Southeast Raleigh’s girls track and field team won the state 4A championship for the fourth time since 2006 Saturday at N.C. A&T State University. Using a balance of youth and veterans.
“We have freshman coming in that are great and we want to keep up the tradition,” said Southeast junior Samantha Davis. “This is great for us.”
It was the Bulldogs’ first championship since 2013 and broke a back-to-back title streak by Winston-Salem Parkland.
After nine events, Mallard Creek carried a 28-13.5 lead over Southeast, who sat in eighth. The Bulldogs (69.5 points) eventually got by Mallard Creek (65 points) thanks to relay victories in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 and top-five finishes in several sprint events.
Despite a disqualification in the 4-by-200 that wiped out another probable high finish, Southeast gained separation late by winning the 4-by-400 by nearly four seconds against runner up High Point Central. After the meet was delayed by over two hours because of rain, the Bulldogs knew how important the 4-by-400 would be.
“We wanted the team state title and our coaches were telling us we needed to get first in order to win it,” said Sierra Fletcher, a freshman who ran the first leg of the 4-by-400. “I knew I had to go out and get a good lead for my teammates. That’s what I did.”
Fletcher set the table for Kleo Torres, Asya Macon and Kyna Robinson, who kept Southeast in the lead for nearly the entire run.
The Bulldogs were shooting for a sub-45 second time in the 4-by-100. Chariminiqu Hackney, Kylia Wright, Kaila Lewis and Davis ended up running a 46.2, which was still good enough to set a state record for the second straight Saturday. The previous 4-by-100 record was 46.5 seconds.
“The exchange was so much better than the previous races,” said Davis, the fourth leg of SER’s 4-by-100. “It was a really good run from everyone.”
Southeast’s 4-by-200 was DQ’d due to a zone violation. The Bulldogs finished the race, but the DQ wiped out what would have been a season-best time of 1:36.81.
“There were some mess ups in the handoff,” said freshman Rahni Robinson. “We still feel like we did something good.”
Fletcher, a freshman, was fourth in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 43.55. In the 100 hurdles, Fletcher was also fourth (14.48) in the 100 hurdles.
“Knowing that my times are up there with everyone else on the team is a good feeling,” Fletcher said. “The teammates show me love and keep everyone going.”
The Bulldogs had three top-eight finishes in the 200 to earn nine points. Hackney was third (24.15), Kalia Lewis was seventh (24.64) and Kyna Robinson placed eighth (24.71). Hackney was also fourth in the 100 with a time of 11.78 with Wright placing eighth (12.12). Robinson and Kleo Torres finished 3-4 in the 400.
Southeast’s Courtney Murph, who finished seventh in the shot put, was a meet sportsmanship award winner. Candice Whitley of Southeast finished fifth in the discus and seventh in the shot. Tamela Morrison was sixth in the discus for the Bulldogs as well.
Southeast finished 15th in the boys team standings. Jayon Woodard led the Bulldog boys with a state runner-up finish in the 400 dash in 48.04.
Dominic Foy of Southeast was 13th in the long jump and the Bulldogs’ 1,600- and 400-relay teams took 13th as well. Foy also took seventh in the 300 hurdles (40.07). Khalil Gary was 11th in the 300 hurdles.
Anthony Richardson was eighth in the 100 hurdles for the Bulldogs.
Garner freshman Christian Gholson finished 11th in the triple jump (43-6) as did Garner junior Matthew Butler in the shot. Fellow Garner freshman Randolph Ross took ninth in the high jump.
The Trojans also took 13th in the 800 boys relay with Juwan Manley, Mason Crawford, Darien Adams and Rondell Terry.