CLAYTON — West Johnston girls’ track and field team had no problem getting the celebration part down at Monday’s Greater Neuse River 4A track and field championships. The picking up the trophy part to go along with their league title, well, they almost forgot to do that. But that was the only thing that didn’t go the Wildcats’ way.
West’s girls shared team honors at the meet with Knightdale’s boys team, the two-time defending 4A outdoor and indoor team state champions.
The Wildcats finished with 172 points on the day at Clayton High, 11 1/2 ahead of Southeast Raleigh’s girls. Clayton was third, followed by Garner and East Wake.
“Whether we won or lost, we couldn’t have asked for more from our girls,” said West Johnston coach Patrick Shaw. “We really put it together. We would be just as happy if we’d have finished third or fourth, because this was just an exceptional job all around.”
Girls MVP Jasmine Dawson led the Wildcats with help from distance specialists Dakota Foskey, Lauren Pollard and Scarlett Beamon. Dawson won the 100-meter dash (12.24 seconds), the 200 (24.89) and the 400 (1:00.67), while also running on the 4x400 relay team.
“To run the 100 and 400 and 200 together like she did today is a great accomplishment,” said West co-coach Ben Bondurant. “That takes an incredible toll on your body. It’s a testament to the work she’s put in. We knew she was talented and now she’s put the work in, gained some bigger meet experience and now she’s showing everybody how talented she is.”
Foskey won the 1,600 (5:30.32) and the 3,200 (12:34.82) although she ran basically both races side-by-side-by-side with Pollard and Beamon. All three finished within a half-second of each other in the 1,600 and 3,200. Pollard was the mile runner-up and Beamon took second in the two-mile.
The Wildcats also nipped Southeast by half a second in the 4x800 relay.
Southeast won the 4x100 and 4x200 relays and picked up a pair of individual wins from Sharmani Hall in the shot put (34-4) and the discus (95-0). Charity Lackey won the 800 as well for the Bulldogs, while Amara Bell topped the high jump competition.
Mollie Williams of Clayton won the 100 (14.27) and 300 hurdles (44.06); teammate Kristen Duncan took the pole vault (9-6).
Other girls’ winners: Garner’s 4x100 relay team, Shakerya Morrison of East Wake in the long jump (17-5) and Harnett Central’s Angel Spencer in the triple jump (35-1).
Southeast Raleigh’s Deja Barber timed in at 48.46 seconds in the wheelchair 100.
Knightdale’s win in the boys meet was never in much doubt. The Knights finished with 205 points, 58 ahead of runner-up Southeast Raleigh and nearly 100 ahead of third place West.
The Knights’ victory was paced by boys’ meet MVP Joseph Horton, who edged Southeast’s Jaylon Holt and West Johnston’s Jeremy Gower in a super competitive MVP race. Horton won the 100 (10.85), 200 (21.35) and the long jump (21-5 3/4
“Joe showed the heart of a champion today,” said Knightdale coach David Castell. “You can’t question his heart. It’s just another guy stepping up with Da’Quan (Smalls) out. It seems like every time we’ve got a key guy injured, somebody else steps up and leads the way. Joe did that today.”
The Knights’ sweep of the relay event wins included an all-sophomore grouping that prevailed in the 4x400 at 3:21.87.
“Coming off of the Penn Relays (over the weekend) and running the conference championships on a Monday was a tough challenge for our guys,” Castell said. “But I loved the way our young athletes responded today. We talked about what legacy we want to leave, this group, before the meet. We ran a 3:21 with all sophomores in the 4x400, which shows you we’ve got some more talented kids coming.”
Marquavious Johnson added a win in the 400 (49.19) to the Knights’ tally, which also included Khalid Powell’s victory in the 300 hurdles (39.42).
Gower dominated the distances, winning the 800 (1:59.84), the 1,600 (4:40.9) and the 3,200 (10:38.54). Sam Campbell won the discus as well for West (133-10).
Holt was a triple winner for the Bulldogs in the 110 hurdles (15.15), the high jump (6-6) and the triple jump (42-6).
Garner’s Jarod McCallister won the shot (46-7) and Peter Gilmartin of Clayton took the pole vault crown (9-6).