While there might have been no catching the North Brunswick boys or girls Saturday in the 2-A team standings in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A/3-A East Regional track and field championships, Beddingfield had plenty of reasons to feel about its showing.
Led by junior Kenny Sims and senior Caitlin Dock, the Bruins qualified for the state championship meet in Greensboro in eight events. Sims maxed out on events by qualifying in four while Dock will compete in three events Friday on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University.
“It feels great because it’s what I’ve been trying to do the whole time!” Dock said of her first trip to the state meet.
She earned that with a fourth-place finish in the girls 300-meter hurdles while being part of the Lady Bruins’ third-place 4x100 relay and fourth-place 4x200 relay.
Sims, despite a sore knee, was second in the boys long jump and fourth in the triple jump while running on the Bruins’ 4x100 and 4x400 relays that qualified.
Beddingfield boys head coach James Ward was elated with Sims’ showing, especially in the jumps.
“Anytime we have something at Fike, he jumps awesome there,” said Ward.
Sims soared a personal-best distance of 22 feet and a half inch in finishing behind North Brunswick star Jayhlen Washington, who won the long jump with a distance of 22-8 that was well off his seed mark of 24-6.5.
Sims said he was surprised at his long jump showing.
“Yeah, I was,” he said. “When I jumped it (22-0.5) and we went to the finals I tried it again but I was tired after I jumped 22.”
He was advised by Ward to just try the triple jump once to not risk further injury to his knee. But Sims didn’t stop after jumping 42-1 in his first attempt, just off his PR of 42-5.
“I don’t like losing so I just went out there and tried and I ended up making it,” said Sims, who finished fourth with an effort of 42-1. Washington also won that with a 44-2 leap.
Sims ran anchor on the Bruins 4x100 relay team, along with sophomore Aaron Bland, senior Jalen Taylor and freshman Zach Adams, that came in second at 43.16 seconds, slightly less than a second behind the victorious North Brunswick quartet, but good enough for a personal best for the Bruins.
“We have to work on our hand-offs a little bit more,” Sims said.
Junior Anthony Atkinson, who placed second in the open 400 with a PR time of 49.77, got Beddingfield off to a good start in the 4x400 and Sims finished it as the Bruins set a PR by nearly three seconds with a time of 3:29.73.
“The girls did what the guys did and everything we put on the track PRed yesterday,” Ward said. “This is my 16th year in track and I don’t think we’ve ever had kids PR on FAT (Fully Automated Timing) timing at the regional. So that’s pretty good stuff!”
Dock ran the 300 hurdles in 50.3 seconds, better than her 50.24 seed time. The Lady Bruins tandem of Janasia Jones, Dock, Capriel Gear and Jayla Bullock just missed a PR in the 4x100 but still finished third in 51.10 seconds.
However, the 4x200 quartet of Jones, Dock, Shimega Jackson and Brianna Davis obliterated its best time of 1:54 with a fourth-place finish of 1:49.53.
Jackson came within a half inch of qualifying for the state meet in the triple jump as she was fifth with an effort of 30-7.25, just behind SouthWest Edgecombe junior Tia Farmer at 30-7.75. Farmer also qualified for the state meet in the long jump, finishing third at 15-9.
Another Lady Bruin, sophomore Te’Kayah Smith, narrowly missed out in the shot put. Her PR effort of 31-7.25 was three-quarters shy of matching fourth-place Cailen Goodman of North Brunswick for the last state berth.
The SouthWest Edgecombe boys 4x100 team of Jahkele Goins, Marcus Williams, Keanan Williams and Devonte Hyman was fourth, punching its ticket for the state meet.
The only other competitor from a Wilson Times readership-area team to earn a trip to Greensboro was North Johnston’s Dylan Pinder, who won three of the four wheelchair events in which he was entered. Pinder, who won four gold medals at the state 2-A championships last year, won the 100 and 200 wheelchair dashes as well as the wheelchair shot put. He was second to perennial rival Bryce Floyd of South Lenoir in the wheelchair discus. Both athletes, along with North Brunswick’s Kenny Korff, the lone entrant in the 400 wheelchair, will compete in all four events at the state meet.
North Brunswick handily won both team titles while the Beddingfield boys placed sixth overall and the girls were eighth.