Knightdale’s Kimani Hoffman has a long day, but a good one

cbest@newsobserver.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Knightdale’s Kimani Hoffman was a man in motion Saturday during the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A indoor track and field championships.

Hoffman won the long jump (22 feet, 11 inches) and the triple jump (48-1), was fifth in the 55-meter dash (6.58 seconds) and 10th in the 300 (36.96 seconds).

He dashed between qualifying races and preliminary jumps all afternoon.

“It was a really long day between running back and forth from the long jump early to the running events and then the triple jump,” Hoffman said. “It really took a toll on my legs.”

He hopes to jump 50 feet in the triple jump this year, and he thinks he can do better in the 300.

“I would have liked to do better in the 300, but I didn’t have any break all day,” he said.

Hoffman was the male most outstanding performer and helped the Knights win their fourth straight NCHSAA 4A indoor title.

Teammate Marquavious Johnson was named the sportsmanship winner. The awards are given to a member of the first- or second-place team. He also won the 500 meters (tying the state record with a 1 minute, 4.05 seconds) and helped the Knights win the 1,600 relay in a state record 3:21.1.

“We really don’t consider ourselves a team, we’re a family,” Johnson said. “We spend so much time together working to get better.”

Comfortable hurdles: Durham Hillside sophomore Marcus Krah also had a leg-wearying day.

He was second to Hoffman in the long jump and won the 55 hurdles in 7.43 seconds.

“I felt so comfortable with my form and my preparation for the race,” Krah said. “I was just so hyped to win after having a great day of focus.”

A lot of heart: Southeast Raleigh senior Jamaree Murray said although he had trained to run multiple events, t it still was difficult.

He won the 300 (34.74), was second in the 500 and was on the runner-up 1,600 relay.

“I just tried to take things one race at a time,” Murray said. “It wasn’t easy; you train yourself so you’re physically able to compete (in multiple events), but once you get here, it takes all heart to do it.”

Faster finals: Cary sophomore Charminique Hackney, who has turned in some of the top 55-meter times in the country this season, didn’t shine during qualifying. She was fifth in the preliminaries with a 7.21-second time.

Wakefield’s Ama-Selina Tchume, who recently signed with Virginia Tech, led qualifiers with a 7.06.

Tchume ran a 7.06 in the final, too, but Hackney put up a 7.05 for the title.

“I felt like I got a bad start, but I didn’t let it get to me,” Hackney said. “I just try not to think about anything – good or bad – while I’m racing. It means a lot to win as a sophomore, racing against great upperclassmen.”

Tchume won the 300 in 39.21.

Freshman flies: Leesville Road freshman Nevada Mareno set the state record in the 1,000 (2:56.24). She was surprised.

“I just wanted to get a (personal record), maybe run like 2:59 or something. In no way was I ever thinking about a state record,” she said.

Mareno nipped Asheville Roberson’s Casey Greenwalt (2:56.27) by three-hundredths of a second.

“Coming down the stretch I knew she could feel me coming because she kept drifting my way,” Mareno said. “I didn’t know if I could get there or not, having to run that far (the runners were in the third and fourth lanes at the finish), so I just kept pushing and threw my arm out just at the last moment and I got it.”

Mareno also ran on the Pride’s winning 3,200 relay team with Sarah Bigelow, G’Jasmyne Butler and Taylor Hemming. The official results had an incorrect name in the Leesville Road lineup and omitted Mareno’s name.

Timely best: Durham Jordan’s Jordyn Brown had her best competition of the season at the right time. Her winning high jump of 5-4 was her best of the season.

“I didn’t have any misses until we got to 5-6,” she said. “It feels great to achieve something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about all week.”

On the other hand, Knightdale’s Jamie Brown won the high jump by clearing 6-4, well below his hopes.

“I was hoping for a (personal record), like 6-8 or 6-10,” he said. “But a win is a win.”

Wolverine awards: Wakefield’s Ama-Selina Tschume was the girls’ most valuable performer. She won the 300 (39.21 seconds) and was second in the 55 and the long jump.

Tia Robinson of Wakefield won the girls’ sportsmanship award. She was second in the 500 and ninth in the high jump.

Tim Stevens contributed to this story.

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

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