Orton hurdles way to two golds, Buckles continues record-breaking streak
Published 12:33 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023
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The Elizabethton boys track and field team knew entering the 2023 TSSAA State Track and Field Championships that they had an opportunity to place athletes on the All-State team for finishing eighth or better but their performance far exceeded expectations as the boys finished sixth in overall team competition with a score of 36 as two athletes earned gold medals during the championships.
Page took the team title with an overall score of 75 followed by Signal Mountain (68), Greeneville (46), Haywood (37.5), Northview Academy (37), Elizabethton (36), Munford (31), and Volunteer (26).
Teddy Orton picked up the first gold of the meet when the senior cleared the 110-meter hurdles on his way to a time of 14.73 to edge Jordan Rutland of Page who crossed with a time of 15.47.
Orton then turned around and lined up for the 300-meter hurdles and once again proved to be golden as he took the race with a time of 40.53. Will Hester of Portland High School finished second behind Orton with a time of 41.02.
It was the third medal of the week for Orton who also claimed third place in the Decathlon, a ten-event competition. Orton finished with 5,381 points, 94 points behind first-place finisher Jace Hodgin of Munford who finished with a total of 5,475 points.
Sophomore Landry Buckles was back in the spotlight once again in the discus as he previously broke a 50-year-old school record in the event held by his coach Jim Presnell in the sectionals.
Buckles continued his impression season as he once again broke his own school and personal record with a throw of 167-8 feet to easily defeat Cole Combs of Page whose toss of 157-3 placed him in second firmly behind Buckles. There was almost a 30-feet difference between Landry and third-place finisher J.J. Durbin of Greeneville.
Kaiya Simmons sprinted her way to a second place finish in the girls 100-meter race with a finishing time of 12.31. Martin Luther King’s Aaliyah Varnado just edged Simmons in a time of 11.95.
Simmons turned around in the 200-meter race and crossed the line in 26.65 tying the school record to finish fifth and claim her second All-State honor. Varnado once again took the victory as she finished with a time of 25.45.
Freshman Jamira Smalls stepped into the shot put pit and with her heave of 34-11.25, claimed a fourth-place spot and All-State. Maplewood’s Carolyn McRee came out on top in the event as she recorded a toss of 37-5.75.
In the Class 1-A State Championship, a pair of Lady Warriors reached the podium in state action finishing in the top eight of their event to gain the title of All-State.
Lady Warrior Marcida Moore captured sixth place in the 100 hurdles in a time of 16.37 to once again earn All-State honors. Janae Bowers of Whites Creek captured the title with a finishing time of 15.60.
In the girls pole vault, Happy Valley’s Aleesha McCurry’s vault of 7-0 was good enough to earn All-State with a sixth-place finish. Fiona Eastman of Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences took the title as she cleared the bar at 11-6, a full three feet ahead of second-place finisher Cadence Marshall of South Greene at 8-6.