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GREENSBORO — It was all about the quality and not the quantity for the Beddingfield High girls and boys track and field teams Saturday at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A championship meet.
With just seven entries between the Lady Bruins and Bruins, Beddingfield had a combined three podium finishes and the boys 4x200-meter relay team had a scoring finish at seventh.
“All year we haven’t had the depth but I thought we’ve had as much at talent as anybody,” Bruins head coach James Ward said after the meet at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University. “The last two weeks at regionals and states, once our roster downsized, you get more one-on-one coaching with the kids and get more focus on them. The kids focus at lot more because their friends aren’t at the track.”
Senior Aaron Bland was third in the boys 100 dash and then, despite tweaking his hamstring in the race, helped the Bruins 4x100 relay finish second.
Meanwhile, sophomore Makayla Everette, in her first season throwing the discus, placed second with a school-record toss of 114 feet, 2 inches.
Ward marveled at Everette’s accomplishment, noting the 6-foot-3 basketball standout didn’t even come out for track until the third week of practice.
“Man, what you talking about?” chortled Ward. “A sophomore going to finish second with 114? That’s crazy!”
He credited Beddingfield throws coach Craig Herring with her development.
“I was so proud of her,” Ward said. “She’s been working her butt off and Coach Herring’s done an excellent job with her. She actually was using a brand new disc. Today was the second time using it because it’s been raining and she’s hasn’t been able to throw it.”
Everette entered as the 10th seed with a toss of 107-7 at the 2-A East Regional meet May 12 at the University of Mount Olive. Her runner-up toss of 114-2 was more than a foot farther than third-place Blamo Snoh of Durham School for the Arts, who also had a personal record with a throw of 112-8. The winner, by far, was top-seeded Patience Marshall, who uncorked a toss of 134-8, more than a foot better than her regional-winning throw.
BLAND GRITS IT OUT
Bland qualified for the 100 finals with a time of 11.18, well off his regional time of 11.04. In the finals, he ran an 11.08, just behind second-place Bernie Briley of West Iredell. West Craven’s Josh Moore won with a time of 10.93.
Bland’s podium finish came at a price, however. The tweaking of his hamstring left Ward in a momentary quandary: Let Bland finish his Beddingfield career in the 4x100 or substitute healthy sophomore Jalil Hutcherson into the lineup with Johnathan Harris, Travon Newsmen and Zach Adams?
“We were massaging him and stretching it out all the way up to the 4x1,” Ward said. “His face was grimacing and I kept looking at Jalil and looking at Aaron and looking at Jalil. Aaron has been — and I told him, I love him for real. That little guy’s special. He doesn’t want to go to school. He wants to go into the armed forces; I think he wants to go to the Marines. I knew a fresh Jalil would have been better than a hurt Aaron but I knew Aaron would leaves it all out there. I knew I would get every inch he wanted to reach so bad.”
However, Bland barely had enough for his anchor leg in the 4x100.
“When he got the baton and took off — I was standing on the last turn between him and Zach — and normally Zach has to almost fall to catch him, but he almost stepped on Aaron because Aaron really couldn’t get out. He didn’t have any push. He had enough gas to finish second.”
The Bruins quartet topped its seed time of 42.8 with a season-best 42.63 but once again, a familiar foe crossed the finish line ahead of them. Forest Hills won with a PR-time of 42.2 on its way to the boys team title.
“I told the (Forest Hills) coach, ‘Y’all are tough! We can normally hold our own in the East,’ but that doggone Forest Hills, they’re always out there waiting on us. They’re always out there waiting!”
The Bruins 4x200 relay team of Harris, Adams, Hutcherson and Newsome also posted a season-best time of 1:30.96 in placing seventh. Forest Hills also won that relay.
The Bruins’ other entry, junior Zy’Ree Wilder in the triple jump, placed 13th out of 16.
The Lady Bruins had two other entries — freshman Ihjanae Cooper, who was 13th out of 16 in the 300 hurdles, and sophomore Shamya Best, who was 14th out of 16 in the 100 hurdles. Cooper’s time of 50.01 seconds was a personal best.
Also competing Saturday were SouthWest Edgecombe freshman Alone Smallwood, who was 16th in the girls shot put, along with North Johnston freshman Tatiana Powell, who was 11th in the girls 200 dash, and the Lady Panthers 4x800 relay team of Mackenzie Swartz, Sydney Swartz, Mary Catherine Davis and Haley Bunn, which placed 16th.
In the boys team standings, Beddingfield tied for 16th out of 57 teams with Forbush and Ashe County with 16 points each while the Lady Bruins rode Everette’s eight points to tie with four other girls teams for 20th place out of 51 teams. Lake Norman Charter won the 2-A girls team championship.