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Will the 2019 North Carolina High School Athletic Association track and field championships yield an individual champion from The Wilson Times readership area?
That question will begin to yield answers Friday when the 2-A and 3-A classifications gather for their annual super meet at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. The 1-A/4-A meet, where Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf’s Jeremiah Deans will compete, takes place Saturday.
Indeed, there are contenders to keep an eye on, such as Hunt High senior Clarence Ward. Should he meet or exceed his career-best effort in the triple jump, set at last week’s 3-A East regional at Franklinton en route to winning the championship, Ward will at least be in the discussion. His effort of 45 feet, 11.5 inches was enough to earn the No. 2 seed in the 16-competitor event, just 1.5 inches back of Southwest Guilford senior Ahmad Joyner.
As a hometown example of seeds potentially serving as a deception mechanism, Hunt senior Dionte Alston is in the field in the long jump despite a subpar showing by his standards in the regional. Alston scratched out in the triple jump despite entering as the No. 1 East regional seed. In the long jump, Alston owned the state’s best effort across all classifications prior to regional competition. However, Alston was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish in the regional, thereby grabbing the final qualifying spot for the state meet. He’ll carry the No. 5 seed into Greensboro as a potential sleeper pick, with Jieem Bullock of North Brunswick leading the way at 24-3.5. That’s 2.5 inches ahead of Alston’s state-best effort entering regionals.
Another 3-A East regional champion, Fike’s Davis Nicol, will have his work cut out for him in the pole vault. Despite propelling himself to regional supremacy last weekend, Nicol’s winning clearance of 12 feet has him tied for the No. 9 seed.
Marcus Hesske of Monroe Parkwood owns an attempt of 14-6, six inches clear of his next closest competitor.
Fike will also be represented by senior Zy’ree Wilder, who is tied for the No. 3 seed in the triple jump at 45 feet.
Southern Nash junior Tristian Foster is No. 15 in the 300-meter dash with her regional time of 49.19.
For Hunt, sophomore Zach Jones enters the No. 10 in the shot put, authoring a throw of 46-0. The 4x100-relay team of Ward, Alston, Chris Artis and Elijah Anderson is No. 10 at 42.94. Southern Lee holds the top time at 42.18.
Beddingfield junior Makayla Everette, coming off her runner-up showing at the East regional in the discus, is the No. 4 seed with her heave of 114-7. Teteateh Snoh, a junior from Durham School of the Arts, is the top seed in both the discus and shot, with marks of 128-19 and 40-1.5, respectively. Everette is the No. 6 seed in the shot after throwing an even 35 feet in regional action at Fike.
Beddingfield sophomore Ihjanae Cooper is fourth in the 300 hurdles, presenting with her regional time of 48.48.
North Johnston has two girls entries, with sophomore Tatiana Powell No. 13 in the 200 at 26.86.
The 4x800 quartet of freshman Beonka Agosto, senior Sydney Swartz, senior Mackenzie Swartz and junior Angela James-Creech are 16th at 11:23.72.
Greene Central will be represented by the trio of junior Aaliyah Davis (triple jump), junior Sayquan Conner (long jump) and junior Gregory Daniels (shot put). Davis is No.15 at 31-6.5, while Conner is No. 13 in the long jump at 20-8. Daniels, at 48-3.5, is seeded sixth in the boys shot put.
SouthWest Edgecombe produced five state qualifiers, including a trio of relay teams.
Among individuals, sophomore Alonee Smallwood is fourth in the shot put at 35-4.25, while sophomore Larry Jones in seventh in the 400 at 50.73.
The Cougars are in the title discussion in the 4x200, with senior Jamari Staton, junior Jarquez Dickens, junior Cortezz Jones and sophomore Tayshaun Pittman third at 1:31.17. Only High Point T.W. Andrews (1:30.54) and East regional champion Elizabeth City Northeastern (1:30.84) are clear of SouthWest in the event.
SouthWest is fifth in the boys 4x100 relay as sophomore Demari Mabry, senior Jelan Smith, Pittman and Cortezz Jones have a seed time of 43.68.
Mabry, Larry Jones, Pittman and Cortezz Jones rank seventh at 3:31.79 in the 4x400.
In 1-A, Deans is seeded sixth in the shot put at 47-5. Riley Blalock from Murphy is the top seed in the event, owning a throw of 51-9.5 from regional action.