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REGIONAL TRACK ROUNDUP: Fike’s Nicol, Hunt’s Ward win 3-A East titles

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FRANKLINTON — Senior Davis Nicol of Fike and C.J. Ward of Hunt reigned as regional track and field champions Saturday at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A East Regional meet at Franklinton High.

Nicol entered as the top seed in the boys pole vault and followed form with a winning vault of 12 feet. Ward, the No. 3 seed in the triple jump, produced a career-best 45-11.5 to win.

Both athletes will be joined by Hunt’s Dionte Alston and Zach Jones, Fike’s Zyree Wilder, Southern Nash’s Tristian Foster and the Hunt boys 4x100-meter relay team among competitors from The Wilson Times readership area at the state 3-A championship meet Friday at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Alston placed fourth in the boys long jump; Jones was third in the boys shot put; Wilder took third in the boys triple jump and Foster was third in the girls 300 hurdles. The Warriors 4x100 tandem was third as well.

Nicol became Fike’s first regional champion in the pole vault since Ian West won the East title on his way to a fourth straight state 3-A crown in 2015. Nicol, fourth in the regional a year ago, cleared 12-0 ahead of runner-up Logan Malone of Swansboro. 

Ward, whose previous best in the triple jump was 44-4, soared 11 inches farther than runner-up Jon Barnes of Cleveland at 45-0.5. Wilder, whose seed jump was 43-0, also set a personal record as he matched Barnes with a 45-0.5 but needed more attempts.

Alston came in with the top jump in the region at 45-7 but the senior scratched on all three attempts and didn’t factor into the triple jump. Alston averted complete disaster by managing a fourth-place finish in the long jump after entering with the top performance in the state across all qualifications. But Alston didn’t come close to his 23-6 set in April, instead qualifying with a 22-7.5. The state 3-A indoor champion earlier this year, Alston saw his state-best leap surpassed by North Brunswick’s Jieem Bullock, who produced a winning leap of 24-3.5.

Ward and Alston were part of Hunt’s 4x100 relay team along with Chris Artis and Elijah Anderson that crossed the finish line less than a half second behind winner Cleveland and a third of a second behind runner-up Clayton.

Hunt’s Jones, who had the 12th-best shot put on the seeding list at 44-1.5, uncorked a career-best 46-0 to finish third.

Foster was more than a second off the pace of her No. 2 seed time of 47.94 in the 300 hurdles but her 49.19 finish was good enough for third place.

Southern Nash junior Devonte Edmundson came within three inches of qualifying for the state meet in the boys discus as he finished fifth with a toss of 121-2, two inches behind fourth-place Nathan Lau of Topsail.

Hunt’s Jada Carpenter also finished one spot out of a state berth, taking fifth in the girls high jump at 4-10, but well behind fourth-place Sophia Draughon of West Carteret at 5-2.

Hunt’s Teanna Bellamy scored points with a sixth-place finish in the girls 400 in 1:01.52.

Also picking up points but not qualifying for the state meet were the C.B. Aycock boys 4x100 relay unit that finished sixth; Aycock’s Keontai Taylor, seventh in the boys 300 hurdles; the Fike boys 4x100 in seventh place and Fike’s Jalia Yelverton, eighth in the girls 400 dash.

Cleveland swept the team championships as the boys won handily, outpointing runner-up Clayton 122-55. Hunt was 12th out of 27 teams with 27 points while Fike was 14th with 18. Aycock placed 25th and Southern Nash was 27th.

The Lady Rams were nearly as dominant with 108 points, 41 more than second-place West Carteret. Hunt was 20th with 6.5 points, a half-point ahead of Southern Nash, and Fike tied for 23rd with one point.

2-A EAST REGIONAL

Lady Bruins qualify pair for states

Junior Makayla Everett will be joined by Beddingfield teammate Ihjanae Cooper on a trip to the NCHSAA 2-A track and field championships Friday after both qualified during Saturday’s 2-A East Regional meet at Fike.

Everett placed second in the discus and third in the shot put to earn two spots in the state meet while Cooper was the runner-up in the girls 300 hurdles. They will be joined in Greensboro by SouthWest Edgecombe sophomore Alonee Smallwood, the girls shot put runner-up, and three Cougars relay teams as well as sophomore Larry Jones, who was fourth in the 400 dash.

Greene Central qualified three for the state 2-A championship meet — junior Aaliyah Davis, third in the girls triple jump, and juniors Sayquan Conner, fourth in the boys long jump, and Gregory Daniels, third in the boys shot put.

