05/23/04 — Princeton has "Golden Graham" at 1-A track meet

View Archive

Princeton has "Golden Graham" at 1-A track meet

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 23, 2004 2:02 AM

RALEIGH -- Summer Graham left last weekend's mideast regional track and field championships with two gold medals, but she still had some concerns heading into Friday afternoon's 1,600-meter run at N.C. State.

Graham erased those doubts in one lap.

The talented long-distance runner let a couple of "rabbits" set the pace early, but stayed in her own stride around the Paul Derr Track. Graham easily stepped past the lead runner after the first 100 meters on the second lap and from there waltzed to her first-ever N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A title.

Nearly two seasons of haunting runner-up finishes in cross country and outdoor track had finally ended on a hot, balmy afternoon.

"I knew a couple of people would kick it early, but I just wanted to run my race," a grinning Graham said. "I ran it just like I wanted to. It feels to good to win.

"I thank God for this opportunity to make it this far and not be injured. I'm no longer the first-place loser."

But she wasn't done.

Later in the evening, as temperatures cooled a little bit, Graham took the track again for the 3,200-meter event. The competition was a little tighter this time and Carolina Conference rival Amy Arthur, from North Duplin, stayed on Graham's heels.

Graham edged Arthur by one-plus second and picked up her second state championship of the day. Once the team awards had been presented, Graham stepped up to the podium and received the meet's Most Valuable Player plaque, too.

The Princeton High senior became the first eastern runner to win the 1,600 since the NCHSAA went to a separate 1-A championship in 1994. She's just the second eastern runner to claim the 3,200 title. Rosewood's Jamie Hollingsworth was the first east champion in that event in 1997.

Arthur, who began blossoming as a long-distance runner during her sophomore year, ended up fourth overall in the 1,600. Arthur started the race in the middle of the pack, moved up to third on the third lap, but dropped to fourth.

While Graham and Arthur conducted their usual duel on the track, several area athletes turned in solid efforts -- including three first-time competitors.

Rosewood senior Michael Spriggs fared well during the preliminary round of the discus. He wasn't too pleased with his throw, but it was good enough to reach the final flight.

"I could have thrown a lot better in the prelim," Spriggs said. "I tightened my spin and put some more power into my throw."

Spriggs threw the discus 142-2 in the finals. Spriggs was one of three Carolina Conference athletes to finish among the top five. Farmville Central's Robert Brady successfully defended his title and eclipsed his old state record by seven feet with a throw of 157-3. Teammate Alonzo Jones was fifth overall.

Spring Creek senior McKenzie Jones grabbed a spot among the top four in the first heat in the 100-meter dash, but wasn't quite sure his time was good enough to qualify for the finals. Once the second heat had been completed, McKenzie earned the eighth seed.

He ran the finals in 11.62 seconds and finished eighth.

"I was a little tight from the long jump, and 100 and 200 preliminaries," Jones said. "I just did the best I could do. These boys are fast.

"I'm a little disappointed, but I made it to the finals. That was my goal this year."

North Johnston's Damien Allen had the same reaction once he completed the 110-meter hurdles race. Like Jones, he wasn't sure that he had done enough to reach the finals.

He struggled to leave the blocks in the preliminary heat and managed to gain some ground as he cleared every hurdle. Allen ended up fourth in his heat and returned later to finish fifth overall in the finals.

"This is my first year doing hurdles," Allen said. "I did decent, but I didn't run that hard. I just wanted to do enough to get to the finals. It's not my best, but I'll take it since it's the first time I've made it to states.

"The competition is great up here. The best I've run against and I love it."

Rosewood's James Reusch ended up sixth overall in the 300 meter hurdles.

The Eagles' 1,600 relay claimed their heat with a time of 3:35.28. However, it was good enough for fifth overall behind event winner Lejeune (3:29.18), North Brunswick, Heide Trask and Southside.

