Wakefield’s girls’ and Knightdale’s boys’ indoor track and field teams nipped Wake County rivals to secure their third consecutive state team championships.
Wakefield’s girls’ and Knightdale’s boys’ indoor track and field teams were counting on scoring in the long jump competitions during Saturday’s 4A state championship meet at the JDL Fast Track.
Neither team did.
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After the boys’ event, Knightdale coach David Castell called an impromptu team meeting. Wakefield girls coach Ann Graham told her team they’d have to find those points somewhere else.
Both teams responded to those challenges, and both nipped Wake County rivals to secure their third consecutive state team championships.
Knightdale needed both of its wins in the 3,200-meter relay and the 1,600 meter relay to beat Cary 65-44. The Imps thrived on the three individual event wins of boys’ meet MVP Bakri Abushouk in the 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200.
Wakefield needed its win in the 1,600 girls’ relay to top Southeast Raleigh 80-72.
“It came down to the triple jump and the four-by-four,” Graham said. “It’s all about how you handle the pressure. Tyra came through winning the triple jump, like you’d want a senior captain to do. We had to substitute (Destiny) Robinson for her in the four-by-four and she did well, helping us win.”
Lea was the girls’ meet MVP with wins in the 300 (38.76 seconds, a new state record) and the triple jump at 37 feet, six inches.
“The 300 was a big win,” Lea said. “I’ve never lost a race in that this year, and to go out and get the state record like I wanted was special.”
Robinson teamed with Tiana Patillo, Dejah Jones and Je’May Ward to win the 4x400 in 3:53.3.
Kristen Lee added another win for the Wolverines in the pole vault, clearing 12-6.
Southeast Raleigh scored most of its points with a string of top-five finishes but got an individual championship from Amara Bell in the high jump (5-4).
Maura McDonnell of Green Hope won the 1,600 making the winning pass on the final turn, prevailing in 5:10.3. Green Hope was fourth in girls’ team scoring.
“It feels very good,” McDonnell said of her win. “I’d finished second in the 1,000 before and I just told myself down the stretch of that race that I was tired of getting second place.”
Cary’s Layla White won the 500 in 1:14.94.
The top four finishers in the girls 55-meter hurdles finished within three one-hundredths of a second of each other, led by Southwest Guilford’s Hunter Roberts (8.10). Wakefield freshman Breanne Bygrave was second, followed by former state champion Mollie Williams of Clayton (both at 8.11) and Jacklyn Howell of Southeast Raleigh (8.13).
Knightdale’s boys’ took a huge step toward winning their third straight state championship in the day’s first event, winning the 4x800 relay ahead of Cary. Henry Kiedy, Marquavious Johnson, Marcell Johnson and Adonis Williams beat an Imp relay team that included Abushouk.
The Knights’ got the 10 points they needed out of the 4x400 to edge by the Imps. Bernard Freeman, Kiedy and the Johnsons won that event in 3:22.1. Cary was 10th in the event two slots out of the points.
Kimani Hoffman of Knightdale was particularly motivated by his 11th place finish in the long jump. He turned that anger into a state championship in the triple jump at 46-6 1/2.
“I was disappointed after the long jump and I was just on a mission in the triple jump,” Hoffman said. “I just tried to turn that anger into something I could channel into my performance in the triple jump.”
Marquavious Johnson surprised himself a bit in winning the 500 meters for the Knights at 1:04.48.
Abushouk’s last win of the evening came in the 3,200 when he passed Broughton’s William Roberson in the final 50 meters to win. He finished at 9:25.4, a half-second ahead of Roberson.
“I never thought I’d trail the whole race (in the 3,200),” Abushouk said. “I was really struggling throughout that race and just hoped the pace didn’t get too quick. I just pushed and was able to stay close enough. That last push was all my faith that God would push me through.”
He won the 1,000 in 2:32.73 and the 1,600 in 4:14.56.
Phillip Thomas gave Cary the win in the pole vault (14-6).
East Chapel Hill thrower Jon Beyle hit on an amazing throw of 61-10 to win the shot put. It’s his fourth state championship in the past year. He won the 2012 indoor shot as well as the 2012 outdoor shot and discus.
“When I threw it I knew that everything was perfect about the throw, that I’d really put it all together,” Beyle said.
Durham Riverside’s Malik Goldston won the long jump (23-5 1/2), going five inches over his pre-meet goal of 23 feet. Southeast Raleigh’s boys’ finished fourth.