Greater Neuse River 4A Conference Track

Southeast boys refuse to lose after coach's pep talk

cbest@newsobserver.comMay 1, 2013 

— Southeast Raleigh track and field coach Liz Gary sent the girls team away for a little heart-to-heart strategy session with her boys team during Monday’s practice. Gary and her fellow coaches wanted to go through a hard breakdown of just how the Bulldogs could win Tuesday’s Greater Neuse River 4A Conference championship.

“We broke down each event and told them, this is where we are going by the seedings,” Gary said Tuesday evening. “We wanted them to see how close we were and to show them what we needed to get where we wanted to be. We wanted to know who was going to carry us. … Then we asked them a simple question, ‘Are you OK with always finishing second to Knightdale?’”

The Bulldogs provided a resounding no response to that question again and again, event after event at the Irwin Belk Track on the campus of Campbell University, topping two-time defending boys state champion Knightdale, 184-163, to complete a Southeast sweep of the conference championships.

The Bulldogs girls team was beyond dominant, two weeks after beating defending girls state team champion at the Bojangles Relays at Apex, they rolled up 252 team points to the league championship by 114 points.

Southeast’s girls won 14 of the 18 individual events and scored top-five finish after top-five finish.

Girls meet MVP Shakinah Brooks, a senior transfer at Southeast from Asheville, won the 100 meters in 12.31 seconds, the long jump (19 feet), ran on Southeast’s winning 400 relay (48.12) and took second in the 200 (25.4).

The Bulldogs also won the girls’ 800 (1:44.11), 1,600 (3:56.95) and 3,200 (9:54.84) relays.

Charity Lackey won the 800 (2:26.73) and the 1,600 (5:32.62) for Southeast, while Jacklyn Howell took the 100 hurdle title (14.36), Alexis Williamson the high jump (5-0), Amara Bell the triple jump (36-7 ½), Sharmani Hall the shot (36-10) and Hassana Clark the discus (112-10 ½).

The Bulldogs totaled 27 top five individual girls finishes on the afternoon with key contributions coming from Samara Perry, Joy Lackey, Kaylie Loyd, Brittany Williams, Alexus Gray, Sh’naiya Chapman and Tiffany Dunham as well.

“We’ve won meets this year with the girls and you could have pointed to one area - the jumps, the field events or the sprints – and say that was the reason we won,” Gary said. “That wasn’t the case today. We had a strong meet all around.”

Other girls’ event winners on the afternoon were East Carolina recruit Jasmine Dawson of West Johnston in the 200 (24.68) and the 400 (57.7), teammate Becca Meshaw in the 3,200 (12:16.69) and Clayton’s Kristen Duncan in the pole vault (10 feet).

Southeast won two boys relays and had two individual winners on the boys’ side, but it was the top five finishes that made the difference. The Bulldogs edge the Knights, 22-15 in the tally of top five finishes.

Sandy Chapman won the 110 hurdles for Southeast (14.58) and the long jump (22-10 ½), while the 400 (43.75) and 3,200 (8:25.97) relay teams also won.

The Bulldogs scored 23 key points in the pole vault with two sophomores - champion Ryan Adams (9-6), runner-up Terrence Adams (9-0) - and a freshman in fourth place finishing Khalil Gary.

Knightdale’s Kimani Hoffman was the boys meet MVP with a win in the 100 (10.95), in the 200 (22.03) and the triple jump (45-3 ¼). The Knights won the 800 and 1,600 relays as well, while Marquavious Johnson took the 400 title (48.2). Corey Aikens grabbed the 800 championship for the Knights (1:58.87).

Jake Betancourt of West Johnston won the 1,600 (4:32.09) and the 3,200 (10:09.08), while Harnett Central’s Jesse Freeman captured gold in the high jump at 6-4.

Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest

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