CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Several brilliant boys track and field careers ended Saturday, but Capital pole vaulter Tristan Slater began his with a bang.
Cabell Midland distance runner Jacob Burcham showed he was untouchable in the morning, but rather human in the afternoon. Buffalo's Dylan Rich tried to squeeze every second out of his distance sweep in Class A.
And Jefferson trucked the Class AAA trophy back to the farthest reaches of the Eastern Panhandle after a trucking of Midland and all other contenders. The Cougars' track dynasty extended to its fourth year, despite suffering a disqualification in the 4x100-meter relay race in the regionals.
"That kind of made me nervous all week," said Jefferson coach Craig Hunter. "Because the 4x1 being ranked No. 1 by a whole second gives you some leeway in case things don't go your way . . . But our kids fought hard today and fought hard yesterday, and they were up for the challenge."
Slater upheld the honor of Kanawha County, which otherwise did not win a boys event in any class this weekend. The freshman raised his personal record by a foot, clearing 14 feet, 6 inches, and he went 2 feet higher than he did last week in the Region 3 meet.
His new pole with a 170-pound rating came in, replacing his 160-pound model. He noticed the difference right away.
"It worked perfect. I just felt natural," Slater said. "A lot more lift, it's a lot stiffer. I needed that, and it shot me up and I made 14-6. Only 6 more inches from making the world qualifier."
Putnam County did a bit better, as Rich, who signed last week to run at Kentucky, won the 1,600 and 800. Poca dominated the discus, with Christian Buckley, brother Quentin Buckley and Jacob Hickman going 1-2-4.
Sophomore Christian Buckley, who won the shot just before that, registered a throw of 159 feet, 4 inches, just short of his personal record of 162-81/2. His shot put of 51-7 was a personal best.
Quentin, a senior, saw this day coming.
"He was destined to just pass me up when he was returning discs for me when he was in fourth grade," he said. "He was throwing back to me when I was practicing for middle school, and that was the beginning of it."
Rich held back a bit in the 1,600, finishing in 4:23.19, but he went hard for the state meet record in the 800. When he dived over the finish line and collapsed, he broke it by a solid 3 seconds, finishing in 1 minute, 56.69 seconds.
"I was talking to Dylan before the race," said teammate Isaiah Robinson, who finished second. "He said he wanted to go as hard as he could, about 1:54. This was his last race in high school ever, so he gave it all he had.''
Rich's 321/2 points gave him high-point honors.
While Rich finished his prep career in style, Burcham suffered a stunning defeat in the 800. He won the 1,600 handily enough early in Saturday's events, but in the 800 he was overtaken down the stretch by Midland teammate Brian Lawhon - and then both got blitzed by Point Pleasant's Caleb Riffle.
Riffle, the son of former Marshall runner Kelly Riffle, finished third in Class AA a year ago, and had to face Burcham when the Big Blacks were reclassified to AAA. Riffle had chased Burcham in plenty of other races, but had never caught him.
"That's crazy. I knew coming into the race that if I stuck with him at the 200-meter mark, I could outkick him," said Riffle, who finished in 1:54.98. "I executed perfectly."