Each session of the state indoor track and field championships at JDL Fast Track brought a championship story for the area. As Friday’s 1A/2A meet and Saturday’s 3A and 4A meets saw local entries walk away with a gold medal hanging around their neck.
Southeast Raleigh had strong team performance in the 4A races with both Bulldog teams finishing in the top 10 of the team rankings.
Hines grabs elusive state title ring, nipping Rowe: Garner sprinter Nyheim Hines, an N.C. State football recruit, edged another area running back (Clayton’s Rodney Rowe) to win the boys 55-meter dash state championship.
Hines finished in 6.28 seconds, 0.04 ahead of Rowe, who closed the gap at the end of the race, almost catching the Garner standout.
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“Getting this state championship ring after not being able to get it in football is something I really wanted,” Hines said. “I’m going to need to rest my knee some before the fall, so I’m probably not going to run much of the outdoor season.
“I’m just glad I get to share an experience like this with my family.”
“It was a great race with Nyheim,” Rowe said. “He pushed me to run by best time of the year.”
Rowe started to close on Hines near the end of the race, but came up just short. “I’m at my best in the 60 or 100 meters,” he said. “I feel like I’m just reaching my top speed when I hit 50 meters or so.”
Rowe ran a 6.33 in prelims, 6.32 in finals.
Garner had a state silver medalist in Taylor Sutton in the high jump. The freshman cleared 5 feet, 4 inches for the state runner-up spot.
Rams live up to their high seeding: Cleveland’s girls 800 relay team rolled to a state championship in 1:49.78. They entered the meet as the No. 1 seeded relay quartet.
Syndi Fields put Cleveland comfortably in the lead after taking the first baton exchange from Imani Williams. The lead was up to 20 meters by the time Fields handed off to Cassidy McNierney. McNierney stretched the lead out eve more, giving Alyssa Rivera a comfortable margin for the anchor leg.
The only issue at that point was the time the Rams would log and Williams brought home a best of the season leg, completing a run of 1:49.78.
“Doing something like this depends so much on everybody contributing,” Williams said. “Everyone on the team had to come out and do their part and work together to make this happen.”
Even thought they came in with a qualifying time two seconds quicker than any other team, Cleveland’s quartet didn’t let overconfidence creep into their minds.
“It’s a really special feeling and what an experience to do this with these three girls,” McNierney said. “But you can’t think too much about times coming in because you don’t know for sure who you’re running against.”
Fields called the gold medal a gift and payment for all of the hard work the quartet had put in together.
Williams was thrilled with the win and ready to share the credit: “It’s just a blessing. … I’m just so thankful for my team and my coaches who allowed us to do this. It’s a special feeling.”
Southeast squads post matching top 10 team finishes: Southeast Raleigh’s boys were third in the team championship race, just three points behind runner-up Millbrook.
Southeast’s boys 1,600 relay team set the only state record of the evening in the boys meet. Jayquan Williams, Brian Ananaba, Terrance Adams and Jayon Woodard clocked in at 3:24.50.
The Bulldogs also won bronze in the 3,200 relay (Williams, Ananaba, Khalil Gary and Adams). Woodard took silver in the 500 (1:05.93) and sixth in the 300, while Ananaba was eighth in the 500. Williams took seventh in the 1,000.
Jordan Maddox of Southeast Raleigh won the boys shot put wheelchair title and the 55 wheelchair crown.
The Bulldog girls team was ninth in the state, placing three in the top nine in both the shot put and the 500 meter competitions. Hasana Clark (third at 40-11 ½) led the way in the shot, followed by Tiffany Dunham (fifth, 38-7 ¼) and Courtney Murph (ninth, 36-9 ¼).
Kleo Torres took fifth in the 500 (1:17.38), while Asya Macon was sixth and Saidah Hardwick finished ninth.
The Bulldogs were also seventh in the 1,600 relay.
Other area 3A meet highlights: Cleveland’s Tiandra Jenkins finished fourth in the girls 55-meter dash (7.43), as did Corinth Holders’ boys jumper Sadavion Dixon in the triple jump (42-5). Samara Gibson took fourth in the girls 500 with a personal best time of 1:21.79.
Dixon was also sixth in the long jump, where South Johnston’s Eric Bowles placed ninth.
Cleveland’s 3,200 boys relay team — Noah Pipes, Wyatt Dershem, Gable Dershem and Austin Blumenberg — finished sixth in the state (8:29.81). Austin Blumenberg was sixth individually in the boys 500 (1:08.18). Corinth Holders’ Bobby Beare took 14th in the 500.
Patrick Myers of Corinth Holders was ninth in the 3,200, Gable Dershem took 10th and Wyatt Dershem was 13th.
McNierney (10th in the long jump) and Fields (eighth in the 55 hurdles) had individual top 10 finishes.
Johnston County had two placers in the girls shot put (Alex Woodall of South Johnston in eighth and teammate Emma Blackmon in 11th) and the boys pole vault (Corinth Holders’ teammates Grant Sullivan in 10th and Dallas Vann in 13th).
Area 4A notables: Kyle Christ of West Johnston led the early stages of the boys 3,200 in the 4A championships before finishing sixth in 9:48.81. Clayton’s Alex Roy was seventh in the 1,600 (4:33.54), as was West’s Alex Porter in the shot (48-6).
Chris Perez of West Johnston finished eighth in the 1,000 at 2:37.32. Clayton’s Kennedy Thorne was 11th in the 300 (41.81) and 12th in the 55-meter hurdle prelims (8.7).