Danielle Sampley got area postseason spring sports off to a promising start on Monday.
The William Blount High School senior and University of Kentucky signee won the Sectional 1AAA pentathlon at Jefferson County, with Maryville junior Ellen Worth making it 1-2 for Blount County with a second-place finish. Both qualified for state with their performances.
The state pentathlon is scheduled for May 21 at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
Sampley totaled 3,374 points in claiming the sectional crown, during
which the Blount County sprint champion ran to a
personal-best time of 14.25 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles. Reigning county champion in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, high jump and hurdles, Sampley is capable of an even better mark in the pentathlon later this month, William Blount
coach Chris Frary said.
"The score she put up is a competitive score," he said. "She was little off in the long jump. Everything else was pretty consistent.
"Danielle had a solid day, and thats what the pentathlon is all about being consistent."
Sampley has won that consistency the hard way. She first took part in the five-sport event, which encompasses the shot put, long jump, high jump, 800 meters and 100-meter hurdles, as a Lady Governor freshman.
"My freshman year, I didnt have a clue," she said. "I just went in there to do it. I swore to coach I would never do it again."
A year later, the two-time AAU national champion won the sectional pentathlon, only to suffer a fall in the 800 portion of the event at state. The resulting injury wiped out what promised to be big showing at the state track meet later in the week. As a junior a year ago, Sampley again swore off the pentathlon, only to return as a senior for her title. Collegiate hopes had a lot to do with it, she said.
"Ive got to get ready because next year Im going to be
doing the pentathlon and heptathlon (at Kentucky)," she said.
Named the outstanding female athlete at last weeks Blount County Track and Field Championships, Sampley said its not the running events she favors most in the pentathlon.
"I like throwing the shot put," she said. "I just think the shot put is fun. The shot put presents a challenge."
Sampleys 29-foot-plus throw in the event on Monday was a personal-best. With a couple of weeks to prepare, and a new-found love for the pentathlon, the future Lady Wildcat said shes looking forward to state.
"Thats really the biggest thing, being mentally prepared," Sampley said. "I was ready (Monday)."
The field for the state pentathlon wont be known until other sectionals are completed in a weeks time. Regardless of how the numbers come in, Frary said he likes Sampleys chances.
"Year to year, it can vary so much," he said, "but that score can put her up there."
Wortham was close at Sampleys heels by the close of Mondays sectional, taking out a win in the long jump and finishing second in the high jump to finish with 3,261 points. The top two in each sectional advance to state, with the four next-best scores statewide also receiving bids.
William Blounts Shauna Stevens, who finished fourth at the
sectional with 2,616 points will find out next week if she is to
receive one of the at-large bids.