Clay-Battelle hosts Rush Invitational track meet

BLACKSVILLE — The Rush Invitational was the first home track meet for Clay-Battelle this spring —-and just the Cee-Bees’ second glance at competition on the season — and junior Addison Ammons was ready to make a statement.

Ammons returns as the top pole vaulter in the state, and proved she’s still got the touch with a meet-record 9-foot-even vault April 6.

“It’s a new meet record, but my PR is 9-6,” Ammons said, speaking of her personal record. “After we hit 7 feet, it was just me, and I had a lot of time in between vaults, so that probably played a part in my performance.”

Ammons is looking to return to top-form as May and the state championship approach. She hopes that the results will continue to improve as she maintains that hard work and sacrifice she put into prepping for the season.

“I’ve just got to keep working,” she said. “I work on the track and off the track; on my days off, I go to WVU and work. I just have to keep practicing.”

Ammons was joined by teammate Hailey Carreon in picking up wins for the Cee-Bees.

“I know I can do better, and I’m really just aiming for states and trying to do better,” Carreon said. “I know I can drop my time at least a second from today’s, and that’s the goal,”

In the field, senior Benji Steele nabbed a win in the discus throw while earning runner-up honors in shot put.

“I’m pretty satisfied, I think I’ll keep improving as the year goes on,” Steele said. “I’m pulling to the right in discus, and I just need to fix my throws where I take a bigger step in my rotation and get it straight. I actually scratched two today.”

Steele’s fellow Cee-Bee thrower Kaitlyn Tennant tallied a pair of top three finishes on the evening, including runner-up honors in shot put.

Full results from the meet will be published as they become available. Clay-Battelle will return to action today, at the Morgantown Invitational, which will open at 12:30 p.m., at Clay-Battelle.

MORGANTOWN HIGH

Junior Tia Akers is about the unlikeliest candidate for a track star there is. However, after all she’s been through, she’s not about to let anything hold her back.

“When I was younger, I had a stroke from MMR,” Akers said, apparently referencing the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. “My freshman year I was a total mess, I wasn’t very good at this. Coach (Steve) Blinco picked me up under his wing and taught me everything I know.”

Akers, who earned sixth in the 100 meter dash and fifth in long jump Friday, also has been diagnosed with autism. Despite the obvious mental and physical hurdles in front of her, she was determined to develop as an athlete.

“I started out at 18 seconds in the 100 meter dash, and now look where I’m at with 15. I never thought I could run as well as I do after the stroke. It’s incredible.”

Akers displays a tremendous work ethic, which, coupled with her resolve and athletic ability, has turned heads across the region and earned her calls from collegiate coaches.

“All summer, she just worked and worked and worked by herself,” said Akers’ mother, Joyce. “She even practices long jump in a gravel at home.”

Akers’ performance in her events was accompanied by many strong finishes from the Mohigans, highlighted by a third place from Tre Barnes in the shot put and a second place from Hunter Schaeffer is the discus. On the girls’ side, Julia Braham earned the top mark in discus for MHS.

MHS returns to action at 12:30 p.m. today, hosting the Morgantown Invitational, at Blacksville.

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