Southeast Raleigh’s girls and Hillside’s boys had their regularly scheduled strong showings at Saturday’s state 4A track and field championship at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of N.C. A&T State University.
The Bulldogs excelled in the relays to guide them to another girls’ state championship while Hillside star Marcus Krah took boys’ MVP honors, steering the Hornets to their first state crown since 2000.
“We showed the guys the banner in the gym this week,” Hillside coach Thurman Jordan said. “We had a feeling that if Marcus had a good day, that would give us a chance to win it.”
Southeast Raleigh finished with 69.5 points, better than Mallard Creek’s 65 and Leesville Road’s 64. Hillside’s 52 points we more than enough to top Hoke County’s 42. Green Hope was third (35) and Broughton fourth (34).
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Southeast held a 52.5-50.0 edge against Charlotte’s Mallard Creek when the meet was suspended. Hillside was up 38-35 against Green Hope with Hoke County looming with 34.
The meet was suspended for almost two and a half hours when a thunderstorm rolled in.
BULLDOGS OVERCOME DQ
Southeast started the day by winning the 4-by-100 relay in 46.25 seconds to set a state record for the second-straight week. Chariminiqu Hackney, Kylia Wright, Kaila Lewis and Samantha Davis teamed up to set a state record that was a quarter of a second quicker than the time in the region final.
“The exchange was so much better than the previous races,” said Davis, the fourth leg. “We just used each other to push ourselves.”
Despite a disqualification on a zone violation during the 4-by-200 relay, Southeast’s talent was more than enough to earn another title. After the weather delay, the Bulldogs’ 4-by-400 relay team felt a sense of urgency to win to gain separation from Leesville Road. They did just that in 3:48.
“Our coaches were telling how important it was to get first so we could win it,” said Sierra Fletcher, first leg of the 4-by-200.
Southeast excelled in the sprints with several solid finishes. Hackney placed fourth for Southeast in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200. Fletcher was fourth in the 100 hurdles. Robinson and Kleo Torres finished 3-4 in the 400.
KRAH LEADS HORNETS
Krah had a dynamic day to guide his team to a first-place finish, winning three individual events. The UNC commit set a state meet record with a 13.32 second-run in the 110 hurdles, giving him the current fastest time in the country according to Milesplit. Krah also won the long jump after leaping an even 23 feet and claimed the triple jump with a 48-8.
“My best memory is still the team winning it all,” Krah said.
Krah said he was unusually nervous approaching the 110 after winning the long jump. He sung a few “hype” songs to help settle down and get comfortable. Krah went on to run one of his cleanest races and topped his previous fastest time by over a second.
“I had a great start and got faster as the race went on,” Krah said. “Coach said ‘make sure you finish the race.’ When I got past the last hurdle I went as hard as I could. I saw the time out of the corner of my eye and just went crazy.”
Krah’s jumps were an improvement from last year when he was third in the long jump after fighting an injury.
The Hornets also benefited from Najee Reams’ third-place finish in the 400. The 4-by-100 relay earned fourth place for a key five points. Hillside’s Desmond Jackson was also a boost, winning the ambulatory 100 (13.03), 200 (25.46), 400 (1:10.76) and long jump (15-1.5).
MARENO’S HISTORIC DAY
Leesville Road junior Nevada Mareno set new state records in the 800 (2:08) and the 3,200 (10:17) and won the 1,600 in 4:51 to earn girls MVP. Mareno said another half-second or so in the 1,600 would have given her three state records.
“I had to be really careful in the 1,600 because I still had the 800 and two-mile,” Mareno said. “I knew I needed to conserve some energy for the remaining races.”
During the 3,200, Mareno held a slight edge ahead of Ragsdale’s Sara Platek until Lap 4 where Platek took the lead. Mareno then jolted ahead of her, gaining a seven-second advantage by the end of the fifth lap. She continued to push her lead and ended up winning by more than 30 seconds. The 800 victory came against runner up Leesville’s G’Jasmyne Butler (2:10).
“I was worried about how I would feel in that race because of the length,” Mareno said of the 3,200. “Once I was a mile in, I figured I could hold that pace for the rest of the race.”
