Blandino, Thropp duo steal the show, Bucs win five-team home meet


TENNERTON — Head Coach Patty Wager’s Buckhannon-Upshur High School track team welcomed East Fairmont, Tygart Valley, Pocahontas County and Pendleton County to Tennerton as they hosted a home meet last Tuesday, April 12. The Buccaneers Track Team racked up six individual event wins, while sweeping all four relay events en route to a dominate team victory.  

Senior Taiwo Thropp edged out junior teammate Shawn Blandino to claim the boys 100-meter title. Thropp’s time of 11.24 seconds narrowly bested Blandino’s time of 11.35 seconds, in a perfect example of two teammates pushing each other to compete at the best of their abilities. Senior Camden Snyder finished fourth with a time of 12.29 seconds to round out a very Buccaneer-heavy leaderboard in the 100-meter dash. 

Senior Sterlin Thropp, both literally and figuratively, separated himself from the field in the boys 200-meter dash, with his winning time of 22.45 seconds, beating out second-place finisher, Nathaniel Hulver’s (Tygart Valley) time of 24.05 seconds by a shade under two full seconds. Freshman Carter Zuliani turned in a strong showing, finishing fourth with a time of 25.36 seconds. 

After being edged out by a teammate in the 100-meter dash, Blandino was not about to let recent history repeat itself, as he got out of the gates quick in the boys 400-meter dash, winning the event with a time of just 51.92 seconds, beating out teammate junior Jordan Gillum’s second-place time of 53.86 seconds. Gillum, fueled by his defeat in the 400-meter dash, came out determined to win the 800-meter run, which he did, finishing with a time of 2:09.78, over three seconds faster than Drew Moore’s (East Fairmont) second-place time of 2:12.18. 

Rising freshman Chase Hackett battled with upperclassman Will Sarsfield, a senior from East Fairmont, for the boys 300-meter win. The two competitors were neck and neck entering the final stretch, as Hackett turned on the jets to take home the win with a time of 45.50 seconds. The freshman’s extra burst proved to be the difference in a very close race, delivering the Bucs their fifth individual victory of the day. Junior Landon Zirkle won the pole vault event, with a successful attempt clearing the 9-foot mark, collecting the Bucs their sixth and final individual event win of the day.

Coach Wager’s relay pairings have been clicking on all cylinders to open the 2022 season. The Bucs swept all the meets relay events to continue this streak of strong early season outings. In the 4x100-meter relay, the Bucs’ team consisting of Snyder, junior Savion Farmer, and the two Thropps cruised to a win with a time of 45.10. In the boys 4x200 relay, the Bucs team of senior Julien Larcher, Blandino and the Thropp duo, took the win with a combined time of 1:33.74. Blandino, Larcher and Sterlin Thropp teamed with Gillum to collect the win in the 4x400-meter relay event. Finally, the team of Hackett, Zuliani, senior Reis Leonard and Zade Woody won the 4x110-meter shuttle relay events, clearing 30-inch high hurdles in just 1:06.61 to cap off the clean sweep of relay events for Coach Wager’s Bucs. 

Overall, B-UHS defended their home track, winning the meet by amassing a total of 143 team points. East Fairmont finished second with 126 team points, followed by Tygart Valley with 42 points, Pocahontas County with 18 points and Pendleton County with 1 point. 

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