Award-winning Track Coach Reflects on Memorable Season
For the second year in a row, Manassas Park girls track and field won the state title, accompanied this year by the boys team, who took the title by a single point.
Manassas Park High School track and field Coach Joe McElfish called this season among, “the best two years I’ve had” after his boys and girls teams placed first in the state of Virginia Division A Saturday.
The girls’ team won the title for the second year in a row with 63 points, beating out second-place winner James River High School in Midlothian, which had 54 points. The boys beat Radford High School in Radford by a single point, 51-50. The boys placed fourth last year.
McElfish has also been named Regional Coach of the Year for both of his teams.
“I knew we had a good group of athletes,” McElfish said. “I knew we had a shot on the girls’ side. With the boys, we had a good nucleus coming back. It was a senior dominated team, and they decided if they finished fourth in the state last year, they would win states this year.”
Manassas Park had two first places finishes: junior Wileta Tibbs placed first in the girls’ discus throw, throwing 120 ft. 6 in., and senior Baha Bassil placed first in the boys’ 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.91.
Manassas Park’s athletes scored points in 24 of 30 events in the championship, and McElfish credited several athletes on each team, including Tyree Durr.
Durr was named Male Athlete of the Meet for Running Events at 2011 Bull Run District Tournament Championship in May.
He, along with teammate Bobby Jackson, was also named Co-Male Athlete of the Meet for Field Events.
“To win at a state level, you have to have a dominant athlete,” McElfish said of Durr. “He was a dominant athlete at the high jump and the roll races. He was able to score in all three of those in states . . . he was a big factor.”
Durr placed sixth in the triple jump, jumping 43 ft. 5.5 in.; fourth in the high jump, jumping 6 ft. 4 in.; third in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.83 seconds and second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.26 seconds.
For the girls’ team, senior Sharese Roberts placed third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.25 seconds, second in the 400-meter dash at 58.75 seconds, second in the 200-meter dash at 25.18 seconds.
She was also named Female Athlete of the Meet for Running Events at May's Bull Run District Tournament Championship.
Sharese has been a critical member of the team since her freshman year, despite being out for surgery her sophomore year, the coach said.
“Her freshman year, she was the only girl we had at states and she took fifth place [for Manassas Park] herself,” McElfish said.
McEflish said he asks all his athletes to improve their times weekly.
“They have expectations on them to do well,” McElfish said. “That’s tough, but the kids are OK with it.”
McEflish said both teams will face a challenge defending their titles next spring. The girls’ team has several good athletes, including Victoria Dumas, who placed third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 48.62 seconds.
“We have a real good nucleus, so I don’t know whether or we can compete the state level, but we’re still gonna be competitive at the district and regional level,” McEflish said. “The girls’ team will be pretty good next year.”
The boys’ team is in a tougher position.
“We lost 10 seniors, they’re gonna be hard to replace,” McElfish said. “They’ll be pretty good, but we’ll need some additions to be competitive next year.”