Shelbi Chapman was also big for Leesville, winning the 300 hurdles in 43.17 seconds. Chapman recently recovered from a torn ACL suffered last year.
“I wanted to be the first one to the hurdle,” Chapman said. “It was really big for me to win after going through the injury.”
In the field events, Terrell Adams of Middle Creek won the discus and shot put throws. Adams, 6-feet tall and 285 pounds, won the discus despite not matching the state record he set last week of 200-plus feet. Adams, a senior who will attend Charlotte for the discus throw, tossed 189-3 on his last throw to win back-to-back years.
“I threw good last week because I was sick and I throw better when I’m sick,” Adams said. “I think I was trying to force it too much today.”
In the shot put, Adams threw 58-1.5 to edge Daniel McArthur from Mooresville (58).
FALCONS SHATTER RECORD
The Green Hope boys 4-by-800 relay team came into hoping to meet a time of 7:40 and break their previous best of 7:41. It exceeded those expectations, breaking a state record with a time of 7:38.83 to start the day.
“On the third leg when Jayquan (Williams) was coming in I was like ‘Oh my goodness,’” said fourth leg Henry Pehr. “I knew if I worked hard, we could beat the state record.”
Williams went on to capture first at the boys’ 800. Williams finished in a personal best 1:51.46 for his first outdoor state championship in an individual event.
“I really had to turn it on the last 200 meters,” Williams. “My goal was to get 1:51 but I was okay what what I did.”
LANE WINS GOLD
Cardinal Gibbons got a boost from Connor Lane’s victory in the 3200 (9:06). Lane went back and forth between first and second before turning it on in the final stretch to best Mount Tabor’s Cameron Ponder by three seconds. It was a personal best time after a slow start.
“I got a shot of adrenaline late in the race,” Lane said. “I had 300 meters to go and all I wanted to do was get the win.”
Person’s Dontavian Smith won the boys 200 in 21.51 seconds and was third in the 100.
In the boys pole vault, Millbrook’s Elijah Cole jumped 15-6, a foot higher than Broughton’s Matt Dillon, to win state.
Apex’s Cara King won the girls’ wheelchair shot put, discus, 100 and 200 while Broughton’s Omar Sanchez swept the same events on the boys’ side.
Overhills held off Hoke County in the boys 4-by-400. The Jaguars’ strong start gave them the lead and senior Antoine Ewell held on as his team won in 3:19.
“For the last three years we got second place,” Ewell said. “This was our last chance so we had to come out with a championship.”
The Rolesville girls were led by Lauren White, who earned second-place finishes in the 100 and long jump. White placed fifth in the 200.
“Coming out of my blocks, it felt good,” White said after the 100. “The girl that won (Tamara Clark) is tough. I just ran the hardest I could.”
Connor Peoples of Cardinal Gibbons placed second in the boys’ 1,600 and Broughton’s Andrew Brooks was third.
Panther Creek’s J. Johnson was fourth in the 200 and runner-up in the long jump. Southeast Raleigh’s Jayon Woodard was second in the boys’ 400. J.H. Rose’s Marcus Booth was third in the boys triple jump.
Northern Durham’s Miles Hill was third in the wheelchair 200 and second in the three other wheelchair events.
Panther Creek’s boys were third in the 4-by-100 relay, Southeast Raleigh’s were third in the 4-by-200 and Cary was third in the 4-by-400. East Chapel Hill (fourth, 7:59) and Panther Creek (fifth, 8:03) also had top-five finishes in the boys’ 4-by-800 relay
Green Hope’s Elly Henes was third in the girls 1,600. South Central’s Claudia Cox was third in the 300 hurdles.
Panther Creek’s Bridgette Sullivan was fourth in the girls’ 3,200. Apex’s Zoe Early was second in the girls’ pole vault. Hillside’s Kayla Beasley was third in the girls’ shot put and Wakefield’s Veronica Fraley was runner-up in the discus.
Green Hope’s girls were third in the 4-by-100 relay and second in the 4-by-800. Wakefield was second in the girls 4-by-200 and Hillside was third in the 4-by-400.
Leesville’s Taylor Hemming, Southeast’s Courtney Murph and Hillside’s Jaylan Mitchell won sportsmanship awards.