May success in high school track and field always comes down to a matter of production. Saturday’s 4A Mideast Regional at Apex High School was the extreme example of that. With a loaded field featuring a trio of annual state team championship contending teams (Knightdale’s boys, Wakefield’s girls and Southeast Raleigh’s girls) and a host of likely state title contenders this year (Apex’s boys, Southeast Raleigh’s boys and Cary’s girls) success at the regional level could mean even bigger things are on the horizon at the May 17 state championships in Greensboro.
But to get there, participants had to post a top four finish.
A string of area Greater Neuse River 4A Conference entries did just that, led by Southeast’s girls who won the team championship with 115 points, 20 ahead of runner-up Wakefield.
Southeast senior Jacklyn Howell swept the hurdles to lead the Bulldogs to the girls’ title. She won the 100-meter hurdles in 13.74 and the 300 hurdles in 43.52.
“I wasn’t thinking about records,” said Howell. “I just wanted to set PRs and help my seeding at the state meet. This is my last year before I go on to college (Kentucky), and I’ve been working with more dedication and focus.”
The Bulldogs also rolled up points and high finishes in the relays and in the throws. Hasana Clark won both the discus and shot put titles. Clark led a 1-2-3 finish for Southeast in the discus with Tameia Morrison and Tiffany Dunham. Dunham was also third in the shot.
Southeast’s 400 and 800 relay teams both finished second and the 1,600 relay team ran fourth. Jasmin Allen made the state championships in the 400 as did Saidah Hardwick in the high jump.
West Johnston’s girls will send Teri and Tori Strickland to the state championships in multiple events. Both Stricklands ran on the Wildcats’ fourth-place finishing 400 relay team and Tori qualified in both the long jump (fourth) and triple jump (third). Teri Strickland placed fourth in the 200.
Garner will send its 800 relay team as well of Nia Jackson, Nyah Hines, La’Cherie Clarke and Chardonei Sutton after a third place finish. Hines also finished third in the 100 hurdles.
Clayton’s Kennedy Thorne qualified in the 300 hurdles with a fourth place finish.
Garner football standout Nyheim Hines won two individual events and anchored the Trojans’ come-from-behind win in the 400 relay.
The Trojans’ running back opened the eyes of both track and football coaches with his three gold medals highlighted by a fast time of 10.54 seconds in the 100. Hines set a personal record in the 100, won the 300 hurdles in another personal record of 38.27 and brought the Trojans from behind on the anchor leg of relay with a winning 42.16. Hines ran with Sam Stidwell, James Johnson and Michael Jenkins.
Jenkins was a double-qualifier in the jumps. He took second in the triple jump and was fourth in the long jump. James Johnson (third in the 300 hurdles) and Markus Mosley (fourth in the 110 hurdles) will also represent Garner in Greensboro.
The Trojans were a solid fourth in the team standings, just behind Southeast Raleigh which had an impressive day on the boys’ side as well. Jamaree Murray set a 400 record with a 47.51. He also won the 200 (21.33) and teamed with Jayon Woodward, David Conner and Jayquan Williams to win the 4x400 in a meet record 3:17.82. Williams briefly lost the lead in the final 100 meters, but mounted one final surge to regain the lead and hold off runner-up Knightdale (3:17.95).
Southeast also will send Dexter Lamar Brewer Jr. into the 110 and 300 hurdles. He was second in the 110 and the 300 as well. Conner won the 800 (1:57.11) and Williams was second, and Jordan Sellers placed fourth for Southeast in the discus.
West Johnston’s Kyle Christ was the runner-up in the 3,200.
Sports Editor D. Clay Best contributed.