Springfield girls making strides on the track

Springfield’s Naomi Hookfin (right) wins the 100-meter hurdles as teammate Shardnonay Johnson (left) finishes seventh Saturday. GREG BILLING / CONTRIBUTED
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Springfield’s Naomi Hookfin (right) wins the 100-meter hurdles as teammate Shardnonay Johnson (left) finishes seventh Saturday. GREG BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

The Springfield High School boys track and field team boasts state-caliber talent with speedsters Dyier Smith and Quincy Scott.

As for the Wildcats’ girls, they’re starting to close the gap.

“I’m looking for big things out of the girls this year,” Springfield girls coach Anthony Moss said. “This is my fourth year coaching the girls and we’re finally able to field a whole team.”

Once spring break ends, that is. The Wildcats competed at the Jack Lintz Invitational at Northmont High School on Saturday less than full strength with a handful of athletes off for spring break. Moss is optimistic once the Wildcats get into form they’ll be right alongside the boys with potential regional qualifiers.

The Wildcats’ best bet comes in the hurdles. On Saturday, Springfield junior Naomi Hookfin grabbed the Wildcats’ lone first-place finish by winning the 100-meter hurdles in 17.36 seconds. Fairmont junior Emily Galentine was second in 17.6

Springfield junior Shardnonay Johnson was second in the 300 hurdles in 51.79 seconds, trailing only Princeton junior Angel Gazaway’s 49.8. Johnson also finished seventh in the 100 hurdles in 18.2.

Sophomore Tiffany Moss didn’t compete but will also be in the mix as the season gains speed. Junior sprint standout Jakoya Wynn also missed Saturday.

“I have five girls who can all run the hurdles around the same time,” Moss said. “Hookfin is working hard and has a lot of effort in it. We’re looking for big things from her.”

Sophomore thrower Olivia Lawrence had a strong showing in the field events. She finished second in the discus with a best throw of 95 feet, 3 inches and finished fifth in the shot with an effort of 31-7.25.

Freshman Camryn Rakestraw tied for fourth in the high jump with five other competitors who also cleared 4-6.

“It’s building a little bit more,” Moss said of the girls’ program. “It’s just hard on us this week because it’s spring break. We didn’t even have half our team this meet.”

On the boys side, Scott won the long jump in 20-6 and added second-place finishes in the 100 (11.38) and 200 (22.80) dashes. Scott, a junior, finished second to Northmont senior Kameron Gover in both sprints (11.15 and 22.65). Scott won the indoor state long jump championship with a leap of 22-10.5 on March 4.

Smith, also a junior, finished second in the 110 hurdles (15.27). He didn’t quite get his steps down in the 300 hurdles, pushing over the final hurdle instead of going over it, to finish 12th (46.24).

“It’s been a slow day today. This is some of the slowest times I’ve ever ran in my life,” Smith said. “It’s just getting back into the rhythm of outdoor track. It’s cold outside.”

Smith, who finished sixth at state in the 300 hurdles last season, is coming off an indoor season where he won the 60-meter state championship.

“It shouldn’t be that hard,” Smith said of transitioning between the indoor and outdoor season. “But you’re going from 80 degrees indoor and now it’s like 40 degrees here. Your legs get tighter. We’ll just come back to practice on Monday and work on next weekend. … I still plan on winning the outdoor state title. I haven’t met my goal yet.”