Cleveland’s Sydni Fields spent Friday either winning state titles or consoling athletes — teammates as well as opponents.
That why she took home the Sportsmanship Award in addition to sweeping the hurdles in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A state track and field meet Friday at Aggie Stadium on the North Carolina A&T campus. The titles were for winning the 100-meter hurdles in 14.98 seconds and the 300 hurdles 44.59.
But she did more than celebrate her wins.
After she won her heat in the 200 meters, she remained on the track attempting to comfort an opponent on the track in pain into trainers arrived.
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“I was very concerned for her,” Fields said. “That’s a pet peeve for me when a girl is down on the track and everyone walks away. Track is an aggressive sport and hard on your body just to finish races. I know how it feels to fall. I’d like for someone to console me. Do for others what they do for you.”
In the 4x200, she ran the third leg and passed the baton with the lead to Miranda Hinton. Hinton ran a strong leg, but Eastern Guilford’s Taylor Henderson, the state champion in the 200 and runner-up in the 100, came from behind for the win. The Rams, with Imani Williams and Naelee Stone also running legs, were second. Fields greeted Hinton, in tears, with a hug.
“We’re all best friends,” Fields said. “I told her it’s a team effort. We got second as a team and we’re happy with that.”
Fields led throughout the 300 hurdles, but in the 100 hurdles she needed a burst over the final two hurdles. She said her background in dance 5-foot-10 height helped her.
“A lot of times I use dancing techniques to lengthen my stride at the end of a race,” she said. “We talked as a team that the lean at the end can make a difference.”
The performance by Fields, who will continue her career at Appalachian State, performance highlighted the day for Cleveland as the Rams finished second in the team competition to Eastern Guilford. The top four places earned medals and the top eight scored team points.
Cleveland’s 4x100-relay team of Williams, Stone, Cassidy McNierney and Hinton placed second in 48.37.
McNierney also earned a medal in the long jump. She was seeded fifth but placed third in the long jump (17-7 ¼).
“I wanted to get 18 feet, but I’m happy I placed higher than I was ranked,” she said. “I had a jump that I thought was 18 feet or close to it, but I scratched and they didn’t measure it. I learned this year to stay focused. On my first jump I went only 16-3, but my coach told me not to get upset after one bad jump.”
The Cleveland boys earning medals were junior Gable Dersham with a second place run in the 3,200 (9:20.79) and senior Lawsom Lamm fourth in the 800 (1:57.33).
South Johnston junior Jacob Gonzalez was sixth in the 1,600 (4:23.77) and seventh in the 3,200 (9:36.53).
Freshman Peyton Whitaker of Corinth Holders finished 12th in the 1,600 (5:24.78). Cleveland’s Jessica Cullins was 13th in the 1,600 and the 3,200.
In the girls 3,200 Cleveland finished eighth and Corinth Holders was 10th. Sophomore Olivia Bargoil was 16th in the pole vault (8-0).
Smithfield-Selma junior Caleb Silver placed 10th in the 1,600. Wyatt Dershem of Cleveland was ninth in the 3,200. Jamal Hampton took 10th for the Rams in the long jump (20-2).