The same two Southwest Wake Athletic Conference schools that usually bring home the track and field titles did so again on Thursday. But there was a small break with history.
Cary’s girls won the SWAC title, ending a four-year conference reign by Apex.
And Apex’s boys also won, which snapped a four-year streak for Cary.
“We all worked together as a team and put up points together. It paid off,” said Cary sophomore Charminique Hackney.
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“It’s just a great feeling having our whole team coming together and pulling it off this year,” Apex junior Tyler Cook said. “And it’s not like one person is doing all of the work. Everyone is helping out.”
It was the third day of SWAC track and field events. The championships kicked off Saturday at Apex for the pole vault. Half of the events were completed on Monday at Athens Drive High and thunderstorms pushed back Tuesday’s events to Thursday, also at Athens Drive.
On the girls’ side, Hackney was named the track MVP and Apex’s Sydnei Murphy was honored as the field MVP. For the boys, Holly Springs’ Lamar Nobles was the awarded field MVP and Apex’s Mihret Coulter was celebrated as track MVP.
In all, nine conference records fell or were tied.
Cary steals relay show: Cary’s girls were dominant, winning all four relays and setting new conference records in three events. On Tuesday, they set a new SWAC mark in winning the 4-by-800 relay (9 minutes, 32.19 seconds), 24 seconds ahead of second place.
On Thursday, they cleaned up, winning the 4-by-200 (1:44.46) and setting more conference records in the 4-by-100 (48.41) – which broke a 1997 East Wake record – and the 4-by-400 (4:01.36), all without star junior Layla White.
“It’s a boost to our confidence since we build around Layla,” Hackney said. “We all had to carry our own weight and put in points and that’s what we did.”
On the boys’ side, Holly Springs won the 4-by-100 (43.56) and the 4-by-200 (1:30.59) while Green Hope took the 4-by-400 (3:28.52). On Tuesday, Apex won the 4-by-800 relay (8:09.33).
Jumper, vaulters shine in field events: Nobles, who was also conference field MVP as a sophomore at Athens Drive, has committed to play junior college basketball next year.
“I get a lot of questions about that,” Nobles said. “Basketball is my first love.”
Those who wonder if Nobles should give track a shot will only grow after the SWAC meet. In addition to being a winning anchor leg in the 4-by-200 relay, Nobles won all three jumps – triple (45 feet-8.5 inches), long (22-1.5) and high (6-6).
“Coach (Jeff) Fishback and coach (Thurman) Jordan work on me a lot about jumping,” Nobles said. “Each event is a different technique but I work every day on each one.”
Apex’s Murphy, a junior who was the track MVP of last year’s meet, was runner-up in the 100 and 200 and defended her long jump title (18-0.25) while also setting a new conference triple jump record (39-9). Teammate Katie Mazanec won the girls’ high jump (5 feet) on misses over Cary’s Leasia Pringle.
Apex continued its dominance of the pole vault last Saturday. On the boys’ side, the Cougars went 1-2-3 with Michael Utecht (15 feet) edging Joe DeVries on misses – (the inverse of last year’s results) as they tied for a new conference record. The girls’ pole vault saw Apex’s Anna Eaton defend her title and tie the conference record (12-6).
Middle Creek’s Terrell Adams won the boys’ shot put (52-1) while Apex’s Jason Lockamy (158-1) took the discus.
Apex’s Tiffany Finley won the girls’ discus (101-9) while Green Hope’s Tay’lore Moore (36-11) won the shot put.
Hackney breaks sprint records: Cary’s Hackney is just a sophomore, but she broke conference records in the 100 (11.73 seconds) and 200 (24.27 – the fastest in N.C. this year) and helped the Imps to two of their four relay wins.
“In the 100 I was kind of worried because I was seeded second. But I was like ‘OK I can push through it and get my start better,’ ” Hackney said.
The boys’ 200 went to Green Hope’s Kwabena Sarpong (22.47) while the 100 was a photo finish. Apex’s Cook (11.06) beat reigning conference champ Patrick Edwards of Panther Creek by one-tenth of a second.
“That’s exactly what happened last year against Patrick. He beat me down the straight and in the last 20 (meters) I started to close, but I just didn’t get it last year. That was the motivation for this year,” Cook said. “I got him on the lean, barely.”
Fuquay-Varina’s T.J. Bleichner won the boys’ 400 (49.64) while Athens Drive’s Ngozi Wedderburn (57.73) took the girls’ 400.
Green Hope’s Danyel De Souza won the girls’ 100 meter hurdles (16.20) while Cary’s Olivia Goodwin won the 300 hurdles (47.93).
On the boys’ side, Green Hope’s Billy Murganti swept the hurdles (15.71 in 110, 42.18 in 300).
Coulter becomes MVP on distance: On Tuesday, Apex’s Coulter won the boys’ 1,600 (4:20.12) edging Green Hope’s Brad Pehr. Coulter came back on Thursday to also take the 3,200 (9:45.47).
Green Hope’s Elly Henes won the girls’ 1,600 (5:05.03) while Panther Creek’s Rebekah Greengrass repeated her 3,200 title (11:07.84).
Green Hope’s Pehr set a new conference mark in the 800 (1:55.56) while the girls’ 800 was claimed by Cary’s Julia Brown (2:18.70).
Coaches: Apex boys’ coach Mark Trezona and Cary coach Jerry Dotson were voted the coaches of the year.