Kellsie Whitehead connected with the soft grass upon finishing her leg of Wakefield’s 4x400 meter relay race.
“Oh shoot!” she said. “My legs!”
She had every reason to rest them after the lead she gained on Leesville Road helped claim one final first-place finish for the Wolverines, who won the girls’ Cap-8 Conference championship track meet Saturday.
The Wakefield girls finished with 202.5 points to host Leesville’s 124. Enloe finished third with 88.
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The Wolverines captured 10 first-place finishes for the dominating victory and kept the momentum through the last race.
Whitehead pushed ahead of Leesville Road on the opening 200 of her lap. She got a good start from the first two legs and gave the anchor ample space to finish at 3 minutes and 58.65 seconds.
“It took a lot for me to pass,” Whitehead said. “I knew my team really wanted to win and that we were working really hard, so I just kept going.”
Wakefield senior Breanne Byrgrave was the first leg of the race, and she picked up three wins on the day for the Wolverines. She swept her specialty hurdles and won the conference’s long jump championship, too. Bygrave hit a 14.93 in the 100-meter hurdles and a 44.16 in the 300-meter hurdles race.
Wakefield won the 4x200 (1:44.62) and the 4x100 (51.04) to add to the closing relay victory.
“We had to spread it out,” Wakefield coach Ann Graham said. “We didn’t have our strongest legs, because some of our stronger athletes, we had to make sure they won their individual events. We used our other kids in the relays.”
Millbrook boys conquer Broughton, Wakefield for title
The Millbrook boys swept the relays and picked up several other top finishes to claim the league crown with 188 points. Broughton was second with 143.5, followed by Wakefield’s 84.5.
The Wildcats have state championship aspirations and hoped to have a good showing Saturday.
“We were really trying through the race today; we were really working on regionals,” Millbrook sprints coach Dave Simpson said. “We’re at a point right now where we’re just trying to get numbers … but it’s nice to get the win.”
Millbrook’s lead was too formidable for a trailing Broughton and Wakefield in the 4x400 relay, which the Wildcats finished in 3:28.50.
They topped all competitors in the 4x800 (8:09.59), the 4x100 (44.59) and the 4x200 (1:31).
Millbrook’s Thomas Nulty swept his hurdles races, finishing the 110 hurdles in 15.19 and the 300 hurdles in 41.24. The Wildcats received wins in three field events; Elijah Cole won the pole vault (14-06), Deshawn Wilkins claimed the triple jump (41-09) and Nick Williams took the shot put (41-06).
The team relays, however, helped Millbrook pull away from a tight race.
“Our coach was saying we had to make sure we had our handoffs good,” said Millbrook junior Andre Freedman, who anchored the 4x200. “He was just encouraging us and pushing us to do better.”
More from Cap-8 championships
The long-distance races were dominated by Leesville’s standout runner Nevada Merano.
The junior was first in the girls’ 1,600-meter (4:43.91) and 800-meter (2:13.02) runs. She didn’t compete in the 3,200, which Enloe’s Cierra DellaRova won in 11:16.44.
Wakefield’s Tayler Grier, the anchor for the girls’ 4x400 relay, also won the 200-meter dash with a 25.60. Leona Medley picked up a top finish for the Wolverines in the triple jump (36-03). Wakefield’s Veronica Fraley won championships in the discus throw (143-01) and the shot put (38-11.25).
Other first-place finishes in the girls’ championship were Heritage’s Melicia Monzzon in the 100 (12.51), Leesville’s Shelbi Chapman in the 400 (56.69), Leesville’s Timara Chapman in the high jump (5-00) and Enloe’s Chloe Franks in the pole vault (9-06).
Other boys’ winners were Wakefield’s Jeremy Massenburg in the 100 (10.98) and 200 (22.36), Broughton’s Andrew Brooks in the 1,600 (4:18.47) and 800 (1:56.39); Wakefield’s Kobe Barnes in the 400 (50.33), Broughton’s Lanier Derbyshire in the 3,200 (9:25.97), Sanderson’s Reshawn Murphy in the high jump (5-10), Heritage’s Trevon McArn in the long jump (20-03), Sanderson’s Nicholas Clements in the discus (120-03), and Broughton’s Omar Sanchez in the wheelchair 100 (28.38) and shot put (33-01).
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan