Cabell Midland’s Beverage smashes state meet shot put record
CHARLESTON — The 105th state track meet opened with a bang Friday afternoon. Or a loud thud, if you will.
Cabell Midland High School weight thrower Gavin Beverage broke one of the meet’s most hallowed records in one of the day’s first events at University of Charleston Stadium as he propelled the shot put 65 feet 10 1/2 inches to better the Class AAA boys mark held by past Olympic champion Randy Barnes.
Barnes’ record of 61-7 was set in 1984 while competing for St. Albans.
Beverage’s record-breaker was perhaps the top highlight during the first day of the weekend event, which produced three early meet records prior to a lightning delay and the beginning of what figure to be some tight team races for Saturday’s slew of finals.
Most divisions were only able to get in three final events Friday before a lightning delay that came at 6:04 p.m., though several track qualifiers for Saturday’s finals took place.
The delay lasted four hours and pushed the finish to around midnight. Competition resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. for field events and 11 a.m. for running events.
In boys AAA, Cabell Midland led with 22 points, followed by Wheeling Park (16), Parkersburg (14) and Spring Valley (14). Cabell Midland, Park and Spring Mills were the pre-meet favorites.
Oak Hill tallied 18 points to go up in boys AA, with North Marion (16) and Fairmont Senior (14) close behind. Winfield, the heavy favorite, had one point early.
In boys A, Doddridge County (27) and Ritchie County (22) were atop the leaderboard.
Wheeling Park scored 18 points in girls AAA to hold a narrow edge over Morgantown (16). Park and defending champion Ripley are considered the top teams by RunWV.com projections.
Through four events in girls AA, Bridgeport led Winfield 27-24. The Generals are favored in this division, but the Indians, the defending titlists, have enough firepower to make a run.
In girls A, Ritchie County (20) led pre-meet favorite Williamstown (11).
Despite Beverage’s feat on Friday, Barnes’ name won’t be completely erased from the record book. Barnes still holds the longest shot put in West Virginia high school history, 66-9 1/2 set during the 1985 Gazette Relays. State records must be set during the state meet, but all-time records can be verified at virtually any meet.
Beverage thought he could threaten Barnes’ all-time mark when competition began Friday, but settled for a personal record.
“I was definitely shooting for 67,” Beverage said. “That’s kind of what I hoped I could get to. I had a really promising warm-up throw, and I felt really good. I was really close.
“But in the end, 65-10 is still an amazing throw. It’s a PR (personal record), and that’s what I came out to do. So I’m not bummed out about not getting it. Just keep working, that’s all it is.”
Beverage had been sending the shot several feet past Barnes’ state meet mark all season. In fact, he went past 61-7 in every meet but one, which was held in bad weather in Louisville, Kentucky. But he had to wait until the state meet to officially break the record. Which he did in fine fashion Friday, by more than 4 feet.
Moments after his feat, Beverage received a congratulatory phone call from Barnes.
“He was just congratulating me,” Beverage said, “and said he wanted to call me firsthand, just to say how great it was. I really appreciated that.”
The 6-foot-4, 314-pound Beverage, who is headed to California-Riverside to compete in college, was asked how it felt to have his name take the place of the nationally known Barnes in the state record book.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “Seeing Randy Barnes, and knowing how good he was and to see my name next to his or near his is very surreal.”
Other records falling on the first day included:
n Shady Spring’s Erica Hegele running a time of 14.87 seconds in the girls AA 100-meter hurdles qualifiers.
n Williamstown’s Lilly McMullen in the A girls 100 dash (12.41).