Apex’s Sydnei Murphy tried something she had never tried before during the Feb. 14 NCHSAA 4A state indoor track and field championships: she entered three different individual events at a state meet.
Maybe next time, she should go for four.
Murphy brought home state championships in all three of her events – the 55-meter dash, the long jump and the triple jump, leading the Cougars to a state runner-up finish. Apex finished a point ahead of rival Cary (47-46). Winston-Salem Parkland (89 points) dominated the girls competition.
Murphy set a state record in the long jump at 19 feet, 7 inches. It was one of seven state records to fall in the girls meet at the JDL Fast Track.
She started her day by winning the 55 dash in 6.95 seconds. “I’ve never won a race at a state meet, so winning the 55 was a big thing,” Murphy said. “And I’ve never broken seven seconds before. It felt good, but it didn’t feel like I was running as fast as I was.”
The long jump title followed, then the triple jump win at 39-101/2 wrapped up the day.
“The long jump went awesome, that’s a great result (the 19-7 leap),” Murphy said. “The triple jump was a struggle. I fell on my first two jumps and had to hit the third just to make the finals.
“I hit the winning jump in my first attempt in the finals and just let it stand.”
Pride sets three state records: Leesville Road set three of those state records. Its 3,200 relay team (Taylor Hemming, G’Jasmyne Butler, Sydney Winchel and Nevada Mareno) ran a 9:25.42 to win. Mareno, a sophomore, broke her own state records in the 1,000 (2:53.81) and the 1,600 (4:57.77).
Apex’s Zoe Early won the girls pole vault gold at 12-6. “I just tried to really chill out and not think about where I was or a height of finishing a certain place,” Early said. “I just relaxed and it happened.”
Cara King gave Apex’s girls another win in the girls 55-meter wheelchair dash (14.98).
Layla White of Cary won the 500 in a state record time of 1:14.1. Durham Jordan’s Jordyn Brown won girls high jump title at 5-6.
The Imps finished second in a wild girls 1,600 relay. There were five different leaders in the race, which finished with Parkland’s Ebony Williams – the girls meet MVP – running a brilliant closing leg to clinch the gold.
Elly Henes of Green Hope had one of the more thrilling finishing pushes you could expect in a 3,200 meter race. She passed Roberson’s Lily Anderson and Greensboro Page’s Caroline Yarbourgh in the final 200 meters of the race.
“I had a lot of anger in me after the 1,600,” said Henes, who finished third in the 1,600. “I just let that energy build up and tried to save it for my kick in the 3,200.
“When the race started, I didn’t know for sure if I’d be able to close like I did, but once the race started, I knew I’d have it there when I needed it.”
She set a state record as well in 10:43.45.
Knightdale’s Hannah Dunston was sixth in the girls 55-meter hurdles (8.65) and 10th in the girls long jump (16-8).
Hines grabs elusive state title ring: Garner sprinter Nyheim Hines, an N.C. State football recruit, edged another area running back (Clayton’s Rodney Rowe) to win the boys 55 dash state championship.
Hines finished in 6.28 seconds, 0.04 ahead of Rowe, who closed the gap at the end of the race, almost catching the Garner standout.
“Getting this state championship ring after not being able to get it in football is something I really wanted,” Hines said. “I’m going to need to rest my knee some before the fall, so I’m probably not going to run much of the outdoor season.
“I’m just glad I get to share an experience like this with my family.”
Millbrook is boys runner-up: Millbrook didn’t bring home any state titles but the Wildcats did clinch the state runner-up trophy in the team competition with 37 points. Hope Mills South View, led by Phillip Hall’s three individual victories, won the title with 49 points.
Jonte Leaston finished second in the high jump (6-6) and the long jump (22-1 ½) as well for Millbrook. Elijah Coley was third in the pole vault, while teammate Raul Oquendo took fourth in the 55 meters.
The Wildcats’ 1,600 relay team finished fifth in the state as well.
Other area boys performances: East Wake’s Charleston High had the top finish of the eastern Wake schools with a third-place finished in the boys triple jump (46-10). Knightdale’s Jamie Brown was eighth in the long jump (21-2 1/2) and teammate Kameron Ballen was sixth in the shot put (49 feet).
Southeast Raleigh’s boys 1,600 relay team set the only state record of the evening in the boys meet. Jayquan Williams, Brian Ananaba, Terrance Adams and Jayon Woodard clocked in at 3:24.50.
Michael Utecht of Apex won the boys pole vault crown, clearing 15-6. “I came in just hoping to hit a P.R. and I did that by a foot,” Utecht said. “It was my goal to end the season on a P.R. and the state championship is just a bonus.”
Durham Hillside’s Marcus Krah broke his own state record in the 55 hurdles, running a 7.24 (0.05 quicker than his previous best time).
“Since indoor season started all I’ve been thinking about is winning a state championship,” Krah said. “I knew I’d be nervous, but I was proud that I was able to deal with it.”
T.J. Bleichner of Fuquay-Varina won the boys 500 meters in 1:05.37 and Wakefield’s Dylan Peebles took the 300 title (34.53).
Desmond Jackson of Hillside scored wins in the amputee 300, the long jump and the 55 dash. Jordan Maddox of Southeast Raleigh won the boys shot put wheelchair title and the 55 wheelchair crown.