Several schools experienced indoor track state championship firsts on Saturday.
The Green Hope boys, for instance, won their first N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A title. It was far from the Southeast Raleigh girls’ inaugural indoor championship, but it was the Bulldogs’ first since 2009.
Most significantly was a young Rolesville club picking up a state champion, its only of any sort in the school’s four-year history.
Rams senior Lauren White won gold in the girls’ long jump with an 18-06.50. The top seed in the event entering the championships at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, White said she hit the 18-foot mark on her final jump.
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“My long jump, I really struggled at first,” said White, who also won second in the girls’ 55-meter dash (7 minutes, 0.7 seconds). “I had to focus because I knew I was the top coming in. I really had to focus to have my best day today. I scratched most of my jumps surprisingly. Two jumps before I jumped my 18, there were 16s. I really had to sit myself down, and I knew I had to do my best on my last jump.”
Her seed mark coming in at long jump was 17-10.
White, the N.C. State signee who scored all of the Rolesville girls’ 18 points, hoped to accomplish a winning day to prepare for the New Balance Nationals Indoor from March 11 to 13 in the New York Armory.
“I wanted to finish my year really strong. That was my goal today,” White said. “It means a lot going out with a state championship.”
The overall girls’ champions were anchored by sweeping relay teams. All season, the Bulldogs’ team races have dominated.
They weren’t expecting to win the opening 4x800 meter race, as Southeast entered in third place with a time of 9:51.69. After second leg Aysa Macon shifted in front of the pack to capture the lead, the Bulldogs never let it go.
They were anchored by freshman Rhoni Robinson for a 4A record-setting 9:32.83 victory.
“Truth be told, we had not run that relay at full strength. You know, you never show all your cards at once,” said Southeast Raleigh coach Elizabeth Gary, who noted her runners were reluctant to run the relay because they wanted to stay fresh for other events. “States is not the time to give away points. If you subtract the 10 points we got for the relay, we still win the meet, but anything could have happened. ...Don’t get too comfortable that everything else is going to go perfect.”
The Southeast Raleigh girls won with 79 points in front of Green Hope (48) and High Point Central (39). The Green Hope boys (49) won close over Mount Tabor (41) and Durham Hillside (33).
Hillside’s Marcus Krah won gold in three events, capturing most outstanding player honors on the boys’ side. He picked up gold in the boys’ long jump (22-04.75), triple jump (47-01) and his specialized event at the 55-meter hurdle race (7.29).
Green Hope’s Elly Hanes took MOP in the girls’ championship.
Other individual champions included UNC Charlotte signee Elijah Cole of Millbrook in the boys’ pole vault (16-00) and Wakefield’s Breanne Bygrave in the 55-meter girls’ hurdles (7.29). Cole’s mark entering the meet was 15-06, and Bygrave fell in the finals last year so was glad to redeem herself with a championship.
“It just means a lot, just means I’ve been progressing and getting better at what I do,” she said.
Leesville Road’s G’Jasmyne Butler came in first in the 1,000-meter run with a 2:58.33, shaving nearly three seconds from her seed time.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538