Villanueva, Smith Earn All-State Honors

It was a hot, humid day in Greensboro on Friday, and three Viking Track and Field athletes competed for individual titles in the NCHSAA 1A State Championships on the track at North Carolina A & T.

Alex Villanueva began the day for the Vikings, competing in the first event of the meet, and soaring over 5’10” on the high jump on his first attempt.  Alex was unable to clear 6’, tying the sophomore for 10th in the event, just outside of All-State recognition.

Villanueva then had a short amount of time to get himself ready for the preliminary heats of the Men’s 110m Hurdles, using the thirty minutes to stretch and mentally prepare himself for his next event.  Villanueva fell behind early in the race, and battled his way through, stumbling over the final hurdle and barley edging out the runner to his left for the fourth and final qualifying spot in the 110m hurdle finals.

In the other preliminary race of the day involving an Avery athlete, Caroline Crenshaw competed in the 300m hurdles.

Crenshaw battled tough, striding step for step and finishing fifth in the heat, just outside of finals qualification.

The day continued to get hotter, as did the action on the track, with the sprint preliminaries taking place throughout the morning.  As the morning continued, a number of Western Highlands Conference athletes were also performing well in their respective events.

The afternoon session got underway, and quickly Villanueva was poised and ready to begin his final race of the day, drawing the 8th lane for the spot in the finals.  Alex exploded out of the blocks, attacking the course, and earning a 7th place finish and taking home an All-State finish.

Mary Chesnut Smith finally took the track after a long day of anticipation, competing in the women’s 1600m run to open her state competition.  Smith paced herself through the opening laps, and as she came into the final lap, she was sitting in 7th position crossing the line for the bell lap.  Smith battled tough, pushing her way through the field, and finishing just tenths of a second behind Kristen Stout of Hendersonville for 4th position in the event.

Smith then waited patiently once again for the final event for Avery on the day, the women’s 800m.

The race opened, and Smith lagged back to feel out the competition, but entering the final lap she pushed forward, and as the runners made their way down the back stretch to finish 2nd in the event and garner her second All-State honor of the day.

Following the meet, first year Viking Track and Field coach Hannah Trice stated, “I have realized in my first year of coaching that the class you are in has nothing to do with your performance; what determines the outcome of your performance is the passion, dedication, and the ability to set a personal goal; and then go out and reach that goal.

“[Alex and Mary Chesnut] were outstanding.  They are both very well rounded athletes and show true dedication and passion no matter what sport or event they are competing in.”

“Caroline performed well and held her own,” continued Trice.  “We are very proud of all our athletes this season and look forward to next season.

Other local athletes making a splash at the State level:

Danica Huskins of Mitchell competed in three events for the Mountaineers, placing with All-State honors in all three.  Huskins placed 7th in the 100m and 200m sprints, while bringing home a 4th place finish in the 400m to earn All-State.

Congratulations to all of these fine young local talents!


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