Iron Horses go the distance in second year of track and field competition
It might be the only thing that kept the Philip Simmons High School track and field teams from winning the Class AA state championships.
The Iron Horses certainly proved they have the talent at the recent State Track and Field Championships at Spring Valley High School. The girls’ team finished second to an incredibly talented and experienced Woodland team.
The boys’ team was just as impressive, sharing second place with Landrum, behind state champ St. Joseph.
Next year, the Iron Horses, in their third year of competition, will be more experienced and will improve with age. Time should be on their side. That, with continued hard work and good health, could be the formula for a state title.
The girls’ team looked extremely impressive despite being outscored 113.5-68 by Woodland at the state meet.
“Woodland was deep and experienced,” Philip Simmons coach Bill Muhn said. “We would have won the state championship just about any other year, but Woodland was very good. But they will have significant losses (due to graduation).”
On a weekend of excellent efforts, the one that arguably stood out the most was that of Philip Simmons distance runner Haley Meyers. She was only a seventh-grader and in her first year of track and field. She responded with three state titles, sweeping the distance runs.
Meyers scored gold in the 800-meter run (2:19.57), 1,600-meter run (5:16.76) and the 3,200-meter run (11:59.30).
Her three gold medals earned her South Carolina Coaches Association of Women’s Sports Class AA Runner of the Year honors for Class AA, according to Muhn.
“The sky is the limit for her,” Muhn said. “She’s a phenomenal athlete who works very hard. She asks me before every meet if she can win. She asks on the Wednesday meets and the big meets on the weekend. She has no idea how good she is.”
Muhn said Meyers played soccer in the spring, but did have some success as a cross country runner in the fall, finishing third in the state championships.
Meyers must improve if she expects to successfully defend her crowns. Ava Dobson of St. Joseph was the defending state champ in the 1,600 and 3,200, but missed this year’s state meet because of an injury.
“She will be back next year,” Muhn said of Dobson, who will be a senior. “It will be fun to watch those two next year.”
Najhyrai Watson, who will be a sophomore next year, is another reason to be optimistic.
Watson turned in a national elite “gold” time of 24.49 to win the 200-meter dash at the state meet. She should be a favorite in that and the 100-meter dash next spring.
Muhn, on paper, is the girls’ track and field coach, while Dustin Williams is officially the boys’ coach. But in reality, they share duties and their combined goal is to help each athlete reach their potential.
Muhn sees a lot of positives with the boys’ team, which is led by sophomore Noah Ward. He swept the distance events to lead the Iron Horse boys at the state meet.