CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Gazette/Friends of Coal Relays hasn't always been kind to Kanawha Valley schools in recent years.
In fact, Hurricane's Class AAA title in the 2009 girls meet still stands as the last Relays team championship captured by a school from Kanawha or Putnam county. That pattern seemed to continue during Friday's opening portion of the six-tiered meet, as Kanawha Valley teams won just seven events.
It all changed, however, on Saturday.
Kanawha Valley schools accounted for 19 event victories, giving Charleston-area schools four individual winners of multiple events in the weekend meet. In addition, two athletes earned high-point honors in their respective meets - Anacia Hines of St. Albans (girls AAA) and Dylan Rich of Buffalo (boys A).
One of those double winners was Poca sophomore weight thrower Christian Buckley, who swept the shot put and discus with respective efforts of 46 feet, 6 inches and 156-3.
Those marks fell short of his seasonal bests of 49-11 and 162-81/2, but Buckley was satisfied.
"I would have liked to have crossed 50 in the shot,'' he said, "but it didn't happen for me. Still, I'm happy with my performance.''
Buckley got a bit of a run in the shot, as he beat Westside's James Adkins by just 2 inches. That's unusual for Buckley, who leads all West Virginia AA athletes by more than 3 feet in the shot and more than 16 feet in the discus this season.
"It was nice to see some schools here we don't normally see around the area,'' Buckley said. "I think it's definitely going to help. I haven't had that much competition in the shot for a while, and it was great to see some good throwers.''
The other individual multiple winners for the Kanawha Valley were:
Another impressive effort was turned in by Capital freshman pole vaulter Tristan Slater, who matched his season-high by clearing 13-6 in the boys AAA meet.
"I'm satisfied,'' Slater said, "I wanted 14 feet. I didn't get that today, but I know I can get it the next time.''
Slater and Winfield's Chris Cochran have vaulted a foot higher than anyone else in the state in AAA this season, but Cochran didn't clear any height Saturday.
With his efforts, Slater may become Capital's most-accomplished vaulter since former state champion Jennifer Hansen, who graduated in 2005. It's been even longer since a Cougars boy had that sort of impact in the event at the state meet.