An hour and a half rain delay was the only thing that slowed the Hillside girls down on Friday as they won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4-A girls' track and field championship.
The Hornets, who finished with 71 points, won the final race, the 1,600 relay, to hold off defending champion Southeast Raleigh, which came in second with 65 points.
It took a strong third leg by Ashlan Bowdry to vault Hillside into the lead ahead of Southeast Raleigh for good and then Jessica Wright wrapped it up with a solid anchor leg. Hillside entered the final race with the overall team lead and knew it had to finish no worse than third to hold on to the team title.
"I just had to go," Bowdry said. "I had to get out front. I knew it was going to be hard and I kept pushing."
Never miss a local story.
First-year Hillside girls' coach Jason Smoots said it was a team effort for the Hornets to win the title.
"I am so proud of my team," Smoots said. "They've worked so hard all year. I am very happy for them. Everybody came together to win this championship."
Smoots said Bowdry gave the Hornet the boost they needed to win the final relay.
"Ashlan took the baton and then she took the lead," Smoots said. "She gave it to Jessica and it was a good win for them.
Emmaya Waters led off for the Hornets, while Alysia Johnson had the second leg for the Hornets, who finished in 3:44.84, about two seconds ahead of Southeast Raleigh.
Hillside took the team lead for good with Wright's victory in the 300 hurdles in 42.99 and with Bowdry posting a fifth-place finish. They overtook Southeast Raleigh as Sierra Fletcher finished behind Wright. Riverside’s Abira Reddish took third in 43.39 in the race.
Earlier, Hillside won the 800 relay with Bowdry, Wright, Waters and Jamila McKoy in 1:38.16, as they held off second place Hoke County.
Junior Kayla Beasley won the girls' shot put with a toss of 42-10, which gave her the win by two inches of Wakefield's Veronica Fraley (42-8). Beasley finished eighth in the discus (126-6) as Candice Whitley of Southeast Raleigh won (116-10).
Alysia Johnson took second in the 200 in 24.15 as Tamara Clark of High Point Central won in 23.59. She also took second in the 400 in 53.88 behind winner Kiya Oviosun of Southeast Guilford (53.53).
Jamila McKoy took third for the Hillside girls in the 100 in 12.07 as Tamara Clark of High Point Central won in 11.72.
The Hornets took sixth in the 400 relay in 48.22 with Tianna Hayes, Khira Harris, Joyceanna Howard and McKoy as High Point Central won in 47.57.
Bailey McCray took eighth in the girls' long jump (17-2.25) as Jade Jordan of Fayetteville Pine Forest won with a leap of 19-6.50.
The Hillside boys were not able to defend their title from a year ago.
Hillside's Dymir Nelson finished eighth in the 110 hurdles finals in 16.03 as Cedric McGriff of Charlotte Providence won in 14.25.
Desmond Jackson finished first in the boys' ambulatory 100 in 12.67. Jackson, who has been slowed by a leg injury this spring, also won the ambulatory 200 in 27.83. He said he was happiest with his 100 time and that he feels like he is just rounding into shape heading into his summer season.
The Hillside boys finished seventh in the 1,600 relay with Simeon Johnson, Jysson Slade, Kacey Pratt and Tahj Hall in 3:24.86.
Northern's Miles Hill won the boys' wheelchair 100 in 28.25 ahead of Jamestown Ragsdale's Christopher Coke, whose time was 29.07. Hillside also took first place in the wheelchair shot put (16-7.50) and discus (44-8). Both of those tosses were career-bests for Hill. He finished his day by winning the wheelchair 200 in 57.77, another best time for him.
East Chapel Hill's Kayla Carson was eighth in the girls' high jump (5-2) as Morgan Smalls of Panther Creek cleared 5-8 to win.
Skyler Noble of East Chapel Hill tied for seventh in the girls' pole vault (10-0). In the boys’ pole vault, Jordan’s Caleb Wright finished sixth (13-6) as Seth Rabinowitz of Charlotte Providence cleared 15-0 to win.