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HomeAdventureON TRACK: Smith, Pasko earn top nods in Highland Games

ON TRACK: Smith, Pasko earn top nods in Highland Games

By Sarah Lowery for Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. LINVILLE, N.C. — At the 67th annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, two track and field athletes secured their first Outstanding Men’s Athlete and Outstanding Women’s Athlete honors.

Ty Smith from Elizabethton, Tenn., and Amanda Pasko from Charlotte, N.C., earned the respective titles.

Men’s Competition

Smith placed first in the men’s 220-yard dash, 440-yard dash and long jump, while Pasko placed within the top three in five events, including first place in the women’s 440-yard dash and triple jump.

Growing up, Smith attended the games and participated in kilted running events. A graduate from nearby Avery County High School, he was a three-sport athlete participating in football, baseball and track and field. He was a two-time All-State and three-time All-Conference selection in track, earning Conference Runner of the Year honors as a senior. He played football at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia for two years and is transferring to join Tusculum University’s program (in Tennessee) in the fall.

“It was great,” Smith said about being named Outstanding Men’s Athlete. “I’ve raced in that competition before, and it didn’t go nearly as well, so it was a thrill out there.”

Amanda Pasko, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
Amanda Pasko, top female competitor in track and field for the 2023 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Photo by Skip Sickler, courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Women’s Competition

Pasko recorded a 1:10 finish in the women’s 440-yard dash and jumped a distance of 30′ 9 ½” in the women’s triple jump.

Alongside Pasko in the women’s events, Tai’lah Ward placed first in the 100-yard dash, while returning competitors Kimora Chawlk and Carissa Chambers secured first in the 220-yard dash and 1-mile run, respectively.

First-time competitor Sasha Ledford recorded four top-two finishes, including first-place finishes in the women’s pole vault and long jump.

For participating athletes, the Highland Games offer a chance to display their talents at a culturally significant event that has been in place at Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows for several decades.

“I think it’s really the people that make it special,” said Smith. “I’ve heard it’s one of the biggest Highland Games outside of Scotland, and it’s just a huge culture here, and I think that Avery County really respects and appreciates that.”

TRACK AND FIELD RESULTS
Most Outstanding Men’s Athlete
Ty Smith, Elizabethton, Tenn.

Most Outstanding Women’s Athlete
Amanda Pasko, Charlotte, N.C.

Women’s Pole Vault
1. Sasha Ledford, Waynesville, N.C., 11’
2. Aliah Caster, Rogersville, Tenn., 9’ 6’’
3. Amelia Rogers, Bryson City, N.C., 8’ 6’’

Men’s Triple Jump
1. Nathan Pierce, Franklin, Tenn., 36’ ¾’’
2. John Ross, Mount Carmel, Tenn., 35’ 2 ¼’’
3. Gary Ankron Jr., Union Mills, N.C., 34’ ½’’

Women’s Triple Jump
1. Amanda Pasko, Charlotte, N.C., 30’ 9 ½”
2. Sasha Ledford, Waynesville, N.C., 28’ 11’’
3. Sophia Randolph, Houston, Texas, 27’ ½’’

Men’s Long Jump
1. Ty Smith, Elizabethton, Tenn., 18’ 8’’
2. Nathan Pierce, 16’ 7 ½’’
3. John Ross, Mount Carmel, Tenn., 16’ 6”

Women’s Long Jump
1. Sasha Ledford, Waynesville, N.C., 15’ 5 ½’’
2. Amanda Pasko, Charlotte, N.C., 15’ 2’’
3. Aliah Caster, Rogersville, Tenn., 14’ 11’’

Men’s High Jump
1. Oisin Ledford, Waynesville, N.C., 4’ 6”
2. Russell Bradley, Charlotte, N.C., 4’ 6”
3. Todd Ross, Mount Carmel, Tenn., 4’ 4”

Women’s High Jump
1. Amelia Rogers, Bryson City, N.C., 5’
2. Kimora Chawlk, Salisbury, N.C., 5’
3. Amanda Pasko, Charlotte, N.C., 4’ 10”

Men’s 100-Yard Dash
1. John Ross, Mount Carmel, Tenn., :10
2. Ty Smith, Elizabethton, Tenn., :11
3. Joseph Pearsch, Raleigh, N.C., :11.3

Women’s 100-Yard Dash
1. Tai’lah Ward, Sailsbury, N.C., :11.4
2. Sasha Ledford, Waynesville, N.C., :12.37
3. Dashia Canada, Salisbury, N.C., :13.1

Men’s 220-Yard Dash
1. Ty Smith, Elizabethton, Tenn., :25
2. Ricky Huckabee, Burnsville, N.C., :30
3. Kody Walker, Hinsdale, Ill., :46

Women’s 220-Yard Dash
1. Kimora Chawlk, Salisbury, N.C., :32
2. Dashia Canada, Salisbury, N.C., :32.7
3. Carissa Chambers, Johnson City, Tenn., :34

Men’s 440-Yard Dash
1. Ty Smith, Elizabethton, Tenn., :58
2. John Ross, Mount Carmel, Tenn., 1:00
3. Kody Walker, Hinsdale, Ill., 1:00.6

Women’s 440-Yard Dash
1. Amanda Pasko, Charlotte, N.C., 1:10
2. Dashia Canada, Salisbury, N.C., 1:14
3. Carissa Chambers, Johnson City, Tenn., 1:18

Men’s 880-Yard Dash
1. Justin Fischetti, Wilmington, N.C., 2:30
2. Colin Hackman, Wilmington, N.C., 2:32
3. Garry Ankron Jr., Union Mills, N.C., 2:47

Women’s 880-Yard Dash
1. Madelyn Sursi, Charlotte, N.C., 3:01
2. Amanda Pasko, Charlotte, N.C., 3:02
3. Carissa Chambers, Johnson City, Tenn., 3:12

Men’s 1-Mile Run
1. Colin Hackman, Wilmington, N.C., 5:11
2. Justin Fischetti, Wilmington, N.C., 5:29
3. Nathan Stofik, McLean, Va., 5:31

Women’s 1-Mile Run
1. Carissa Chambers, Johnson City, Tenn., 6:36
2. Madelyn Sursi, Charlotte, N.C., 7:05
3. Alaina Sursi, Mooresville, N.C., 9:21

Men’s 2-Mile Run
1. Logan Williams, Wendell, N.C., 12:13
2. Aaron Hale, Raleigh, N.C., 12:55
3. Kevin Stroud, Raleigh, N.C., 16:08

The 2023 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games took place July 6-9 at Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows in Linville, N.C. To learn more about the Highland Games, visit www.gmhg.org.

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com.

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