GREENSBORO — Cardinal Gibbons’ Sophie Ebihara won the 3,200 meters in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A track and field championships Saturday at N.C. A&T, but she didn’t win the title the way she wanted.
Ebihara, a freshman, and teammate Mary Grace Doggett led the race almost from the start, but in the final meters as Doggett pushed to the finish, she ended up stumbling. Ebihara won in 11 minutes, 8.52 seconds while Doggett recovered to finish second (11:23.11).
“I would not be where I am today without my teammate Mary Grace,” Ebihara said. “She is a great person to train with and a best friend. This was a bit shaky for me to see her fall like that.
“I feel really good but this is not the way I wanted it to happen.”
The meet was the finale for 18-year coaching veteran, Chapel Hill coach Ron Olsen, whose boys finished seventh in the team competition.
“Some of our lower classman just didn’t have the experience yet, but will develop in the coming years,” Olsen said. “This senior class was my favorite to coach. (I) would have liked to get a trophy; a little here a little there and all of a sudden you’re in seventh.”
Chapel Hill won the boy’s 4x800 relay with a time of 7:57.04.
West Carteret’s Blake Dodge earned the girls’ MVP award after setting 3A records in the 800 (2:13.23) and the 1600 (4:59.35). Dodge, who was the MVP of the state indoor meet, also ran on West Carteret’s record-setting 4x800 relay team.
“I feel good about my wins today. Coming in to today I was not sure of what I could do since 80 percent of my time is focused on soccer,” Dodge said. “Just coming out here and doing what I did is great.”
Northern Guilford’s T.J. Logan, a North Carolina recruit, was the boys MVP after winning the 100 (10.65) and 200 (21.61) and anchoring the winning 4x100 relay team (41.99).
Northern Guilford won the boys’ team title with 57 points, beating second-place Northeast Guilford (45.5).
Charlotte O’ Berry Academy won the girls’ title with 51 points, followed by West Carteret (46), Fayetteville Westover (43), Jacksonville (41) and Western Alamance (38.5).
The Cardinal Gibbons girls were seventh and Chapel Hill 11th.
“The day went well,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Nick Mangum said. “The focus was on the kids having a good individual performance and if they did the team scores would follow.
“On the boys’ side, we looked a little tired and that will give us something to look at leading up to the states so we can make the appropriate changes for next time. We will view this as learning experience and work hard for next time.
“On the girl’s side they are incredibly talented with big personalities, great talent and leadership. All in all, a mixed bag and we can use this as a learning experience.”
Qizeah Jackson of Westover had a great meet with three individual championships, taking first place in the girls 100, 200 and the high jump, and running a leg on the winning 4x400 relay team.