Brandon Ray ran fast enough to win 100-meter high school races across the nation, but the Athens Drive senior was forced to settle for second in the Wake County Track and Field meet Saturday at Green Hope.
That’s because Panther Creek senior J Hans Johnson Jr. blazed ahead of the exceptionally fast field.
Johnson’s winning time of 10.34 seconds ranks No. 4 in the nation and No. 1 in North Carolina. It was one of three state-leading marks he posted on the day. The N.C. State-bound senior also won the 200 in 21.66 and the long jump at 24 feet, 3 inches.
“J is always full of surprises,” said Ray, the runner-up in 10.50. “I’ve been racing him since we were freshmen, and I always run faster with him. That’s my best time.”
The feeling of settling for personal pride was pretty much the same for Garner’s Rondell Terry, third in 10.60; Green Hope’s William Hoffman, fourth in 10.67; and Rolesville’s Van Gupton, fifth in 10.67. Those times also would win a lot of meets.
In fact, all eight finalists finished under 11.0 seconds. Middle Creek’s Preston Pierce was sixth, 10.83; Wakefield’s Kobe Barnes seventh, 10.87; and Garner’s Collin Eaddy eighth, 10.97. That’s fast and rare even for a state final.
“I feel good, but I think I can run faster,” Johnson said. “I tensed up a little at the end. I feel stronger physically, and I’m better mentally. It’s about working hard.”
Johnson’s previous best last year was 10.58, but the 5-8, 145-pounder said he felt ready for a breakout spring after he led Panther Creek to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A indoor track team title.
Cary won the Wake boys team title led by wins from Elijah Knight in the 300 hurdles (39.13) and Kayin Fails in the 400 (50.40).
Southeast Raleigh captured the girls crown behind doubles from Kylie Wright in the 100 (11.67) and the 200 (24.40) and Sierra Fletcher in the 100 hurdles (14.22) and 300 hurdles (45.60).
Other SER winners were Kyna Robinson in the 400 (56.30), Samantha Davis in the long jump (17-10½) and Jordan Gary in the triple jump (36-9½).
In other events, Wakefield’s Veronica Fraley swept the girls shot put (43-0) and discus (146-4). Green Hope’s Ian Delgado won the boys 800 (1:55.36), and Broughton’s Doug Scott the boys pole vault (14-0).