The Glenvar girls’ indoor track team won the Class 1 & 2 state championship last Wednesday, March 3, with some outstanding performances at Liberty University. The meet was the first held “indoors” after the Highlanders were forced to compete in outside “polar bear” meets during the COVID-abbreviated season.
“Back in December I didn’t know if we’d even have a season,” said Glenvar coach Bekka Loder. “I thought if we saw a meet or two this season, that will be an added bonus and they’ll be ready. I truly didn’t know what that would look like when we started conditioning back in October but my main focus was for the athletes to have an outlet during this difficult year. They needed it and I never changed the way I coached and moved forward as if they would have a season, or at least get them ready for “Fall or Spring” sports.
The girls had two state champions, as Carly Wilkes won both the 1,000 and the 1,600 along with setting a new state meet record for both events. Wilkes had a time of 3:00.41 in the 1,000 and 4:53.33 in the 1,600, repeating as state champion in both.
Sydney Loder, Bekka’s daughter, won the state 55 hurdles in 9.76 along with a runnerup finish in the 300 and a third in the high jump. In addition, Carly and Sydney ran on the state championship 4×400 relay team along with Delaney Eller and Carrie Horrell. James River was leading the meet up until that event, but Glenvar passed their Three Rivers District rival Knights by winning that race.
Glenvar only had five girls in the meet. Eller also took a third in the 500 and Horrell was fourth in that event. The Highlanders needed those points to keep second place Poquoson and James River in the rear view mirror.
“Who would have thought taking five girls to States, with only four scheduled to compete and one alternate, they would come out as the VHSL Indoor Track State Champions!” said Loder. “They knew going in we had a chance, but we still had to put the work in to get it done. What an amazing accomplishment and we are beyond excited for them.”
The Glenvar boys also brought home some medals, including a second by Daneil Zearfoss in the 1,000 meters. Colvin Delano was fourth in the 55, Bryant Loftis was fourth in the 500 and the team of Zearfoss, Ethan Justice, Delano and Loftis was third in the 4×400. Parry McCluer was the boys’ team champion.
Everyone who competed for Glenvar brought home a medal. That was quite a reward for training in bitter cold conditions for most of the “indoor” season.
“Knowing our meets would be outside, we bundled up and didn’t let the weather stop us,” said Loder. “We had one goal in mind and that was to move forward to Regional and States. I only had 15 Athletes this season, down by 25 over the past four years, but the athletes that joined came ready to work and they showed that at every meet they attended.”
This was Loder’s fourth year as indoor coach. She ran for Salem High coach Tom Roth in high school.
“It’s been an honor to coach at GHS the past four Indoor seasons, but this season was a little more special with all the unknowns and the fact that my athletes never let the pandemic step in their way,” said Loder. “Each athlete on the team did an outstanding job this season. I would also like to say at huge thank you to my assistant coach Madison Bourne, we couldn’t have done it without her.”
The Glenvar cross country season will be up next, beginning with a meet on Saturday, March 20, at Hidden Valley. The spring track season will begin practicing on April 12 with the first competition on April 26.