Cedar Ridge, Western Harnett athletes win NCHSAA 3A track titles

CorrespondentMay 16, 2014 

— Cedar Ridge’s Kacie Vines might have found a new event, but it was more of the same for Western Harnett’s Mateius Brown in his old events.

They led the contingent of medalists representing Triangle as the top four athletes in each event took home medals from the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A state track and field championships Friday at Aggie Stadium/Irwin Belk Track on the North Carolina A&T campus.

Vines, a 5-foot-11 junior, was the Comeback Kid in collecting two medals with a pair of comebacks. She won the long jump at 17 feet, 10 ½ inches after nearly failing to advance from the prelims to the final. In the 400, she surged from fifth place in the final 100 meters to place with a personal best of 57.53 seconds.

Brown flexed his muscles in the weight events to win the discus for the second straight year with a toss of 169 feet, 6 inches that was a winning margin by 2 and a half feet. He also claimed second in the shot put with a toss of 55-6.

The long jump performance disappointed Vines in event that she has long considered her best event, but she was surprised with how much strength she had left in her kick in the 400. She previously ran the 100 and 200.

“I ran the 400 for the first time last year for the Durham Striders, and I thought, ‘This might be my race,’ ” said Vines. “I decided to try the 400 this year in my high school season. .”

In the long jump, her PR is 18-6, so her first two prelims jumps were pedestrian – for her – leaps in the 16-foot range that had her failing to advance. But she advanced to the finals with a leap of 17-5. She again struggled in the finals before her winning mark on her third and final jump.

“My legs were cramping up on me,” Vines said. “I was a little sore from last week.”

Northwood’s Alex Council was third in the 100 with a time of 12.10.

Corinth Holder’s Arden Vessie nearly pulled off an upset in the girls 1,600 as she finished second (10:52.31) with a time that broke the previous state-meet record of 10:54.64. Vessie, a junior, pulled ahead of Ashfield Reynold’s Anna Vess in the final 15 meters, but Vess had one more surge in the final 10 meters to edge Vessie on the lean with a time of 10:52.18.

“I tried to stick with the top pack,” said Vessie, who broke 11:00 for the first time. “I tried to make a move and then I tried to stick with to the best of my ability. That was the closest race I’ve ever been in. It was cool to have someone push me to a time like that. I’m thankful she was in the race. She did an amazing job.”

Cardinal Gibbons’ Mary Grace Doggett led the 3,200 most of the race in a tight pack with Vess and Vessie on her shoulders, but she said she didn’t have a kick to stay in front once Vess and Vessie made their move in the final 200 meters. Doggett finished third in 10:58.62.

Vess had earlier won the 1,600 in 5:00.39 in race that included another Gibbons bronze medalist. Megan Vaughn moved from fifth to third on the final lap to set a PR with a 5:03.15.

“Halfway through the race I realized I was still in and decided to go for it,” Vaughn said.

In the girls, 800 Chapel Hill’s Anna Passannante was second in 2:16.29.

In the boys’ distance events, South Johnston’s Jacob Gonzalez was fourth in the 1,600 in 4:25.68. He led for the first three laps.

Hurdles: Cardinal Gibbons’ Kayla Gandy placed fourth in the girls 100 hurdles in 15.27.

Relays: Cardinal Gibbons’ boys 4x800 team was fourth. Cody Nagy, Will Harris, J.T. Klimek and Connor Peeples finished in 8:04.14.

Field events: In addition to Brown’s shot put-discus performances, Southern Lee’s Tiara Bland was second in the discus with a toss of 113-1. She was second by only one inch to Alexis Dickerson of Western Almance. Dickerson swept the weight events with a winning 38-6 in the discus.

In the boys’ jump events, Southern Lee’s Larry McLeod tied at 6-4 but won a jump off for the third-place medal.

Team champions: Western Alamance won the girls state title with 56 points and Fayetteville Terry Sanford the boys title with with 58 points.

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