GREENSBORO — If ever there was justification for instant replay at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor track & field championships, Knightdales Marquavious Johnson explained why after Saturdays photo finish in the meet-ending boys 4x400-meter relay at N.C. A&T State Universitys Aggie Stadium.
We were that close, said Johnson, who ran the third leg for the Knights quartet that returned home with silver by .04 seconds to Boys & Girls of New York (3:14.95).
We tried our best, Johnson continued. We left it all on the track.
Johnson gave the runner-up quartet (3:14.99) including Joseph Horton and Henry Kiedy a chance by recovering from baton handoff difficulties between the second and third legs. When Johnson passed the baton to anchor DaQuan Smalls, the would-be victors and runners-up were even.
Smalls ran the majority of his meters on the outside of his counterpart, aware of what he had to do.
I wont stand a chance if I run the whole entire race outside, Smalls said.
If hes running in lane one, Im running further than he is. Therefore, Im fighting myself.
Smalls fought his way inside before the final stretch before running through the finish line and collapsing only to be buoyed by Johnson, Horton and Kiedy, ready to cool down Smalls with soaked sponges.
I gave it all I could, Smalls said. I left it on the track.
So too, did Ravenscrofts Wesley Frazier, who returned for her third day of competition after Thursdays third-place finish in the girls 5000 run and Fridays two-mile triumph. Frazier was back to defend her one-mile championship.
Frazier, among the top four throughout Saturdays race, acknowledged that fatigue from her grueling schedule finally caught up with her, as she could not surpass gold medalist Kelsey Margey (Huntington, N.Y., 4:45.84), but took second in 4:48.28.
That second mile didnt feel as hard as the first one, Frazier said.
Second? Less than 30 minutes after running the one-mile, Frazier anchored a distance medley relay quartet that included fellow Ravens Ryen Frazier (Wesleys sister), and sisters Carole and Julie Verdru. Wesley completed her 1600-meter leg in 4:48.34, moving from ninth place when she received the baton to crossing the finish line and collapsing in fourth.
The quartets collective time of 11.58.84 was .25 seconds behind Shenendehowa (N.Y.) in third.
They came here to do this event, Frazier said. I didnt want to let them down.
Wesleys teammates did not let her down afterwards when they saw Wesley inundated by interview requests. Ryen was right there to put a medal around her sisters neck.
The Fraziers helped give the Verdrus a special going-away gift, as the latter siblings are returning to Belgium today. The top six finishers in each event earned all-American distinctions.
Granville Centrals Tevin Hester placed third (21.22 seconds) in the boys 200-meter dash, and the Wakefield quartet of Ariah Graham, DeJah Jones, Tyra Lea and Tiana Patillo placed second (3:46.28) in the girls 4x400 relay.