "we do way more running for volleyball than most people would think. I keep in pretty good shape."
Amazingly, it was only Foreman's third triple jump competition.
"The coaches told me, you long jump anyway, might as well do the triple," said the multi-purpose athlete, whose options, and visibility, will open up greatly in the spring.
Said Mathews, who was the Lee-Davis coach for 15 years before leaving for "a new challenge" after last year, "we start to look at possibilities in the 200 and 300-meter hurdles. And she's a good 400 runner, so colleges have asked about her as a heptathlete. Spring could be interesting."
Another honorable mention goes to Micayah Holland of Princess Anne. The sophomore won the 55m in a personal-best 6.98, the 300 (40.87), and placed third in the long jump (17-3.5) to score 26 of the Cavaliers 42 points, good for fifth-place.
Albemarle placed fourth as a team with 58 points to round out the top-five.
- Micayah Holland wins 55m in fast fashion
- Over 2,600 photos from the Class 5 Championships
- Aniya Mosley dominates 1K field
- Gallant stuns shot put field
- Watch the girls Class 6 55mH final
- Watch all VHSL Class 4 race videos