Cedar Ridge captures boys’, girls’ titles

CorrespondentMay 12, 2012 

— This may be getting to be old hat for Carrboro, but for Cedar Ridge the experience was brand new.

The Jaguars dominated the distance races on Friday at Aggie Stadium to win the girls’ portion of the NCHSAA Class 2-A track meet for the second straight year. And in the boys’ part, the Red Wolves got a balanced effort to take the school’s first state title in any sport.

The runner-up in both was Burlington Cummings. Carrboro – led by a repeat double victory from Grace Morken – got past the Cavalier girls 67-52 with Bunn and Waxhaw Cuthbertson tied for third at 49. Cedar Ridge’s boys topped Cummings 67-59 with Carrboro in third place at 38.

“We had three runners each in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and needed them all to score,” said Carrboro coach Melvin Griffin, whose team had a stirring comeback to win the 4x800 relay.” We only scored in five events, just like last year, but we had more athletes score. We were able to win the 4x800 without two of our top runners.”

The Cedar Ridge boys’ effort was sparked by first-place finishes in the pole vault – at a state 2-A record height from Ethan Smith – as well as the 200 and 1,600.

“We didn’t work out a formula, but we knew the guys had worked hard and done well,” Red Wolves coach Larry Faucette said. “We knew we had a chance to do something big.”

Carrboro got its omen in the 4x800, the first girls’ race final of the day, coming from fourth place and about 100 yards off the lead after two legs to run a 9:48.6 and blow away North Henderson by 15 seconds.

After freshman Amelia Covington and junior Rachel Burch ran the first two legs, junior Alexa Phillips took the baton and erased the long deficit, getting it to senior anchor Frankie Perone with about a one-meter lead.

“That was extremely frightening – I had a similar experience last year,” Phillips said with a laugh. “But I had promised Frankie I’d put her in the best position possible and I tried my best to do that. I just kept my eyes on the people in front of me and tried to pick them up.”

Added Perone, “Alexa’s run was a big confidence-booster. I was freaking out, like, oh my God! We’re so far behind we’re never going to catch up! But after I saw the way she ran I had to win it for her.”

Morken later had to deal with Jessica Wallace of First Flight, holding her off by .33 seconds to win the 800 in 2:18.26 and by half a second to take the 1,600 in 5:09.13.

“This doesn’t get old,” Morken said. “My teammates worked with me and were awesome. My plan was to go out with Jessica at the end and see who could win the race down the stretch.”

Bunn got first places from Marissa Bellamy, who won the 400 in a state 2-A record 55.73, and Mookie Chavis who took the shot at 38-3 1/4.

Cedar Ridge also got one first place from its girls’ team, as Morgan Lau fired the discus 112-3.

Smith cleared 15-3 to take the pole-vault title.

Cameron Cooper took the 200 for the Red Wolves in 21.85, .08 ahead of Kinston’s Shaheed Swinson. A.J. Tucker took the mile in 4:22.47, .33 ahead of North Lincoln’s Andrew Feat.

Granville Central’s Tevin Hester – recently named NCHSAA male athlete of the year – won the 100 in 10.56,, while Durham School of the Arts’ Xavier Hoggs took the triple-jump in 44-9 3/4.

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