Franklin County’s Isaiah Moorman talks about his track and field journey.

Ronald Harrod

The Kentucky Derby and the Cosmopolitan Invitational took place on Saturday. On the surface, the Triple Crown horse race and a high school running race couldn’t be more different. However, both events share a common denominator of dedication, hard work and the pursuit of excellence.

The Blacksburg Bruins proved their resolve by winning the boys’ and girls’ team titles at the Cosmopolitan Invitational track and field meeting.

The Blacksburg boys won by 75 points while William Byrd finished second (64) and Franklin County third (52).

Three male athletes from Blacksburg collectively won four individual events at William Fleming High School.

Blacksburg’s Will Harrison won the boys 110 hurdles (14.74) and 300 hurdles (39.71), while teammates Ben Hager and Daniel Bandera won the 400 (50.72) and 800 (2:01.75) respectively.

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Although the Franklin County boys finished third, they still had a dominant performance from Isaiah Moorman. He won the boys’ 100 (10.65) and 200 (21.87) while he was the anchor on the winning Franklin County 4×100 relay team (42.96).

Moorman’s performance was even more impressive given his relative inexperience.

About a year ago, Franklin County sprint coach Travis Johnson approached Moorman after hearing that he was one of the fastest runners at Franklin County High School.

But although Johnson had heard of Moorman, he had never seen him run. Moorman had never played sports in high school.

“I was home,” Moorman said. “I didn’t do anything like no training or anything. I would literally go home, go to school and play [Fortnite]. I was just a normal high school kid.”

Johnson said he knew Moorman had a natural talent the first time he saw him walk.

At the Cosmopolitan Invitational, Moorman helped prove his coach right.

“Oh, it feels good coming out of here in my senior year, the only year I’ve been on track and broke two records,” Moorman said. “And get out of here to show up in front of people.”

Mason Erchull of Floyd County won the 1600 in 4:30.82 and collapsed after his win. He said his legs felt weak.

“The happiness after the race will be better than the pain during the race,” said Erchull. “So I just push it right there and win the race. It will feel amazing.”

The Bruins dominated the girls’ competition with 120 points, while Northside and Roanoke Catholic took second place with 51 points.

The Blacksburg girls had dominant wins from Mia Littlejohn in the 100 hurdles (15.50) and 300 hurdles (47.12).

Sarah Duetsch of Blacksburg won the pole vault (9-06.00) and helped her team win the 4×400 relay in 4:31.27.

Northside’s Simone Hamlar won the 100 (12.68), 200 (26.28) and 400 (59.15).

Roanoke Catholic won ahead of Karly Smith in the high jump (5-00.00) and Mickie O’Herron in the triple jump (33-02.00).

North Cross’s Kerrigan Chaney won the 800 (2:24.60) and 1600 (5:18.82).

“It’s a bit of natural talent,” Chaney said. “So my mom was a distance runner too, so I got that from her.

“I’ve always been one of the fastest girls in my class and the daily training with the university boys on my team also drives me.”

Nadia Jackson led the Pulaski County girls to a narrow win in the 4×100 relay over Cave Spring. Pulaski County finished with 51.65.

“It just pushes me more when people are on me,” Jackson said. “I tend to go faster. So it’s kind of like natural.”

Diego Turner of Pulaski County and Emma Francis of James River each received a $3,500 academic scholarship from the Cosmopolitan Club.


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