The Two Rivers 3A Conference shifted the plan for its winter conference track and field championships because of the impending snow threat. The league – by running on Monday afternoon in near 60-degree temperatures – beat Mother Nature. On the track, however, there was no matching the efforts of Corinth Holders’ girls team which won another league winter season title.
The Pirates finished with 138 points, way ahead of runner-up Triton (81), which nipped Cleveland (79 ½) for second place. Western Harnett (59 ½), South Johnston (51 ½) and Smithfield-Selma (9 1/2) rounded out the standings.
Western Harnett’s scoring advantage in the sprints and distance events (97-34) was too much for the Pirates to overcome in the boys team race. Western had 171 ½ points, while Corinth Holders totaled 117. Triton (51 ½), South Johnston (50), Cleveland (36) and Smithfield-Selma (2) also competed.
“I was pleased with everyone’s performance,” said Corinth Holders coach Peter Clark. “It was a great opportunity for us on a beautiful January day. The team dominated across the board and the hard work and resiliency showed. It has been a tough season with terrible weather and long breaks but they did it.”
Corinth Holders picked up four individual girls championships. Arden Vessie, a multiple time state championship qualifier, won the 1,600 meters (5 minutes, 46 seconds) and the 3,200 (11:49).
Megan Chappell, Kayla St. Marie, Cameron Rutherford and Vessie teamed to win the 4x800 girls relay in a state-qualifying time of 10:40.
Other conference titles went to Marie Pickett (the 55-meter hurdles in 8.9) and Cameron Rutherford (the 1,000 in 3:22.3) of Corinth Holders.
However, Essence Scott had the biggest day of any Pirate despite not winning an event. Scott, named the meet MVP, scored 30 of her team’s 138 points. She was second in the 300, second in the triple jump, third in the 55 meters and second in the long jump.
Cleveland’s Sydni Fields had a big scoring day as well, winning titles in the 300 (43.8) and the triple jump (31 feet, 5 ½ inches) and taking fifth in the long jump.
The Rams got two more conference championships from Tiandra Jenkins in the 55 meters at 7.2 seconds and Cassidy McNeirney in the long jump (16-0).
ChyAnn Ketchum (32-4 ½) led a South Johnston sweep of the top three in the shot put with Alexis Massengill and Alex Woodall second and third, respectively.
McNierney of Cleveland and Marie Pickett of Corinth Holders tied for second in the high jump at 4-8.
Naaliyah Williams of SSS tied for fifth in the 300.
Grant Sullivan led a Corinth Holders 1-2-3 run in the boys pole vault, clearing 8-6. Gavin Ciampa (8-0) and Dallas Vann (7-6) were second and third. The Pirates’ Kendrick Cobb (8.2) and Isaac Dowless (8.7) were second and third in the 55-meter hurdles. Howard Watson of Corinth Holders was the runner-up in the high jump. Dowless picked up the triple jump title (38-10 ½) and was also the runner-up in the long jump.
Bobby Beare won the 500 for Corinth Holders in 1:09.9.
Freshman Jacob Gonzalez of South Johnston, a top-10 runner at the state cross country championships in the fall, won the 1,000 in 2:50 and was second in the 3,200 at 10:37.
Cleveland’s 4x800 boys relay team finished second in 9:21 and the 4x400 team was the runner-up in 3:45.
Ye’Shen Archibald finished fifth for Smithfield-Selma in the boys 300.