BUIES CREEK — Southeast Raleigh track and field coach Liz Gary sent the girls team away for a little heart-to-heart strategy session with her boys team during Monday’s practice.
Gary and her fellow coaches wanted to go through a hard breakdown of just how the Bulldogs could win Tuesday’s Greater Neuse River 4A Conference championship.
“We broke down each event and told them, this is where we are going by the seedings,” Gary said Tuesday evening. “We wanted them to see how close we were and to show them what we needed to get where we wanted to be. We wanted to know who was going to carry us. … Then we asked them a simple question, ‘Are you OK with always finishing second to Knightdale?’”
The Bulldogs provided a resounding “no” to that question event after event at the Irwin Belk Track on the campus of Campbell University, topping two-time defending boys state champion Knightdale, 184-163, to complete a Southeast sweep of the conference championships.
The Bulldogs girls team was beyond dominant – two weeks after beating the defending girls state team champion at the Bojangles Relays at Apex – as it rolled up 252 team points to claim the league championship by 114 points.
Southeast’s girls won 14 of the 18 individual events and scored top-five finish after top-five finish.
Girls meet MVP Shakinah Brooks, a senior transfer at Southeast from Asheville, won the 100 meters in 12.31 seconds, the long jump (19 feet), ran on Southeast’s winning 400 relay (48.12) and took second in the 200 (25.4).
The Bulldogs also won the girls’ 800 (1:44.11), 1,600 (3:56.95) and 3,200 (9:54.84) relays.
Charity Lackey won the 800 (2:26.73) and the 1,600 (5:32.62) for Southeast, while Jacklyn Howell took the 100 hurdle title (14.36), Alexis Williamson the high jump (5-0), Amara Bell the triple jump (36-7 ½), Sharmani Hall the shot put (36-10) and Hassana Clark the discus (112-10 ½).
The Bulldogs totaled 27 top-five individual girls finishes on the afternoon with key contributions coming from Samara Perry, Joy Lackey, Kaylie Loyd, Brittany Williams, Alexus Gray, Sh’naiya Chapman and Tiffany Dunham.
“We’ve won meets this year with the girls and you could have pointed to one area - the jumps, the field events or the sprints – and say that was the reason we won,” Gary said. “That wasn’t the case today. We had a strong meet all around.”
Other girls’ event winners on the afternoon were East Carolina recruit Jasmine Dawson of West Johnston in the 200 (24.68) and the 400 (57.7), teammate Becca Meshaw in the 3,200 (12:16.69) and Clayton’s Kristen Duncan in the pole vault (10 feet).
Southeast won two boys relays and had two individual winners on the boys’ side, but it was the top-five finishes that made the difference. The Bulldogs edged the Knights, 22-15, in that category.
Sandy Chapman won the 110 hurdles for Southeast (14.58) and the long jump (22-10 ½), while the 400 (43.75) and 3,200 (8:25.97) relay teams also won.
The Bulldogs scored 23 key points in the pole vault with two sophomores – champion Ryan Adams (9-6) and runner-up Terrence Adams (9-0) – and a freshman, Khalil Gary, finishing in fourth place.
Knightdale’s Kimani Hoffman was the boys meet MVP with wins in the 100 (10.95), the 200 (22.03) and the triple jump (45-3 ¼). The Knights won the 800 and 1,600 relays as well, while Marquavious Johnson took the 400 title (48.2). Corey Aikens grabbed the 800 championship for the Knights (1:58.87).
East Wake’s Damontay Rhem won the boys discus event (149-8), and his teammate Sam Marsh placed third in the shot put (41-11).
Jake Betancourt of West Johnston won the 1,600 (4:32.09) and the 3,200 (10:09.08), while Harnett Central’s Jesse Freeman captured gold in the high jump at 6-4.
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