Dylan Pinder added two state championships to his resume and got some personal improvement in at Irwin Belk Track Saturday afternoon at the NCHSAA 2A/4A track and field state championships.
The North Johnston junior continued his progress from the first two years and left Saturday with his career state championship total at eight.
Pinder, at the state meet for the third-straight year, set out to break last year’s marks and that’s what he did. Pinder didn’t match his four-crown total from last year, but he set personal bests to become three-peat champion of the 100 and 200 wheelchair dash, breaking his own state record in the 100 by around two seconds.
“I was just going out and doing my best,” Pinder said. “My goal was to beat my record.”
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In the 100, Pinder finished in 23.77 seconds to earn North two points in the team standings. He crossed the line well ahead of Floyd, by nearly four seconds. He got a burst in the final 30 meters to gain separation and top last year’s race.
“It felt like it was the best race I’ve done so far,” Pinder said.
In the 200, Pinder finished in 49.46 to win by 10 seconds. Coach Wilson could be seen pumping his fist
at the finish line and embracing Pinder after the race. The PA announcer at N.C. A&T encouraged the crowd to support Pinder with a standing ovation after his finishes.
“We come out here and talk about beating the clock and beating the tape,” North coach Jason Wilson said. “He’s got a heart of gold and he’s really competitive.”
Pinder won two events as a freshman and four (shot put, discus, 100, 200) last year.
Saturday, Pinder placed second in the wheelchair discus and shot put throws. His best discus throw came in at 31 feet, six inches, a bit behind South Lenoir’s Bryce Floyd (38-03).
In the shot put, Pinder came in second to Floyd with a throw of 14-4. Floyd threw 16-3.
“It was a personal best, but I wasn’t happy with getting second,” Pinder said.
Pinder gained motivation from the disappointment of getting runner up to bolster his dash times.
“Getting second in the shot put didn’t sit too well with him,” Wilson said. “I think that’s where that extra two seconds came from in the 100.”
With another year left in his high school career, it appears eight won’t be enough for Pinder.
North Johnson’s Alex Boyette placed 16th in the high jump with a best leap of 5-6.
On Friday, Princeton sophomore Shamonda Bell placed second in the 200 meters in 25.75 in addition to taking home a fourth-place medal in the 100 (12.39). That’s one more medal than a year ago when she was fourth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.
“I can’t describe how happy I am,” Bell said. “I wanted to win, but I’m happy I improved over last year. I’ve learned to never give up. This year I was more serious about it.”
Princeton junior Austin Sullivan used a kick to accomplish two goals: breaking 4:40 and earning a medal. His 4:39.16 was allowed him to step up onto the medal platform for his fourth-place award in the 1,600 meters. The top four finishers took home medals.
“It was a lot of hard work this year,” said Sullivan, who also finished fifth in the 3,200. “It was worth it.”
The Bulldogs’ 400-relay team took fifth in the state at 52.46. Jaz’aniah Campbell, Shamonda Bell, Zoe Byrd and Laneise Wilkins ran for Princeton. Jose Moreno was sixth in the state at 800 meters (2:05.41).
“We were a little bit slower than usual today,” said Wilkins. “We wanted to beat 51 seconds and get top four.”
Marika Samuelsson of Neuse Charter finished a solid seventh in the girls 800 (2:34.84) and was 12th in the 400.
Junior Natalie Smith of Princeton finished eighth in the shot put (33-8.75).
Princeton’s boys 400 relay team placed 10th with Earl Gibson, Jamie Pearce, Jarrett Pearce and Matthew Stallworth. The same quartet ran 10th in the 800 relay.
In the boys pole vault, Princeton’s Jose Mareno finished ninth (clearing 11 feet. Kaylee McKinney of Princeton was 11th in the girls pole vault and Luke Brush placed 12th in the boys. Darius Avery finished 13th in the boys discus for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldog girls finished 15th in the 3,200 relay with Amber Johnson, Althea Balageo, Lily Edlund and Chelsea Hawley running a 11:51.72. Zoe Byrd was 16th in the girls long jump.
Princeton’s girls finished 11th in the state.
Tom Shanahan contributed.