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ROCKY MOUNT — Both Beddingfield High track teams settled for second place in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship meet at Nash Central High on a sunny, hot Wednesday afternoon.
The runner-up finish appealed more to the girls team of coach Joe Dvozenja.
“We weren’t supposed to have been within 50 points (of Nash Central),” Dvozenja explained.
However, boys coach James Ward admitted: “I thought we had a decent chance. But we were down 48 points when we started and we stunk it up in the dirt events (jumps).”
But boosting spirits was Ward’s decision to pull Aaron Bland, the most outstanding male performer in the Scott Jones Memorial, out of the relays and enter him in the 300-meter hurdles for the first time since his freshman year.
Bland responded by charging to last-gasp victory against Nash Central’s Byron Hawkins.
“That’s going to be a state-championship move,” Ward exclaimed. “That’s another James Ward miracle.”
The Bruins staged a near-miraculous comeback, but Nash Central prevailed with 162 points, followed by Beddingfield with 161. Then came North Pitt (76), SouthWest Edgecombe (70), Farmville Central (54) and North Johnston (18).
Nash Central’s girls ruled with 166 points, while Beddingfield amassed 130. North Johnston (85) took third, with North Pitt (54) fourth, SouthWest (49) fifth and Farmville Central (44) sixth.
In the boys 300 hurdles, Bland posted a first-place time of 42.04 seconds, followed by Hawkins at 42.09.
The event ignited the comeback along with wins by the 4x100 relay of Johnathan Harris, Jalil Hutcherson, Zach Adams and Travon Newsome; and the 4x200 relay — when Adams took a spill at the finish line, scraped his shoulder but got to the stripe first on the anchor leg.
Tiwan Woodard placed second in the 1,600 and 3,200 and the Bruins placed second in the 4x800 relay. However, with Beddingfield winding up third in the 1,600 relay, the final event, and Nash Central salvaging fourth, the Bulldogs emerged conference champions by a mere point.
SouthWest fared best in the relays, capturing the 4x800 and placing second in the 4x400 and 4x200. Senior Jahkele Goins won the 200 in 22.43 seconds.
Pacing Nash Central was Kazelee Johnson with victories in the 800 and 1,600, a runner-up showing in the 400 and a third-place finish in the 3,200.
Conference champions for the Beddingfield girls were junior Mikaela Taylor in the 3,200, freshman Ihjanae Cooper in the 300 hurdles and sophomore Makayla Everette in the shot put (33 feet, 10 inches) and discus (93-10). Also triumphant was the 4x100 relay of Jayla Bullock, Shimeya Jackson, Alexa Ruffin and Shakira Moody in 52.72 seconds.
Nash Central was triggered by Sarah Hicks with top finishes in the pole vault, long jump and triple jump and Montana Williams in the 800 and 1,600. Farmville Central’s Zoe Perkins sped to 100 and 200 victories.