Kacia Vines was the Comeback Kid in the N.C. High School Athletics Association 3A state track and field championships last weekend.
Competing Friday at Belt Track on the North Carolina A&T campus, Vines collected two medals – needing late surges to place in both events. She barely qualified for the finals of the long jump after a so-so mark in the prelims, but then leapt 17 feet, 10 inches to beat the runnerup by more than 2 inches. In the 400, she surged from fifth place in the final 100 meters to place second with a personal best of 57.53 seconds, close behind winner Nikolette Hurrinus of Cuthbertson (56.98).
Her long jump performance disappointed Vines; she considers it her best event. The 400 was a different matter. She was surprised with how much strength she had left in her kick in the 400, having previously run in 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 personal record is 18 feet, 6.5 inches, so her first two preliminary jumps were pedestrian – for her – leaps in the 16-foot range, which would have left her short of advancement. But she made it 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.”
Vines had the best showing of any Big Eight Conference athlete, but others scored in the state championship meet.
Northwood’s Alex Council was third in the girls 100 meter dash with a time of 12.10 and placed fifth in the 200 at 25.57 seconds.
Alex Ives (fifth, discus) and Noah Hanley (eighth, 800 meters) both scored for Cedar Ridge.
Chapel Hill’s Anna Passannante was second in the girls 800 meters in 2:16.29.
Paige Timothy of CHHS tied for eighth place in the girls high jump with her mark of 5 feet even.
The Chapel Hill girls 4x800 relay of Shannon Mumper,Elise Matera, Maeve Gualtieri-Reed and Milly Ames took seventh place with a time of 10:10.84. The CHHS girls 4x400 relay would have placed seventh with a time of 4:10.2 but were disqualified for interference on an exchange.
Tiger teammate Drew Roeber barely missed scoring with his 4:29.48 for ninth place in the 1600 meters.
Cardinal Gibbons’ Mary Grace Doggett led the 3,200 most of the race in a tight pack with Corinth Holder’s Arden Vessie and Asheville Reynolds’ Anna Vess 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.
Cardinal Gibbons finished with 24 points in the girls’ final standings, the best of any Big Eight team, followed by Cedar Ridge’s 18 in 12th place. Northwood (11 points) tied for 21st and Chapel Hill (10.5) was 24th out of the 55 teams that scored. Western Alamance won the girls state title with 56 points.
Fayetteville Terry Sanford the boys title with with 58 points. Cedar Ridge (9 points) had the best showing of any Big Eight team with its 20th place out of 58 scoring teams.
Wildcats compete in 4A meet
East Chapel Hill’s athletes were already looking forward to 2015, even as the 2014 state championships were drawing to close.
“We had a really strong year last year and we lost a couple of key players,” East senior Ryan Brady said. “But on the whole, we’ve been building throughout the year, and I’m happy with the way the season’s gone.”
Brady had the top finish for any of the Wildcats who qualified for the state 4A meet Saturday in Greensboro. He took third place with a season’s best time of 9:15.6 in the boys’ 3200 meters in a tight, fast race featuring Patrick Sheehan of lake Norman, William Roberson of Raleigh Broughton and Mount abor’s Ian Milder, who eventually won in 9:08.9.
Brady, who holds the East Chapel Hill record for the 3200, led the field for the first three laps, before Sheehan edged ahead at the midway mark. Roberson took the lead with about 1000 meters to go and led until Milder kicked his way to a final lap of 58.4 seconds and took the win.
Edie Vandy notched a sixth place for East Chapel Hill with his time of 22.35 seconds in the 200 meters.
Two underclassmen also did well for the Wildcats. Junior Iyin Batle was fifth in the discus with is mark of 151 feet, 4 inches, and Lilly Price finished 13th in the gitls 3200 meters. Senior Shane Jones threw the discus 136-7 for 10th place.
Brady said incoming talent, along with the athletes Est would get back next year, made for a bright future.
“The following two years are going to be pretty exciting,” Brady said.