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MOUNT OLIVE — The back-and-forth high jump rivalry between Fike junior Elijahwon Cooper and Hunt senior Jeremiah Ganaway will continue onward to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s biggest stage.
Both cleared a height of 6 feet, 10 inches during Saturday’s NCHSAA 2-A/3-A East super regional on the campus of the University of Mount Olive, but Cooper cleared the mark in the fewest number of attempts, giving him the 3-A East regional championship and the top seed from the East in Friday’s state championship meet on the campus of North Carolina A&T. West Brunswick’s Derek Frink holds the 23-year-old 3-A championship record for the high jump, clearing 6-11 back in 1995.
Cooper’s regional title was one of six championship performances from The Wilson Times readership area during the combined 2-A/3-A regional on a 94-degree day.
Southern Nash senior Nadir Thompson, bound to ply his defensive back skills at Virginia Tech this fall, returned from limited duty in the spring to win both the 3-A 100- and 200-meter dashes. Thompson ran the 100 in 11 seconds flat, beating the second-place sprint of Charles B. Aycock senior Kamarion Graham in 11.15. Both will advance to Friday’s championship meet.
Thompson, the 200-meter state champion as a sophomore, secured his spot in his final high school campaign with a regional-winning time of 22.45. He also joined the Firebirds’ 4x200 relay team in winning that regional meet in a time of 1:29.71, barely edging the 1:29.76 of Jacksonville White Oak.
Beddingfield in 2-A pocketed one regional title in the boys 4x100 relay.
With senior Aaron Bland serving as the anchor leg, the trio of Johnathon Harris, Zach Adams and Travon Newsome preceded Bland and put down a time of 42.8 seconds to edge West Craven by one-tenth of a second.
In 3-A, the CBA quartet of Graham, Rico Dawson, Aliluan Moore and Jaylan Robinson set a new Golden Falcons record in the boys 4x100 relay, trimming both Cleveland and Southern Nash by a slim two one-hundreths of a second to prevail in 43.30.
The top four finishers in each event advance to their respective state championship events, which are Friday in Greensboro for 1-A and 3-A and Saturday for the 2-A and 4-A classifications.
3-A AREA QUALIFIERS
CBA senior Deshawn Owens, who will run at Barton College, finished third in the 1,600-meter run and set a new school record in the process, crossing the line in 4:32.68.
In addition to his exploits in the high jump, Fike’s Cooper comfortably qualified in both the long jump and triple jump. His long jump of 21-9.5 gave him third place, while a second-place triple jump of 44-5 assures him of a busy Friday in Greensboro. Grabbing the fourth and final state berth in the 3-A triple jump is Hunt junior Clarence Ward, who turned in a leap of 42-6.5.
Fike junior Davis Nicol continued a steep Golden Demon tradition of representation in the boys pole vault, clearing 11-6 to finish fourth and qualify,.
On the girls’ side, CBA senior Arlanda Faulkner ran the 100 hurdles in 15.93 for a fourth-place showing and a state championship berth.
2-A AREA QUALIFIERS
Bland, who found himself a busy individual during regional competition, finished second in the 100-meter dash in 11.04. The time was one-fifth of a second behind West Craven senior Josh Moore. He missed a state berth by nine-tenths of a second in the 200, running 22.92 to finish behind No. 4 Darius Rodgers of Goldsboro. Bland again finished fifth in the 110 hurdles, clocking in at 15.48.
Beddingfield’s 4x200 relay team of Johnathon Harris, Jalil Hutcherson, Zack Adams and Trevon Newsome. advanced with a third-place time of 1:31.50.
Junior Zy’ree Wilder was third in the triple jump, leaping to qualification with a mark of 42-0.5.
Barely missing a state berth was Bruins junior Willie Bridgers in the shot put with a throw of 45-6.5. Elizabeth City Northeastern’s Adrian Spellman checked in at 45-6.75 to get the No. 4 spot.
Girls 2-A qualifiers include Beddingfield sophomore Shamya Best, who had a fourth-place time of 17.19 in the 100 hurdles. In the 300 hurdles, freshman Ihanjae Cooper finished third in 50.56.
Sophomore Makayla Everette was second in the discus at 107-7, while senior Shimega Jackson turned in an effort of 32-3.5 in the triple jump, good enough for third and a trip to Aggie Stadium.
SouthWest Edgecombe picked up a state qualifier in the form of freshman Alonee Smallwood, who was fourth in the shot put at 32-8 to advance.