Miller, Napier lead Danville girls to fourth place finish

June 06, 2004|JILL ERWIN

LEXINGTON - The Danville girls didn't finish as high in the Class A State Track and Field Championships as they would have liked, but they did still get some strong performances.

Senior Shatoniah Miller closed out her final state meet by medaling in four events, and junior Krystal Napier took home two seconds and a third.

Those performances weren't enough to lift the Admirals to the state title they openly coveted after last week's regional win - Danville finished fourth in the team standings - but they were enough to please coach Sadie Gambrel.

"I'm still pleased," Gambrel said. "Us not getting in the mile relay really hurt us, I think."

Miller finished third in the 100-meter hurdles (16.05 seconds) and the triple jump (33-0 3/4), fourth in the long jump (15-9 1/2) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (50.31). That was an improvement in each event over last year, and Miller said the weather for Saturday's three finals definitely beat the cold, wet surface she fought in Friday's long jump final.


"Yesterday (Friday) was a trip," Miller said. "It was cold and raining, but I just did what I could.

"I'm happy with what I did, but I'm upset because I feel like I could have done better in my two jumping events."

Miller finished 1 1/2 inches out of a tie for second in the triple jump. But even though Miller didn't get the gold medal she wanted, she was a champion to Gambrel.

"I am pleased because she had the attitude of a state champion," Gambrel said. "When you come out, do your best, finish your race or event and give it your all, to me, you're a state champion. That's what she did."

Napier was most pleased with the second-place finish by the 400-meter relay team with a time of 52.31 seconds. She and teammates Allie Payne, Rebecca Jenkins and Andrea Payne had struggled with handoffs during Friday's preliminaries and were seeded fifth for the finals. However, Napier said they had a meeting and got things straightened out.

"We had raced all the girls in front of us and we'd beat them before," Napier said. "I just told them we might as well go home rather than stay here and do this relay if that's all we were going to do. Then we practiced this morning and we were able to get everything together."

Napier was presented with Marines' Sportsmanship Award

The junior also earned the respect of those around the state as she was presented with the Marines' Sportsmanship Award following the meet. The award represented good sportsmanship throughout the year.

Napier took second in the 100 as her time of 12.79 seconds was .1 behind Fulton County eighth-grader Sharika Smith.

Her third-place finish in the 200 was a battle, as her time of 26.46 seconds put her just .03 seconds out second. She drifted back to fourth at one point before rallying.

"Midway through really gets hard for me because I get tired and my breathing becomes more difficult," Napier said. "But usually I'm able to get a push at the end, and that's what I did today. I got a big push."

All but six of Danville's 47 points came from events with Miller and Napier. The Ads were more than doubled in scoring by first-place St. Henry, who finished with 101 points. Bishop Brossart had 75 and Fairview 55.

St. Henry was the only team that finished ahead of Danville that the Ads had seen in person prior to the state meet. Twice the two teams had been at the same meet, and twice St. Henry had come out on top.

Miller said the team would benefit in the future competing against those type teams during the season.

"I think it would help them," Miller said. "That way, you see what they have and it's not just times you see on the Internet. You know what to push for."

Gambrel said Danville ran one of its toughest schedules this year, but she said she would support getting teams like Brossart and Fairview to come to the All "A" Classic Danville hosted for the first time this season.

"Those are people you never get to see, so it would give us an opportunity to run like we would run at state," Gambrel said. "That would help us get prepared."

Danville's 800 relay team of Rebecca Jenkins, Caroline Stroup and Allie and Andrea Payne finished sixth, as did seventh-grader Kayla Brand in the 400.

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