CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It wouldn’t be fair to assume that senior Cody Mitchell saved his best for last, so let’s just say that he went out on a really good note.
The Point Pleasant gridiron star and future member of the Marshall football team added another major accolade to his high school resume this weekend after winning the Class AAA discus title during the 2016 WVSSAC track and field championships held Friday and Saturday at Laidley Field on the campus of the University of Charleston in Kanawha County.
Mitchell — the 2015 Curt Warner Award winner and West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year for football in the Mountain State — capped his remarkable prep career by earning a pair of podium finishes, which included a second place effort in the shot put on Saturday morning before capturing gold just hours later in the discus event.
What’s more, Mitchell’s winning throw of 173 feet, 6 inches in the discus event came on his sixth and final attempt of the day. Only one competitor had a single throw following Mitchell’s winning heave, but that last toss wasn’t enough to knock Mitchell off the top of the podium.
Mitchell, who was the 2014 AAA runner-up in the state discus final, became the first male athlete from PPHS to win gold at Laidley Field since Tanner Hill won the AAA shot put crown in 2014. Cody — a two-time runner-up in the AAA shot put final — also joined some pretty elite company in his own household.
His dad, Darrell, won the 1986 discus title before heading to West Virginia University for football, while his brother Derek won the 171-pound individual wrestling title in Class AA in 2009 before walking on as a linebacker at Marshall.
When speaking about his lone prep state title afterwards,
“Honestly, I think today is a good reflection of the career I’ve had at Point Pleasant. I have succeeded in many things, but there has also been a lot of failure to get to this point,” Mitchell said. “I’ve had a really great senior year and a lot of things have gone well for me in the last 10 months. I also have my dad and brother to thank for some of that, always pushing me to be better while also having useful advice to pass down. Everything just seems to have worked out for the best for me.
“I’m still pretty much in awe of what has happened and it is a great feeling. I feel a little lucky because it took me all day to get my throws going how I wanted them to go, but I was fortunate to get that last one to go the way I wanted it to. It’s good to know that I am leaving as a state champion in my final event at Point Pleasant.”
Mitchell — who owns practically every scoring and rushing record at PPHS while also setting the school mark in the discus event just weeks ago with a throw of 180 feet, 6 inches — accounted for all 18 of the Black Knights’ points at the state meet.
Point Pleasant tied both Ripley and Huntington for 14th place overall. Cabell Midland won the AAA boys titles with 71 points, while Hurricane (54.5) and University (51) rounded out the top three spots.
Senior Tanner Hill was unable to reach the finals in either of his field events after placing ninth in the discus (141-7) and not placing in the shot put following three consecutive fouls.
Junior Sheb Harris was 16th in the 400m final Saturday with a mark of 57.45 seconds. Junior Joseph Clark qualified for the shot put final, but did not attend the meet.
Richard Cummings of Wheeling Park was the Class AAA boys high-point scorer with 25 points.
The Lady Knights came very close to having a state champion of their own in the Class AAA girls meet, but junior Aislyn Hayman ultimately placed second in the discus (123-9) and third in the shot put (37-4.5) finals.
Hayman’s efforts, however, resulted in all 14 points scored by the Lady Knights — allowing them to finish 14th overall. Winfield won the Class AAA girls team title with 83 points, while Huntington (58) and Morgantown (53) rounded out the top three spots.
Junior Morgan Roush earned eighth place in the discus final with a throw of 99 feet, 6 inches. The 4x200m relay team of senior Kyla Scott, freshman Sydney Moore, freshman Madison Hatfield and freshman Teagan Hay were also eighth overall with a mark of 1:52.00.
Hatfield also placed 11th individually in the 400m final held Saturday after posting a time of 1:02.03.
The quartet of seniors Carlee Dabney and Lexi Toth, junior Siera Toles and sophomore Cierra Porter finished 12th in the 4×102.5m shuttle hurdles relay, while Hatfield, Hay, Scott and Moore were 16th in the 4x400m relay with a mark of 4:30.25.
Dabney, Hatfield, Hay and freshman Bri Reymond were also 16th in the 4x100m relay with a time of 59.12 seconds.
Safiyyah Mitchell of Huntington was the Class AAA female high-point scorer after winning three events and finishing second in a fourth for a total of 38 points.
Complete results of the 2016 WVSSAC Class AAA track and field championships are available on the web at runwv.com
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.