Runners pull out stops at Last Chance meet
by Erik Spencer Hill
With warm temperatures forecast, track officials at North Stokes decided to have their Last Chance Polar Bear meet ahead of schedule on Jan. 29. Runners from the area got their last chance to shine on the track and field as they fought to qualify for the state meet at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem on Feb. 9.
The Vikings track team had four athletes qualify for the state meet. Shalyn Brown qualified for the meet in the triple jump event. Moriah Boyette qualified in the pole vault event with an over nine-foot vault. Laith Nickell and Tess Rogers already qualified for the state meet earlier in the season with their impressive performance in the pole vault event.
Vikings Coach Rodney King said he is impressed with what his track team has been able to achieve this season.
“Last year we only took two people to the state indoor meet, so we have doubled that number from last year,” he said.
Currently, Rogers is the number one 1A/2A/3A pole vaulter in the state. King said that Boyette could easily finish in the top five at the state meet if she can get a vault over 10 feet.
Not everyone could make it to the state meet, but several of North Stokes’ runners had personal best times for the day and even broke school records.
Rogers and Brown got first and second place finishes in the 55-meter dash, with times just over eight seconds. Rogers followed up with a first place finish in the 300-meter dash, with a time of 47.4 seconds.
Rogers and Brown took first and second place again in the 55-meter hurdles with times just over 10 seconds.
Brown had a 33-foot, two-inch triple jump, which qualified her for the state meet.
Mackenzie Lewellyn, who only had a 26-foot throw in the shot put event at the second Watauga Invitational, had a strong return and had a throw of 29-feet, six inches.
Travis Sexton finished in third place in the 1,000-meter run with a time of two minutes and 56 seconds. Justin Kenard finished in fifth place with a time of three minutes and 11 seconds.
Sean Condon grabbed a fourth place finish in the 1,600-meter run with a time just over five minutes. Condon followed up with a second place finish in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 10 minutes and 54 seconds.
Shepard Ottaway finished in second place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 9.5 seconds and set a new school record in the event.
“[Ottaway] will be one of our top, go-to people in spring track,” Coach King said.
Laith Nickell finished in first place in the pole vault event with a vault of 11-feet.
Tyler Cromer finished in second place in the shot put event with a throw of 38-feet, four inches, not quite as well his over 39-foot performance at the second Watauga Invitational.
The Wildcats track team had a strong showing at the Last Chance Polar Bear meet. Several of West Stokes’ athletes have qualfied for the state meet this season. Wildcat distance runner Jason Barber qualified earlier this season. Zane McGhee and Brock Reynolds qualified for the state meet in dash events at the second Watauga Invitational in January.
Those who did not qualify for the state meet still posted strong times in several events for the day.
Alison Eskridge and Samantha Seaman finished in third and fourth places in the 300-meter dash with times of about 8.5 seconds.
Wildcat Hailey Thomas grabbed a second place finish in the 500-meter run with a time of one minute and 42 seconds.
Distance runner Kaitlyn Stone finished in third place in the 1,600-meter run. She shaved about 20 seconds off her previous performance and finished with a time of five minutes and 48 seconds.
Rachel White finished in second place in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 14 minutes and 47 seconds.
Reynolds finished in first place in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.8 seconds. McGhee followed with a third place finish and a time just over seven seconds. Brandon Starnes rounded out the top five with a time of 7.2 seconds.
Reynolds followed up with a first place finish in the 300-meter dash, as well, with a time of 38.4 seconds. Ryan McDaniel and Zane McGhee rounded out the top five with times just over 41 seconds.
In the 500-meter run, Reynolds and McGhee continued to dominate. Reynolds grabbed a first place finish with a time of one minute and 10 seconds. McGhee followed in third place with a time of one minute and 13 seconds.
Barber got a second place finish in the 1,600-meter run with a time of four minutes and 37 seconds — beating his previous time by about seven seconds.
The Sauras indoor track team has been smaller this year than previous years, and did not have anyone qualify for the state meet, but that didn’t stop the team from ending the season with some impressive gains.
Laken Barber rounded out the top five in the 55-meter dash with a time of 8.9 seconds.
Carolyn Ross grabbed a third place finish in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 10.6 seconds.
Distance runner Justin Nelson finished in second place in the 1,000-meter run with a time of two minutes and 50 seconds. Stephen Rivas finished just outside the top five with a time of three minutes and 13 seconds.
Jeremiah Millikan finished in first place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time just over nine seconds.
Tony Dalton and Damon Flinchum had strong finishes in the jump events for the day. Dalton finished in first place in the long jump event with a jump of over 18 feet. Flinchum followed up with a jump of over 16 feet.
Dalton grabbed first place again in the triple jump event with a jump of just over 35 feet. Flinchum finished in second place with a jump of 34 feet.
“We are looking forward to a successful outdoor season,” Sauras Coach Keith Gore said.
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