Led by distance double-winner Susanna Sullivan, the George Mason girls track and field team jumped, sprinted, hurdled and relayed its way to a second-place trophy in last Friday’s Region B Championship in Charlottesville. Now sights are set on the Group A State Championship meet, which starts Saturday at Radford University.
Sullivan, a senior, won the 1600 meter race in 5:14.01, a new Region B record. In the 3200 meter race she crossed the finish line almost a full lap ahead of her nearest competitor, posting a winning time of 11:22.73. Sullivan is the defending Group A state champion at both distances and will run for the University of Notre Dame next year. She now holds the Region B record in both the 1600m and 3200m.
Joining Sullivan as a Regional champion was sophomore speedster Chantal Thomas, who won the 300 meter hurdles in 48.55. The versatile Thomas also leaped for 5 feet in the high jump, earning third place.
Senior Karina Robarge was close behind Thomas in the 300m hurdles, finishing second at 49.29. In the 100 meter hurdles, Robarge posted a meet-best time — and Mason school record — of 16.28 in her qualifying heat. She was just a step off that pace in the final, running 16.57, good for third place.
Sophomore Chantel Bailey brought in more points for the Mustangs with a fourth-place finish in the 400 meter dash, running the one-lapper in 1:01.51.
In the meet’s final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay, Bailey, Thomas, Robarge and junior Taylor Moot combined to close things out with a flourish for the Mustangs, taking second in 4:15.86, an improvement of five seconds on their season-best time.
“It was an exciting race,” Mason Head Coach Bianca White said. “A fight to the finish.”
That gave Mason’s girls 62 points overall in the meet, ahead of third-place Chatham (56.5 points). Clarke County took first with 82 points.
“I have a talented team and had faith that they would perform well at the Region meet,” White said. “The team dominated many events, which led to the runner up trophy.”
Because Mason competes in the unusually tough Region B, the five girls who move on to the state meet should be battle-hardened. According to the authoritative track and field website Milestat.com, “It could be a Region B show at the VHSL Group A State Championships, with the Clarke County, George Mason and Chatham girls the top three ranked teams in Group A.”
Several seniors closed out their Mason sports careers at the regional meet. Competing for the boys were throwers Matt Geurtsen and Austin Lucas, as well as hurdler Yusof Becker. Lucas threw his career-best in both the shot put (42’ 5.25”) and discus (124’ 5”). His discus toss measured 10 feet longer than his personal best this season. For the senior girls, Amelia Nystrom got top-10 finishes in both the 100m and 300m hurdles and will travel to the State meet as an alternate for the 4×400 relay team. Meredyth Duncan’s long jump of 14’ 9.25” was her career best and Lydia Fairfax ran the 800 meter race faster than she did at districts.
“They were fierce competitors throughout their Mason track and field careers and will be missed next year,” White said.