Familiar rivals Princeton and Rosewood took turns finishing on top at the Carolina 1A Conference track and field championships Wednesday night in Princeton.
The Bulldogs edged out the Eagles for the girls’ title. Every point was crucial, as the Bulldogs’ 127 points were barely enough to hold off a strong Eagles’ contingent that finished in second place with 122 points.
Princeton freshman Shamonda Bell turned in a dominant performance, leading all competitors with 38 combined points, but a team with limited numbers received contributions from each of its 10 members.
“I felt like our girls had a chance at winning but we had to do a lot of things right to pull it off,” Princeton coach Mark McLamb said. “We only have 10 girls on the roster and they all had to compete strong to get those (127) points to win.”
Never miss a local story.
Bell cruised in the sprints, taking first place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.94 seconds, the 200-meter dash (27.55) and the 400 (1:04.27). Bell also earned eight huge points with a runner-up finish in the 100-meter hurdles.
While Bell dominated on the track, fellow freshman Shae Malham was the leading scorer in the field events.
Malham won the pole vault (seven feet, six inches) finished second in the high jump to Rosewood’s Lexi Mercer and also placed third in the triple jump.
McLamb pointed to the Bulldogs being able to finish first, second and third in the pole vault as being a pivotal moment in the meet as, in addition to Malham’s win in that event, Kaylee McKinney and Kaylee Bice ended up in second and third, respectively.
In the distance events, Princeton’s Megan Evans came through as she placed fourth in the 1600 and finished second in the 3200. Altheia Balageo posted a fourth place finish in the 3200 and, along with Bice, Asia Levi and McKinney, helped the Bulldogs take third place in the 4x200-meter relay.
Rosewood swept the hurdles with Krystal Yelverton taking first in both the 100 and 200.
Hobbton ended in third place with 111 points highlighted by Ashley Hinterleiter’s dominant performance in the 3,200 (14:02.32).
In the boys’ competition, the Bulldogs couldn’t match the overall depth of Rosewood, as the Eagles cruised to the victory with 214.5 points. Princeton came in second with 119.5 points while Hobbton finished a distant third place with 80 points.
The Eagles’ Marquail Al-montaser took the top spot in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and triple jump. John Brooks won both the high jump and long jump for Rosewood while Zach Barnes contributed nicely with a win in the 400-meter dash (51.92 seconds) and a second place finish in the high jump.
“We had a solid day but Rosewood had much more depth than us and we couldn’t keep up,” conceded McLamb.
Princeton made its hay in the distance races with Jose Aguillion and Austin Sullivan leading the way.
Sullivan won both the 1600 and 3200 with Aguillion placing second in both. Sullivan ran a leg on the Bulldogs’ first place 4x800-relay team that also featured Brent Hurst, Hunter Mitchell and Jose Moreno.
“Our distance runners really came in strong for us today,” said McLamb. “We scored 52 points in the four distance events; that is almost half of our points (that) came from the distance kids.”
The Bulldogs’ team of Mitchell, Moreno, Jamie Pearce and Jarrett Pearce won the 4x200-meter relay in 1:37.85.
Martin Bayles won the pole vault competition and his vault of 12 feet, six inches set a new school record.
Princeton’s Johnny Frasier nipped Warsaw James Kenan’s Marquel Brinson in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.29 seconds and then took second place in the 110 hurdles.
Neuse Charter’s Maurice Watson finished second in the 400-meter dash and third in the 100 leading the Cougars to a fifth-place finish.