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ROCKY MOUNT — For a track meet that encountered several hurdles on the day, Monday’s Scott Jones Memorial Classic as presented by The Wilson Times proved to be quite a smooth affair.
Originally set for Southern Nash High, standing water in the jump pits after Sunday night’s thunderstorms caused the meet to be moved to Nash Central, a first-time host but a long-time participant. Even with 10 teams in the field, the proceedings were as brisk as the wind that blew throughout the afternoon. By the time the meet concluded more than 20 minutes ahead of schedule, there was plenty of time to sort out the scoring snafu in the boys meet.
After a quick adjustment that didn’t affect the order of finish, the Beddingfield boys were proclaimed meet winners for the first time since 2015 and the fourth time overall. There were no issues with the girls scoring as Kinston rolled to its first title in the meet that began in 1991 and was previously called The Wilson Times Track Classic.
Behind boys Most Outstanding Performer Aaron Bland and two relay wins, the Bruins piled up 103.5 points to edge Hunt with 100. The Warriors, who shared the boys championship with Kinston in 2017, had four first-place finishes but the Bruins posted five wins with Bland having a hand — or feet — in four of them.
Bland won the 110-meter hurdles and the 100 dash and was the anchor leg on Beddingfield’s victorious 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams. Senior Marcus Parker ruled the triple jump for the Bruins’ other win.
“It was a battle! It was a toughfight today,” said a relieved Beddingfield head coach James Ward.
The initial scoring had the Bruins by a mere half-point over Hunt until the adjustment.
The Warriors were led by senior Deshaun Jackson’s win in the discus and senior Dionte Alston’s victory in the long jump to go with a thrilling victory in the 4x800 relay as well as a first-place finish in the distance medley relay.
“Hunt’s getting tough on that distance and that’s what we had for years — we were tough on distance,” Ward said. “When you can go in there and score points on distance and jumps. They got some quality points on throws. I was looking at it and in the throws, they beat us 22 to 3!”
Bland set the tone by winning the 110 hurdles and, shortly thereafter, edging Kinston’s Jimere Summers by two-tenths of a second in the 100 dash. That was the same margin of victory for Beddingfield in the 4x200 with Bland holding down the anchor leg after getting the baton from teammate Zach Adams with a slight lead. The Bruins then won the 4x100, with Bland again as anchor, with a time of 43.4 seconds to second-place Kinston with 43.6. That time came as close as any to a meet record on Monday, just four-tenths of a second behind Kinston’s record 43-second win last year.
Hunt’s distance points came in large part on the legs of senior Renzo Cieza, who was part of the 4x800 and distance medley wins while finishing less than two seconds behind Nash Central’s Kazelee Johnson in the 1,600 run.
Hunt also finished second in the sprint medley relay while Jamison Kyle was second in the discus and Jeremiah Ganaway was the high jump runner-up. After tying the meet record with a clearance of 6 feet, 8 inches in 2017, Ganaway only managed to clear 6-2 on Monday. That opened the door for Fike junior Elijahwon Cooper, second at last year’s Classic, to claim a measure of revenge as he won the high jump with a leap of 6-4.
“Every meet I try to beat whatever I did the last meet but it’s a big accomplishment because he’s a really good high jumper,” said Cooper, who placed second in the long jump and third in the triple jump to finish with 24 points, just a point less than Bland’s total.
Southern Nash was led by junior Ricky Knight, who won the shot put.
KINSTON RELAYS THE KEY
On the girls side, Kinston simply dominated the relays, winning the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and sprint medley. Nastasia Wooten claimed victory in the shot put and discus while Ke’Andrea Walters won the 100 dash.
“I really don’t have the numbers this year,” said head coach Crystal Barnes, who led the Lady Vikings to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A championship in 2015. “Almost all of them are maxed out in four events. We have the quality but we don’t have the quantity!”
Kinston posted 114 points to 105 for Nash Central with girls MOP Myka Hedgepeth accounting for 38 of those. Hedgepeth won the 100 hurdles, high jump and triple jump and finished second in the pole vault. Her teammate Sarah Hicks added 29.25 points of her own in winning the long jump and pole vault.
“Surprisingly, it was cold outside and I knew that was going to be a problem but I ended up being out here doing what I needed to do in every event,” said Hedgepeth, who repeated as girls MOP. “I knew that Sarah was going to be a main factor but she’s my friend. There’s no hard feelings. She’s a great person.”
Hunt finished third with 100 points as the Lady Warriors won the 4x800 and distance medley relays with Isabel Reed, Kate Furiness and Rebekah Pierce on both quartets. Reed also won the 1,600 run.