Local runners get top times at 2nd Polar Bear meet
Erik Spencer Hill
On a chilly Thursday afternoon, runners from the area took to the track at North Stokes High School to participate in the school’s second Polar Bear meet of the season.
Despite the cooler weather, local runners managed to get top times in last week’s meet.
The Wildcats took home top place finishes in several events last week. Head Coach Larry Weldon said he was pleasantly surprised with the results.
“I’m very pleased,” he said. “We worked hard this week.”
For the girls, Kyimura Oliver and Alison Eskridge finished in first and second place in the 55-meter dash with times just a touch over eight seconds. The two runners came in first and second place in the 300-meter dash, as well. Oliver finished with a time of 49.5 seconds and Eskridge finished with a time of 53.6 seconds. Danielle Hutchins finished in fourth place with a time of 56.7 seconds.
Hailey Thomas finished in first place in the 500-meter run with a time of one minute and 47 seconds.
Past season cross country standout Kaitlyn Stone grabbed a first place finish in the 1,600-meter run with a time of six minutes and 14 seconds. Stone was followed by Rachel White in second place (6:32) and Hannah Bunn in fifth place (7:04).
White finished second in the shot put event with a throw of 14 feet, two inches.
For the boys, past season football players Brock Reynolds, Zane McGhee and Brandon Starnes grabbed the top three spots in the 55-meter dash. Just a shave over seven seconds, Reynolds finished in first place. He was followed by McGhee (7.08) and Starnes (7.37).
The three runners grabbed the top spots in the 300-meter dash, as well. Reynolds grabbed a top place finish with a time of 38.3 seconds. McGee and Starnes rounded out the top three with times of 38.5 and 41.6 seconds.
Jason Barber, former state cross country team standout, brought home a second place finish in the 500-meter run with a time of one minute and 18 seconds. Past season soccer standout Thomas Hawkins finished in third with a time of one minute and 20 seconds.
Hawkins said he was a “top dog” in soccer but is still learning the ins and outs of track. “I’m having to learn from scratch” he said. “The 500-meter is what I want to work on.”
Barber also grabbed a first place finish in the 1,000-meter run with a time just under three minutes.
Saura Coach Keith Gore said the team had a late start this year because the football season ran long. Still, he expects that the team will be good this year and that several will qualify for state.
“We’ve got potential,” he said.
Carolyn Ross finished in second place in the girls 55-meter hurdles with a time of 11.5 seconds. Megan Fournier had a second place finish in the long jump with an over 11-foot jump.
For the boys, Keelan Goodwin rounded out the top five in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.5 seconds. Marcus Ford rounded out the top 10 with a time of 7.8 seconds. Jacob Mabe and Damon Flinchum finished just outside the top 10 with times just under eight seconds.
Mabe and Jeremiah Millikan found their way into the top 10 in the 300-meter dash. Mabe finished in seventh place with a time of 44.8 seconds. Millikan followed with a time of 44.9 seconds.
Justin Nelson, who just narrowly missed making it to the cross country state meet this past season, grabbed second place finishes in two distance events — the 1,000-meter and the 1,600-meter run.
Nelson said he still regrets not making it to state. “I’m going to try to pick it up this season,” he said. “I’m going to try three times harder.”
South Stokes took home the long jump records for the day. Goodwin finished in first place with a jump of 17 feet, 6 inches. Tony Dalton and Flinchum followed with jumps of over 16 feet.
Head Coach Rodney King said he was pleased with the performance of his runners, even though some did not run as fast as they had in the first Polar Bear meet.
“The cooler weather played a part in performances not being as good as they were a week ago,” he said.
Shalynn Brown “excelled” in four events, King said. Brown came in third place in the 55-meter dash with a time just under nine seconds. Brown also grabbed a third place finish in the 300-meter dash with a time of 54.5 seconds. She got a top place finish in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 11.2 seconds. Brown also got a top place finish in the long jump with a jump of over 14 feet.
“Shalynn is one of my work horses,” King said. “We will be working hard this upcoming week in both the long jump and the triple jump and she could qualify in both.”
Mackanzie Lewellyn finished in first place in the shot put event with a throw of 27 feet, nine inches.
Shepard Ottaway and Patrick Kopp both made their way into the top 10 in the boys 55-meter dash. Ottaway finished in fourth place with a time of 7.4 seconds and Kopp finished in ninth place with a time of 7.8 seconds.
Ottaway and Kopp had success in the 300-meter dash, as well. Ottaway finished sixth in the event, followed by Kopp in ninth place.
Sean Condon finished in first place in two distance events. Condon finished the 1,600-meter run in five minutes and seven seconds and he finished the 3,200-meter run in 11 minutes and 32 seconds.
“Sean is coming off of cross country and he is in the best shape he has ever been in,” King said.
Jesse Bowen and Laith Nickell grabbed the top two spots in the pole vault event with vaults over 10 feet.
King said one of the team’s most exciting events of the day had to be when Tyler Cromer came in second place in the shot put event with a 37-foot throw — a four foot improvement over the first Polar Bear meet.
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