CARY — Wakefield’s girls and Cary’s boys took home the team championship trophies from the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A Mideast Regional track meet Saturday afternoon held at Green Hope.
But it was Wake Forest-Rolesville wheelchair athlete Matthew McDonald who drew the biggest cheers. McDonald, who was born with cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair since 2007, participated in the shot put, discus, 100- and 200-meter wheelchair events. He will compete against other wheelchair athletes at the state finals in Greensboro next week.
“I needed to do something to stay in shape," said the Rolesville senior, who is competing for the first time. "I’ve heard I’m going to have some competition next week, but I’m not worried about that. I’m going there to win a medal, the gold.”
For Wakefield coach Ann Graham, winning the regional was a step towards defending the state title the Wolverines won last year. Wakefield totaled 113.5 points to best second-place Apex, which finished with 77.
"Our goal here was to make sure we finished in the top four and get to the states," Graham said. "The ones we expected to get there did get there. Now it’s time for us to go back to work. We’re looking to win (the state championship) again."
The Wolverines winners Saturday were future N.C. State runner Ariah Graham in the 400; Kristen Lee in the pole vault; the 4x200 relay team made up of Tiana Patillo, Ruby Nwaebube, Tyra Lea and JeMay Ward; and the 4x400 meter relay team made up of Dejah Jones, Ward, Patillo and Graham.
Alexis Perry of Durham Jordan sparkled with wins in the 100-hurdles, high jump and long jump. Millbrook senior Samantha George, who already has five state titles in her career, won the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races. Alexis Murphy of Apex won the 100 and 200.
Cary coach Lee Mauney called the Imps’ win, "exciting, really outstanding.”
“We didn’t have as many high finishes as Enloe, but we won it with big points at thirds and points in a lot of events,” said Mauney, who came out of retirement to coach this season. “Those are points we won’t get next week.”
Cary scored 90.5 to edge Enloe’s 83. Bakri Abushouk won the 1,600 for the Imps and finished third in the 800. The 4x800 relay team of Abushouk, Chris Johnson, Josh Barrett and Justin Lane also took first.
"Bakri has been out, but he had a great day, our jumper (Chuboy Umeadi) took third in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump, we got a third in the pole vault (Phillip Thomas) and we got a second in the discus (Lenni Paul)" Mauney said.
Sprinter Darrell Sheppard scored points in four events for the Imps.
Enloe could make a bigger splash at the state meet. Senior sprinter Fabian Jarrett put on quite a show, coming from behind three times, in the 100, 200 and 4x200 relay, to finish first. Jonathan Addison, an N.C. State recruit, took three firsts for the Eagles in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. Teammate Dominique Faison took second in the long jump and triple jump.
"The goal all year has been winning states," said Enloe coach Brian Fullencamp. "The guys came in today and really brought their ‘A-game’ on a lot of things. We did things today we had to do. Fabian is a very strong finisher. Even when he’s behind, he says ‘if there’s a distance so far you’re ahead of me, it’s not safe. I’ll get you.’ ”