It’s hard for coaches or athletes to pick which area of the county’s track and field scene is the strongest. Is it the distance runners? Sprinters? Jumpers?
Each group had standout performers at Saturday’s Wake County championships, hosted by Sanderson High School.
But as far as which schools have the strongest programs going, that was solidified by the performances of the county’s two defending 4A state champs – the Wakefield girls and Knightdale boys.
Knightdale cruised to its win with 89 points, edging Wake Forest-Rolesville (66) and Enloe (59).
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Wakefield’s girls – even without two of its top athletes in Ariah Graham and Olicia Sharp – enjoyed a win with 115 points, defeating SE Raleigh (97.5) and Millbrook (64.5).
“We used a couple different people to just see what we had,” said Wakefield coach Ann Graham. “We wanted to make sure that everybody did well, and it’s all about the points. We tell all the individuals that you need to try to knock off as many people as you can.”
Wolverines step up in relays
A big reason why Wakefield and Knightdale can claim to have the top programs in the county is their relay teams.
The Wolverine girls came within seconds of winning three relays, winning the 4-by-200 and 4-by-400 and less than a second behind Southeast Raleigh in the 4-by-100. Broughton took the 4-by-800.
The Knights, meanwhile, did win three of the four possible relays (4-by-100, 4-by-400, 4-by-800). The only exception was Enloe in the 4-by-200.
Freshman stands out in sprints
The claim of being the fastest boy or girl in the county is a prestigious one, and one that on the boys side went to a well-known name, even if it belonged to a freshman.
Wake Forest-Rolesville’s Bryce Love ran a sparkling 10.69 in the 100-meter dash. Considered one of the best youth runners in the nation in previous years, Love was ready to try his hand at running against older kids.
“It was special, because the competition was a lot higher than the national level of track, because you had to run against people three, four years older than you,” Love said.
Love also won the 400-meter dash.
Wakefield’s J’den Williams earned title as fastest girl, winning the 100 with a time of 12.18, while teammate Tiana Patillo won the 400.
Meanwhile, the quickest hurdles in both genders went to Southeast Raleigh’s Sandy Chapman for boys (14.69, 110 meters) and Jakie Howell (15.22, 100 meters) for girls.
Howell provided a third Bulldogs winner in hurdles, taking the girls title in 300 meters.
Athens Drive’s Kevin Vincent won the boys 300 meter hurdles, while the girls title went to Tametris Morrison of Southeast Raleigh.Millbrook’s Richard Miller took the 800
Alexis Murphy of Apex won the girls 200 meter dash, while Knightdale’s Joseph Horton did the same for boys.
Addison shines in field events
After taking a national indoor title in the high jump, a Wake County outdoor title was no problem for Enloe’s Jonathan Addison.
Addison cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, then also won the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 9 inches.
He wasn’t the only Eagle to excel in the field event portion of the meet, as Enloe’s Alyssa Dunn won girls discus throw with a toss of 117 feet, 4 inches.
Pole vaulting had some excitement as Sanderson’s Patrick Quinn and Broughton’s Harrison Booth tied by each clearing 14 feet, and Wakefield’s Kristen Lee broke the meet record with 11 feet, 8 inches.
Millbrook’s Crystan McLymore won the girls triple jump, while Southeast Raleigh’s Jaylon Holt won the boys.
Sanderson’s Sam Beard won the boys discus, while teammate Stratford Barnett won the shotput.
The girls shot put was taken by Southeast Raleigh’s Tiffany Dunham, who had been sixth in prelims.
Keon Temple of Wake Forest-Rolesville won the girls high jump, while Wakefield’s Cidni Ford won the girls long jump.
Big names dominate in distance running
With the county leading the way this past fall in cross country – with the Broughton boys, Green Hope girls and Millbrook’s Samantha George (4:58.11) all taking titles – it’s also home to some of the state’s top distance runners.
Broughton’s Roberson brothers each won events – older brother Sam Roberson took the one-mile (4:28.40), why younger brother Will won the two-mile.
Green Hope’s Maura McDonnell won the 800-meter, while George crushed the girls field in the mile.
“It was a real competitive race,” McDonnell said. “I don’t think I ever felt (like I had it) until the very end.”
Panther Creek’s Dana Cox won the two-mile, leading almost wire-to-wire.