Pictured: Broadwater’s qualifiers for the 2021 State Track and Field meet. Front row, L to R – Lindsey Smith, Hannah Davis, Mahika Patel, Grace Johnson. Middle row, L to R — Coach Jim Weir, Braden Carlsen, Michael Brickhouse, Gunnar Gustafson, Reade Nicolls, Ture Gustafson, Clay Wardius, Brant Bloxom, Sammi Yeung. Back row, L to R – Coach Robert Gustafson, Head Coach Eric Hack, Coach Brooke Wallace. Not pictured: Emma Caison, Ally LeCato, Leah Smith.
Gustafson Named State Field MVP; Wardius, Gustafson State Champions
By Robert Gustafson
Broadwater Academy’s boy’s track and field team placed an impressive 4th in the State meet in Richmond on Friday. The girl’s team placed 8th.
Senior Gunnar Gustafson was named the state MVP in field events. The Senior demonstrated his characteristic speed, strength, stamina, and technical skill to score in all six field events – high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, discus, and shot put. He earned All State honors as champion in the pole vault and was named All State honorable mention in long jump.
Senior Clay Wardius earned All State honors by winning the state title in high jump with a school-record leap of six feet three inches. Wardius also placed third in discus and fourth in shot put.
Senior Brant Bloxom, competing in just his second meet ever, earned All State second-team honors in the high jump and also scored in the triple jump. Senior Reade Nicolls placed 8th in the discus, improving his personal best by over ten feet, and threw just out of the scoring in shot put.
The Broadwater boy’s 4×100 relay team entered the meet seeded eight in the state, but surprised the field to finish fourth, missing the school record by less than one second. They scored the Viking boy’s only points on the track but provided one of the most spirited moments of the day for the many Viking fans who traveled from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to support the team.
Gunnar Gustafson bore the baton for the Vikings in the first leg of the race. He and Nicolls executed a nearly perfect exchange and the Vikings were well positioned as Nicolls held his own down the backstretch. Nicolls passed the baton to All Conference cross country runner Junior Ture Gustafson who battled through the turn, passing the stick to anchor runner Wardius. Wardius held off a charging competitor from Trinity Christian School to dip over the line in a credible time of 48.24 and secure the 4th place finish for the Vikings.
The Viking girls placed eight in state, buoyed by strong performances in the field events and hurdles.
The Viking girls started the day by placing three in the top five in pole vault. Senior Hannah Davis placed third and received All State honorable mention accolades. Eight grader Leah Smith placed fourth and senior Sammi Yeung placed fifth. Smith also placed fourth in the high jump with a leap of four feet and six inches. Eighth grader Ally LeCato placed eighth in the high jump.
Junior Lindsey Smith capped a strong year by placing fifth in the 100 meter hurdles with a personal best time of 18.86. Eight grader Grace Johnson hurdled to an eighth place finish. Eighth grader Emma Caison also competed in the 100 meter hurdles, but unfortunately clipped a hurdle with her foot and did not finish the race.
Senior Mahika Patel ran 14:39, her best performance of the season, in the 3,200 meter run but placed just out of the scoring.
The State Meet concludes Broadwater Academy’s track and field season, but Coach Eric Hack is already preparing for the fall cross country season.