High school athletes statewide are vying for podium finishes at this week's WVSSAC State Track and Field Championships in Charleston.

A different-look WVSSAC State Track and Field Championships commenced Wednesday night at the University of Charleston Stadium's Laidley Field.

Due to considerations because of Covid-19, this year's state meet will cover parts of four days instead of the normal two-day span. The Class A portion began Wednesday night with finals in the 400- and 3200-meter runs for both girls and boys. Subsequent evening sessions for the 400 and 3200s will be held for Class AA (Thursday) and Class AAA (Friday.) The 400s for girls will begin at 7:10 p.m. nightly, followed by the 400s for boys at 7:20 p.m. The 3200 for girls will follow at 7:30 p.m., then the boys 3200 will leave the line at 7:50 p.m.

The evening sessions will provide some leeway to sprinters and distance runners to prevent them from having to compete too often in a one-day period.

The remainder of the Class A events will be held during the day on Thursday, followed by the double-A on Friday and the triple-A on Saturday.

Each day, competition begins with 11 a.m. field events, and the first running event — the girls 100-meter hurdles — is set for 11:45 a.m.

There will be three short breaks in the daily afternoon schedule, and the final events — the 4x400 relays — are slated to start at 5:30 p.m.

Awards each day are scheduled for a 5:45 p.m. start.

For a complete schedule, visit https://www.wvssac.org/sports-schedules/track/.

The 2020 state meet wasn't held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Class AAA Region 3 team champions, the Woodrow Wilson boys and girls, the Class AA Region 3 team champs, the Shady Spring boys and girls, and the Class A Region 3 champs, the Charleston Catholic girls and the Pocahontas County boys, will lead local qualifiers as they search for success in this week's track and field extravaganza.

Riverside's Carson Casto has the fastest qualifying time (14.87) for Class AAA boys in the 110 hurdles. The Woodrow Wilson boys quartet has the third-best shuttle hurdles qualifier (59.49).

Westside's Daniel Reed leads the qualifying performance lists in both the long jump (21-5 1/2) and high jump (6-3) for the Class AA boys. Bluefield's Jacorian Green has the second-best times in the 100 (11.39) and 200 (23.15).

In the Class AA girls field, Nicholas County's Natalie Barr ran the second-fastest region time in the 800 (2:26.71), while teammate Taylor Winebrenner logged the second-best distances in both the shot put (36-5 3/4) and the discus (115-8).

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First-night Class A placers from Region 3 included Summers County's Ian Gardner's second-place finish in the boys 400 (51.57). In that same race, James Monroe's Braydie Carr (53.25) was sixth.

Also, Richwood's Trey Stanley was fifth in the boys 3200 in 10:29:38.

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Via the WVSSAC Twitter feed, 2021 state meet tickets will be sold digitally and will not be available for purchase at the gate.

General admission is available by clicking the following link: https://gofan.co/app/school/WVSSAC.

— Steve Keenan

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