Martinsville girls track

Martinsville’s track teams saw four individual state titles won at Saturday’s VHSL Class 2 state championship, but the Bulldogs had a dozen other strong finishes for one of the best days at states in years.

Outside of the state titles, the Bulldogs had six all-state finishes on the day. Nigal Davis, the defending state champion in the 100 meter dash, finished third in the event Saturday after 11.15 seconds. Davis was also sixth in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.78.

Davis was the anchor leg of the boys 4x100 meter relay, alongside Nwachukwu Ugbomah-Otunuya, Aaron Dalton, and Jaedyn McKinney. The relay finished third with a time of 43.8 seconds.

“The thing about the relays is we took two soccer players (Dalton and McKinney) which they took out of their time because they’re in the state tournament as well. But we put them in there and they came together, and to come out here with a third, what they’ve done has meant a lot for us,” said Martinsville Coach Lynnwood Dodson.

The girls 4x100 meter relay, featuring Amber Rountree, Jakayse Monroe, Leighton Jamison, and Deniya Gravely, finished 4th with a time of 51.26

“Girls, we had to plug in with someone who is not familiar with a relay, and to see what they’ve done and to finish third, it is a success because they came out,” Dodson said.

“I always told them ‘one accord.’ that means a lot. If you come in one accord it’s hard to lose, but they came in third against the competition we have, defending state champions in all of them, we did fantastic. I’m very happy.”

In the girls 100 meter dash, Rountree finished sixth with a time of 12.89.

“Amber, she runs her heart out. Practices all the time,” Dodson said. “And that’s what we’ve got in these kids and what we’ve got coming. I think we’re going to be all right.”

At the end of their events, Martinsville’s girls finished with 44 points, and the boys finished with 36. Gravely finished with three state titles in the girls 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and the triple jump. Ugbomah-Otunuya won the boys high jump state title.

“Just seeing how far they’ve come from the first race,” Dodson said. “De’Niya... I saw something and that’s when I told Coach Jackson, ‘We’ve got a runner.’ Chewy (Ugbomah-Otunuya) came to me when he first moved around here and he told me he ran track and I asked him what he ran and he said hurdles... the high jump, the first time I saw him do that was indoor track. And I’ve never seen a kid jump like that. And I knew right then he was special.

“Nigal, I was blessed with Nigal coming from Tennessee. He came in and took over, Nigal has been a good kid.”

Dodson said he’s been with the Bulldogs’ track team for eight years, and while they’ve had individual state champs before, this is the best he’s seen them do collectively as a team at the state meet.

And he said they couldn’t be better athletes and people who did it.

“At the end of the day, all of them are going to college, and that is a blessing,” Dodson said. “To see all of them going to college, and the field they’re going into. If you sit down and talk to them kids about the fields they’re pursuing and what they’re pursuing in life, it makes me feel like I really did a great job. The parents have and we have. Just to see coming in and seeing their progress, and their final journey, the final day, being state champions or going to the state championship, that’s a blessing.

“To see something like this, it’s amazing. I’m really happy. I’m not showing it, but I really want to go and jut shout. That’s all I can do is just say thank you Jesus.”

Cara Cooper is a sports writer for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at cara.cooper@martinsvillebulletin.com

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