High School Sports

Prep notebook: Leesville Road’s Nevada Mareno shows championship form

Leesville Road’s Nevada Mareno set  the N.C. High School Athletic Association girls’ 1,000 meters record.
Leesville Road’s Nevada Mareno set the N.C. High School Athletic Association girls’ 1,000 meters record. Dean Strickland, OD

Leesville Road’s Nevada Mareno, who set the N.C. High School Athletic Association girls indoor track record for 1,000 meters last year, ran even faster last Saturday in a meet in Winston-Salem.

Mareno ran the second-fastest indoor 1,000 ever by a North Carolina girl (2 minutes, 55.20 seconds), winning by 12 seconds. According to ncrunners.com, her time is the fourth- fastest in the country this year.

“I had only run the 1,000 indoors one time this season, and my goal was to go under three minutes,” Mareno said. “I had been training well, but it was a surprise.”

The bigger surprise was how she felt after the race.

“Last year, I was lightheaded and dizzy after the race,” she said. “This time, I was exhausted and tired and excited, but I felt OK.”

She set the NCHSAA record with a 4A championship run of 2:56.24 last year as a freshman.

Mareno also won the 1,600 in the meet on Saturday with a 5:07.97.

Mareno was fourth in the NCHSAA 4A cross country championships in the fall.

The NCHSAA indoor championships are scheduled for Feb. 14.

Gymnastics: Clayton, Wake Forest and Green Hope won conference titles Friday in their league gymnastics championships at the Raleigh School of Gymnastics.

Wake Forest nipped traditional Cap Eight power Millbrook, 111.75 to 111.65, for the league title. Millbrook’s Lydia Sobhan won her third consecutive all-around title.

“This year was a surprise because I gave up competitive (club) gymnastics. I didn’t know if I’d do this well this year,” Sobhan said.

Sobhan won beam (9.75) and bars (9.7) and tied Wake Forest’s Audrie Bruce for first on floor (9.6). Leesville’s Gabby Kistner, Millbrook’s Ashli Keyse and Enloe’s Bailey Hodge shared the vaunt title (9.45).

Clayton topped Harnett Central 111.75 to 108.5 in the Greater Neuse competition. West Johnston’s Zophia Jackowski won the floor (9.7), beam (9.7) and vault (9.35). Clayton’s Sloane Patterson, who was all-around runner-up, won the bars (9.7).

In the Southwest Wake Athletic, Green Hope topped runner-up Panther Creek, 114.55 to 112.45. Panther Creek sophomore Maria Esposto was the all-around champ with wins on floor (9.90) and beam (9.75). Green Hope’s Shailyn Ramsey won the bars (9.90) and Fuquay-Varina’s Chianna Carrington and Apex’s Kylie Stoffer shared the vault title (9.50).

Baldy honored: Former Sanderson baseball standout Connor Baldy has been selected as the Raleigh Hot Stove Baseball Banquet’s high school player of the year. Baldy hit .465 in 2014 and was selected as the Cap Eight Conference’s player of the year. He is now at Pfeiffer University.

The banquet will be Tuesday, Jan. 27, at N.C. State’s McKimmon Center. The banquet also will honor San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner and former N.C. State shortstop Trea Turner.

Green Hope Hall: Green Hope High plans to begin a sports hall of fame. The school has won 25 state team titles and has had several individual state champions since opening in 1999. There will be a seven-year waiting period after graduation before athletes are eligible.

Nominations open on April 1.

Donovan drafted: Conor Donovan, who played soccer at Cardinal Gibbons High as a freshman and at N.C. State as a freshman, was the first player drafted in the second round of Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft on Thursday. He was taken by the Orlando City Soccer Club of Orlando, Fla.

He was the second player selected by Orlando and the 22nd player selected overall. He started all 15 games at State last year.

Tom Shanahan and J. Mike Blake contributed to this story.