West Jefferson, Xavier Prep girls track teams tie in West Jefferson Relays

Pat Mashburn, Contributing writer, March 03, 2011 8:59 a.m.

Many objectives were accomplished at the West Jefferson Relays at Hoss Memtsas Stadium for area coaches who sought to get a leg up on competition before Mardi Gras brought the area to a screeching halt for a few days.

It represented an opportunity for teams to work on fundamentals as well as get a feel for where each stands with half its team present.

With no field events, West Jefferson and Xavier Prep battled in the girls competition neck and neck, finishing in a first-place tie with 40 points, with McDonogh 35 next with 22. With a brisk, cool wind at their backs, conditions proved favorable for faster than usual times.

Cohen captured the boys title with 36 points. McDonogh 35 was second with 32 ,followed by Helen Cox with 21 and St. Augustine with 18.

This was a really good opportunity for us to take a look at half our team and find out just how much work we need to do, said West Jefferson Coach Alvin Mack. I like the fact that we can get a meet in under our belts before Mardi Gras. In looking ahead to the season, we just need to concentrate on getting better with each meet.

The first-place finish by Cohen was an encouraging accomplishment, but Coach Darian Chestnut said his team needs work to continue to place at or near the top in each successive competition.

I’m looking for consistency, and making sure we hit our marks with smooth handoffs, Chestnut said. We came out here to give our young kids a chance to have fun. With this type of meet, because kids are going back to back, they need time to be able to recuperate to avoid injury. We like to be all over with everything, in the field and running events, but this format is fun, too.

That his team did well was not a surprise, but Xavier Coach Don McGhee is expecting a lot more from it. It isn’t a big secret about where his team needs the most work. With an eye cast toward the state meet in May, exchanges were of primary concern.

I was hoping for much smoother exchanges, but they aren’t where I’d like them to be, said McGhee. We finished second at the state indoor meet, so we know what we’re capable of. Conditioning is another area we need to work on. Some of our girls ran out of gas on the 4 by 200, and I want us to be able to finish strong.

With an infusion of youth on the roster, and depth in the field events, McGehee and his team have set lofty goals that he knows are by no means out of their reach.