GREENSBORO — The 4x400 relay has been called the most exciting event in track and field. That was certainly the case at the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championships on Saturday at Irwin Belk Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T.
Southeast Raleigh’s girls (89 points) pulled ahead of Wakefield (82), which needed to finish at least three spots ahead of Southeast in the event to win a fourth consecutive title.
Knightdale’s boys (68 points) wrapped up their third straight championship and broke a record that had stood for 26 years.
Relays: Knightdale’s finish in the boys’ 4x400 (3:12.87) took out a record set by Hillside that had stood since 1987. The Knights, who also claimed the 4x800 (7:46.19), are ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 4x400.
Junior Marquavious Johnson ran the anchor leg, while senior Bernard Freeman and juniors Marcell Johnson and Henry Kiedy ran the others.
“It’s a blessing to run with these guys,” Marquavious Johnson said. “Before the race we were hyping up each other to try and break the record.”
Knightdale was also second in the 4x200 (1:27.57), followed by Apex in third.
Wake Forest-Rolesville won the boys’ 4x100. Southeast Raleigh was second in the 4x400.
Wakefield’s girls looked as though they had set a new state record in the 4x100, but the team was disqualified after it was discovered that one of the handoffs took place outside of their lane. The 10 lost points proved crucial when Southeast, which finished second in the 4x100, entered the final event with a four-point lead on the Wolverines.
Any chance of Wakefield winning by a large enough margin was wiped out when Southeast’s Tametrius Morrison ran the anchor leg to help the Bulldogs take second.
Cary was third in the 4x400 while Wakefield was fourth.
Broughton’s girls won the 4x800 (9:10.26). Winston-Salem Parkland set girls’ state records in the 4x200 (1:37.83), where West Johnston finished second, and the 4x400 (3:47.70).
Sprints: The Triangle held court in the fastest girls’ events.
West Johnston’s Jasmine Dawson won the 100 (11.70), Wakefield’s Tyra Lea won the 200 (23.95), Wakefield’s Tiana Patillo (55.46) won the 400, Clayton’s Mollie Williams won the 110 hurdles (13.98) and Southeast’s Morrison won the 300 hurdles (42.72).
Lea and Patillo came in second and third in the 100, but Dawson held on. In the 200, Patillo was runner-up to Lea. The two will be at N.C. State next year. Apex’s Sydnei Murphy was fourth.
Wakefield’s JeMay Ward was third behind Patillo in the 400. Patillo was named girls’ MVP.
Morrison edged teammate Jacklyn Howell in the 300 hurdles while Sanderson’s Daniqua Dye was fourth. Williams, who had a slow start in the 110 hurdles, repeated as champion.
On the boys’ side, Marquavious Johnson took the 400 (47.16), while Southeast’s Jamaree Murray was second and Apex’s Jalen Ware was fourth.
Wake Forest-Rolesville’s Bryce Love was second in the 100 and third in the 200. Knightdale’s Kimani Hoffman was fourth in the 200.
West Johnston’s Xavier Carter was second in the 100 hurdles while Garner’s Nyheim Hines was third in the 300 hurdles.
Jumps: Wakefield’s Kristen Lee broke the state record in the girls’ pole vault (13-0). Apex’s Anna Eaton and Green Hope’s Rayna Yvars were second and third.
But Southeast showed its strength in the rest of the jumps.
Southeast’s Shakinah Brooks won the long jump (19-5) while Leesville Road’s Lauren White (17-11) was third.
Also for the Bulldogs, Alexis Williamson (38-6 1/2) and Amara Bell were second and third (38-0) in the triple jump.
The Triangle swept the boys’ side. Hillside freshman Marcus Krah won the long jump (23-1), Apex’s Joe DeVries won the pole vault (14-0), Knightdale’s Hoffman won the triple jump (46-8) and Harnett Central’s Jesse Freeman won the high jump (6-6).
Hoffman was the only Knights athlete to win a field event.
“It really boils down to who is here to win. We … came here and took care of business today,” Hoffman said.
Lightning interrupted the meet for an hour and a half while many of the jumps were ongoing.
“It was weird, because I had to warm up three times today. It was exhausting,” DeVries said.
Freeman won on misses and looked like he was going to reach 6-8 but his heel just clipped the bar on the way down.
Apex’s Michael Utecht tied for fourth in the pole vault while Holly Springs’ Jack Nosbisch was fourth in the high jump.
Southeast’s Justin Morris was fourth in the triple jump.
Throws: Though East Chapel Hill’s John Beyle came into the meet as the top-rated boy in the shot put, Southern Durham’s Jalen Peterkin surprised with a new personal record and state championship throw (59-6)
Beyle was third in the shot (57-0 3/4) and second in the discus (169-11). East Wake’s Damontay Rhem placed fifth in the discus (153-5).
Southern Durham’s Regene Watson was fourth in the girls’ shot (40-4 1/4) while Apex’s Brianna Heilsnis was second in the discus (136-0).
Distance: The Triangle also swept the girls’ distance events.
East Chapel Hill’s Pegah Kamrani won the 3,200 (10:47.60), Broughton’s Mattie Blue (5:02.52) won the 1,600 while teammate Megan Sullivan (2:13.29) won the 800.
Kamrani was within a second of the state record. Panther Creek’s Rebekah Greengrass was second and Broughton’s Kelsey Moore was fourth. Blue and Sullivan were also on Broughton’s 4x800 relay.
On the boys’ side, Knightdale’s Corey Aikens was fourth in the 800 while Cary’s Bakri Abushouk was second in the 1,600.
Other notables: Knightdale had a coaching change midseason when David Castell stepped down. The team gave Castell, who won the first two titles with the Knights, much of the credit.
“That was a big blow for us. But we had the mindset of ‘All right, we’ve got to get past that,’” Hoffman said. “He’s been an amazing asset to our team. He has created our work ethic and who we are. He’s always been there for us.”
East Chapel Hill (34) was fourth in boys, while Apex (29.5) was sixth, Southeast (25) was seventh and Wake Forest-Rolesville (24) was eighth.
Apex and Broughton’s girls were part of a three-way tie for fourth with 35 points. West Johnston (29) was ninth and Clayton (20) was tied for 10th.