Cooper, who entered as the third seed in the 300 hurdles, scorched that seed time of 51.04 seconds with a PR effort of 48.48, second only to Kinston’s Lesley Sutton, who crossed the finish line in 46.91.

Everett bettered her seed of 34-2 in the shot put with a toss of 35-0 while Smallwood went nearly a foot farther than her previous best of 34-3 with a career heave of 35-4.25. Still, that was more than seven inches shy of the winning effort of Currituck County’s Ashley Lindsey, who tossed it 35-11.5.

Everette brought forth the best discus toss coming into the regional, seeded No. 1 at 116-3. However, Currituck’s Destiny Ferebee claimed first place with a career-best 117-1, nearly seven feet beyond her seed and 30 inches past Everett’s best toss of 114-7 on Saturday.

Greene Central’s Davis, who was entered in four events, took third in the triple jump with a PR leap of 31-6.5, more than 18 inches better than her seed. She finished just out of a state berth in the long jump and the 400 dash, taking fifth place in each.

On the boys side, the Cougars 4x200 relay team of Jamari Staton, Jarquez Dickens, Tayshaun Pittman and Cortezz Jones was second in 1:31.17 while the SWE 4x100 tandem of Demari Mabry, Jelan Smith, Pittman and Cortezz Jones placed fourth in 43.68. The Cougars 4x400 quartet of Mabry, Larry Jones, Pittman and Cortezz also took fourth place in 3:31.79.

Larry Jones, the Cougars sophomore who was seeded sixth in the 400 dash, smashed his previous best by finishing fourth in 50.73.

Greene Central’s Daniels didn’t set a PR but his shot put of 48-3.5 was good for third place while Conner soared 61/2 inches beyond his previous best for a long jump of 20-8, good for fourth place.

The Lady Bruins produced the best team finish among area squads, tying with Bertie and First Flight for 10th place with 30 points while Greene Central was 14th with 18 and SouthWest Edgecombe scored nine points to come in 20th out of 26 teams.

In the boys team totals, SWE scored 23 to place 15th while Greene Central was 19th with 14.5 points and Beddingfield 21st out of 24 with eight points.

Croatan swept the girls and boys team titles.

Earning points for the Beddingfield girls were freshman Socoria Hunter (eighth in the 200); freshman Brianna Atkinson (eighth in the 400); junior Belinda Woodard (sixth in the high jump) and the sixth-place 4x400 relay team.

Scorers for the Bruins were senior Willie Bridgers (fifth in the shot put and eighth in the discus); senior Zach Adams (seventh in the 200); and eighth-place 4x100 relay. 

SouthWest got an eighth-place finish from senior Jakiah Glass while Greene Central’s Khalia Sutton was fifth in the girls shot put. Greene Central’s boyx 4x100 relay was sixth while Zakvil Smith tied for eight in the boys high jump.

1-A MIDEAST REGIONAL

ENCSD’s Deans boys shot put runner-up

BURGAW — Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf junior Jeremiah Deans produced a career-best shot put heave of 47-5 that was good for second place at the NCHSAA 1-A Mideast Regional on Saturday at Pender County High.

Deans, who was fourth in the state championship meet last year, will return to the state meet Saturday in Greensboro. He finished second behind Matthew Swepson of Research Triangle Charter Academy, who produced a 48-4 toss.

Deans’ ENCSD teammate Naheim Carlton was seventh in the boys discus while Jemima Kasongo scored for the Lady Hornets by finishing eighth in the girls 100 hurdles.

2-A MIDEAST REGIONAL

NJ’s Powell, 4x800 relay qualify

FRANKLINTON — North Johnston’s Tatiana Powell finished third in the girls 200 dash Friday at the NCHSAA 2-A Mideast Regional meet at Franklinton, qualifying her for the state 2-A championship meet Friday in Greensboro.

Powell, who was seeded second in the event with a time of 26.13 seconds, finished Friday in 26.86. She fared not as well in the 100 dash, finishing seventh in 13.38 despite also being seeded No. 2 with a time of 12.64.

Powell will be accompanied to Greensboro by the Lady Panthers 4x800 relay unit of Beonka Agosto, Sydney Swartz, Mackenzie Swartz and Angela James-Creech that finished fourth in 11:23.72.

The Lady Panthers tied for ninth place out of 24 teams as Durham School of the Arts won both the girls and boys team championships.

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