The Cary High girls and Apex High boys are still atop the rest of the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference in track and field and the reason why is in the sport’s name.
Cary’s girls excel in the track portion – as they showed earlier this month when they won the Taco Bell Classic – where the Imps have depth in everything from distance to relays to sprints to hurdles.
At the SWAC championships, which concluded Wednesday, Cary defended their title, besting Apex (after a points correction on Wednesday; host Green Hope was originally announced taking second) 205-147.5.
Racking up points in the jumps, throws and pole vault, Apex’s boys proved kings of the field events and emerged as repeat champs as well. Apex was well in front of second-place Green Hope, 194.5-111.
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In total, 11 conference records were set.
MVP Warner leads Cary girls; Apex’s Murphy also MVP
Sprints: Apex’s Sydnei Murphy claimed the fastest time in the state this season in the 100 (11.83 seconds) and broke a conference record in the 200 (24.24). She also broke two conference records in the long jump and triple jump, which kept her from defending her 400 conference record.
Murphy, a senior and Duke recruit, is nationally-ranked in several events, but the SWAC meet means the most to her.
“All your friends from all around the schools you know are here,” Murphy said.“It’s more of a family thing that you don’t get at states.”
In the three sprints Murphy didn’t compete in, Cary won.
Cary senior Lakeisha Warner took the 300 hurdles (45.91) and 400 dash (57.74) en route to running MVP honors. Teammate Olivia Goodwin won the 110 hurdles (15.39).
Field events: Murphy’s triple jump was 40 feet, 8 inches and her long jump was 19 feet, 7.5 inches. Her SWAC records helped her win her second straight field MVP award.
In the throws, Fuquay-Varina senior Jaslyn Davis claimed the discus title (103 feet, 9 inches) while Apex’s Tiffany Finley won the shot put (34 feet, 8.5 inches).
Apex’s Zoe Early won the pole vault (12 feet, 6 inches), which tied a conference record, while Cary senior Leasia Pringle edged Middle Creek’s Katie Nelson and teammate Desi Rowell in the high jump (5 feet) on jumps.
Distance events: Green Hope’s Elly Henes added to her medal collection this year with wins in the 1,600 (5:03.27) and a conference-record setting 3,200 (10:53.34). Henes, a junior, has already won the 4A cross country title and the 3,200 in the indoor track season.
Cary senior Julia Brown broke the SWAC record in the 800 (2:15.93).
“That feels really good because I’ve only run a few 2:15’s before,” Brown said, adding she’s been practicing to “mentally prepare myself for races and not getting discouraged, not bringing myself down beforehand.”
Relays: Cary made a statement in the relays, winning the 4-by-200 (1:40.38, a new SWAC record), 4-by-400 (3:56.46, a new SWAC record) and 4-by-800 relays (9:38.58). Green Hope edged the Imps in the 4-by-100 (49.39).
Adaptive: Apex’s Cara King, a freshman, was the only participant in the 100 wheelchair race, 200 wheelchair as well as the wheelchair discus and shot put.
Apex claims boys title; Cook, Brown and Hoffmann win MVP
Field events: Middle Creek junior Terrell Adams broke a conference record older than him with his discus toss of 167 feet, 8 inches. The old standard was set by Athens Drive’s Mike Sartain in 1990 and tied by Fuquay-Varina’s Shawn Underwood in 2011.
“I was practicing very hard this week to get back to back up to par, where I was usually throwing at,” Adams said.
Holly Springs junior Jordan Brown won the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) en route to field MVP honors.
Middle Creek’s Jon Harrington won the triple jump (43 feet, 3 inches)
Apex senior Michael Utecht kept the Cougars’ grip on the pole vault title, clearing 14 feet. Classmate Jon Stephens won the long jump (20 feet, 4 inches)
Holly Springs junior Daniel Ligons won the shot put (55 feet, 0.5 inches).
Sprints: Fuquay-Varina’s Cameron Milligan pulled off the meet’s biggest upset by winning the 200 (22.57) from the first heat.
Panther Creek’s Bryce Wheaton won the 110 hurdles (16.50) in unorthodox fashion, moving his legs to the side instead of stretched outward.
Apex’s Tyler Cook claimed the 100 (10.90) and Fuquay-Varina’s T.J. Bleichner won the 400 (49.27).
Green Hope sophomore William Hoffmann won the 300 hurdles (42.43), which helped him earn co-running MVP with Cook.
Distance events: Cary’s Dean Abushouk, the SWAC’s cross country champ, was a double-winner in the 1,600 (4:22.66) and 3,200 (9:37.66).
Green Hope’s Henry Pehr took the 800 (1:58.13).
Relays: Four different teams won relays. Apex claimed the 4-by-200 (1:28.75); Panther Creek took the 4-by-800 (8:02.57, new SWAC record); Fuquay-Varina prevailed in the 4-by-100 (42.69, new SWAC record); Green Hope in the 4-by-400 (3:22.57).
1. Apex 194.5
2. Green Hope 111
3. Panther Creek 83
4. Middle Creek 80
5. Cary 72.5
6. Fuquay-Varina 69
7. Holly Springs 58.5
8. Athens Drive 23.5
1. Cary 205
2. Apex 147.5
3. Green Hope 144.5
4. Panther Creek 71
5. Fuquay-Varina 40
6. Holly Springs 33
7. Athens Drive 29
8. Middle Creek 28