West Springfield continues relay dominance on first day of state meet

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NEWPORT NEWS, VA — For the West Springfield girls’ 4×800-meter relay team, Friday served as redemption.

In February, at the Class 6 indoor state championships, the Spartans suffered an unexpected blow from the Langley Saxons, whose quartet won the event by three seconds to capture the state title.

The defeat was bitter for the Spartans, and three of them came to Todd Stadium with thoughts of payback.

The Spartans got that Friday morning, as Lexi Stein, Kenza Elakari, Chloe Miller, and Aidan MacGrath won the event in 9:16.16, just ahead of Yorktown (9:18.75).

“Really satisfying,” said Elakari, whose second leg put West Springfield ahead as she made her break on the backstretch of lap 2 and opened a three-second lead before handing the baton to Miller.

Miller, a sophomore, delivered the decisive lap, taking the baton on leg 3 and doubling her team’s lead from three seconds to six, which, according to Coach Chris Pellegrini, was the plan.

“Her instructions were to go out hard,” said Pellegrini, whose team has dominated this relay at the state level over the past decade, winning 12 VHSL Class 6 boys’ and girls’ championships between indoor and outdoor seasons. This was the girls’ first outdoor win since 2013.

MacGrath received a scare on the final lap as Yorktown’s Anna Macon Corcoran, a Duke commit, closed the lead to two seconds heading into the final turn, a fact unknown to the Spartans senior.

“I felt like I was going slow,” said MacGrath. “With about 150 [meters] to go, I saw a bunch of Yorktown runners cheering for Anna, heard her, and realized that she was right there.”

Holding to form, the Spartans boys also won, with Kyle LaJoye, Nasir Banks, Sean Cochran, and John O’Donnell clocking a meet record time of 7:44.42 — more than seven seconds ahead of runner-up South Lakes. Cochran’s final split of 1:55.2 added six seconds to the margin of victory.

Friday’s performance was the boys’ sixth consecutive win in the relay, counting indoor seasons.

Many field events were held on Friday — the meet continues Saturday — but there were no winners among Northern Virginia athletes.

Battlefield’s Brian DiBassinga scored eight key points with his second-place finish in the triple jump (47 feet 4.25 inches) to help the Bobcats bid for a Class 6 boys’ team championship. The Battlefield boys are in second place with 14 points, with West Springfield (12), South Lakes (11) and Potomac (11) trailing close behind.

Viviana Rodriguez of Osbourn Park placed runner-up in the Class 6 pole vault with a leap of 10 feet 3 inches. The Osbourn Park girls sit in fourth place with 11 points.

Reigning indoor track All-Met Athlete of the Year Wisdom Williams of Alexandria City was second in the girls’ discus with a throw of 139 feet 5 inches.

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