James Kenan claimed third in the girls' 400 relay. Senior Sareece Armwood ended up fifth overall in the shot put with a mark of 34-1 1/2.

Philip Hardman earned MVP honors as Heide Trask won its first-ever boys championship with 97 points, compared to conference rival North Brunswick with 64. Hardman captured first in the 400 meters and long jump.

Durham School of the Arts earned at least a share of the women's title for the third consecutive year. The Bulldogs racked up 96 points, while runner-up South Stokes collected 55.

DSA won the title outright in 2002 and this year, and finished in a dead heat with South Stokes in 2003. South Stokes' Evette Brown won the 100 and 200 dashes.

33rd annual N.C.

High School Athletic Association

Class 1-A Track and Field Championships


Top 10 team scores

1. Durham School of the Arts 96

2. South Stokes 55

3. Surry Central 51

4. North Brunswick 42

5. Hendersonville 34.5

6. North Stokes 31.5

7. Williamston 29

8. Swain County 27.5

9. Southside 27

10. Albemarle 26

Area team scores

12. Princeton 22

18. North Duplin 13

32. James Kenan 4

35. North Johnston 3

39. Rosewood 1.5

Individual champions

100 -- Evette Brown (S. Stokes) 12.18 seconds; 200 -- Brown (S. Stokes) 25.87; 400 -- Christina Gray (N. Brunswick) 57.75; 800 -- Kala Robertson (S. Central) 2:24.81; 1,600 -- Summer Graham (Princeton) 5:27.04; 3,200 -- Graham (Princeton) 12:03.09; 100 high hurdles -- Kenya Kerr (Hendersonville) 16.41; 300 low hurdles -- Alexis Jenkins (N. Brunswick) 47.18; 400 relay -- Boonville Starmount 52.97; 800 relay -- Lejeune 1:52.09; 1,600 relay -- Lejeune 4:28.88; 3,200 relay -- Surry Central 10:13.7; High jump -- Jessica Peaks (DSA) 5 feet, 2 inches; Pole vault -- Shea Snow (Starmount) 10-7; Long jump -- Gerri-Lena White (Williamston) 17-0 1/2; Triple jump -- Eman Al-Aswadi (DSA) 35-9 3/4; Shot put -- Tiffany McGaha (Andrews) 38-11; Discus -- Kendall Ridenhour (Albemarle) 126-2.

84th annual N.C.

High School Athletic Association

Class 1-A Track and Field Championships


Top 10 team scores

1. Heide Trask 97

2. North Brunswick 64

3. Southside 62

4. South Stanly 60

5. Wallace-Rose Hill 39.5

6. Hendersonville 38.5

7. Union 34

7. Surry Central 34

9. Lejeune 26

10. Murphy 24

Area team scores

13. Rosewood 17

30. North Johnston 3

36. Spring Creek 1

Individual champions

100 -- John Carr (W.-Rose Hill) 10.91 seconds; 200 -- Brandon Small (Lejeune) 22.56; 400 -- Philip Hardman (Trask) 49.55; 800 -- Mark DeWeese (Murphy) 1:59.19; 1,600 -- Deweese (Murphy) 4:35.18; 3,200 -- Miguel Ocampo (S. Central) 10:19.61; 110 high hurdles -- Frankie Adams (Union) 15.92; 300 hurdles -- Adams (Union) 41.68; 400 relay -- Maiden 45.58; 800 relay -- Weldon 1:34.25; 1,600 relay -- Lejeune 3:29.18; 3,200 relay -- Surry Central 8:21.94; High jump -- Dakota Dunn (E. Montgomery 6 feet, 8 inches; Pole vault -- Austin Patterson (S. Stanly 14-0; Long jump -- Hardman (Trask) 22-9 1/2; Triple jump -- Harry Boney (N. Brunswick) 43-10; Shot put -- Anthony Bryant (N. Brunswick) 49-1 3/4; Discus -- Robert Brady (F. Central) 157-3.