Graham, Addison and Hester win national high school track titles

tstevens@newsobserver.com March 12, 2012 

Ariah Graham won the national girls’ high school championship in the 400 meters last weekend and helped the Wolverines win two relays in record time in the New Balance Indoor Nationals track and field championships.

Enloe High’s Jonathan Addison won the national high jump championship (6 feet, 9 inches) and Granville Central senior Tevin Hester won the 60-meter dash (6.72 seconds) and was fifth in the 200 (21.76).

Ravenscroft’s Wesley Frazier was fourth in the 5,000 (16:46.15) and Green Hope finished eighth in the 4x800 relay (9:18.20).

More than 4,000 athletes competed in the national championship meet, but Graham was a star. Her winning 53.95 in the 400 was the fastest time ever by a North Carolina high school girl indoors.

“She had run a personal best in Seattle two weeks ago and finished fifth and she really wanted to run in the 53s,” Wakefield coach Ann Graham said. “She was running against the same girls in New York and was excited to win and get in the 53s.”

Graham also ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x200 relay (1:36.35), which was the fastest time ever by a N.C. girls’ high school team either indoors or outdoors. Wakefield ran the second fastest time ever in the country by a girls high school team.

Graham also ran the anchor in the 4x400 title (3:43.01), again the fastest time, indoors or outdoors, ever by a N.C. girls’ high school team.

She was joined on the relays by Tiana Patillo, Olicia Sharp and Tyra Lea.

“Our goal is to win every meet we enter,” Coach Graham said. “We feel like this is these girls’ year.”

Graham said her girls were now pointing to a meet in Arcadia, Calif., in April. She is eager to see how the Wolverines, who competed in the New Balance meet at the Junior Striders, will go when they switch to the outdoor venues.

Wakefield won the 2011 N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls winter track title, the 2011 NCHSAA 4A girls outdoor track title and the 2012 NCHSAA 4A indoor track title.

The Wolverines also won the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 2011. Team points were not calculated for the New Balance Indoors meet.

Hester, a Clemson recruit, said he was concentrating on a fast start. He had run the fastest time by a high school runner in the 60 two weeks ago, but three runners had gone faster later the same day. All three, plus some of Canada’s best, were at the New Balance meet.

“As I got in the blocks, I was thinking about the start,” he said. “I’ve got good foot speed, but if I don’t get out of the blocks fast, I can’t run my best.”

Hester said he held off the field after getting a good start.

“Winning a national championship is unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about all of the hard work and my coaches. You can be ranked No. 1 and somebody can go faster. But once you’ve won a national championship, nobody can take that away from you.”

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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