Eastern Wayne captures county crown
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 15, 2008 3:36 PM
Eastern Wayne's depth paid off Monday afternoon.
The Warriors emerged victorious in seven events, including three relays, and retained their Wayne County Girls Track and Field Championship crown at Little Big Horn.
Multiple-place finishes in every event proved critical for Eastern Wayne, which compiled 170.5 points in the seven-team meet. Charles B. Aycock wound up second with 131 points. Rosewood placed in each relay and claimed third with 50 points.
Goldsboro seized fourth place with 43.5 points, followed by Southern Wayne (37), Spring Creek (32) and Wayne Christian (16).
Warrior sprinter Noelle Kelly and Golden Falcon senior Chantel Gaines staged another classic in the 400-meter dash. Kelly got a stronger start off the blocks and recorded a season-best time of 1 minute, 00.2 seconds.
"Whenever we get to run against each other it is a good race," said Kelly. "Chantel is a great competitor. I have been trying to get my time down under one minute before we get to regionals.
"Running my best time of the season hurts on the outside, but it feels really good on the inside."
Gaines returned later in the day and blitzed the competition in the 200-meter dash. She broke the tape in 27.82 seconds, nearly a second faster than her nearest challenger, Tiarra Campbell of Eastern Wayne.
The Golden Falcons' Brianna Reid recorded the most-lopsided individual performance of the afternoon. She heaved the discus 92 feet, 9 inches -- more than 20 feet farther than meet runner-up Ikezja Langley of Eastern Wayne.
The county-wide get together was not only important for the individuals trying to score top times, but also for the teams looking to see where they stand on a regional level.
"This is the best competition we'll see all year," said first-year Rosewood coach David Younts. "From this point I can pretty much tell who is going to be able to qualify for regionals and states."
Despite finishing behind two Class 3-A powers, Younts was proud of how his 1-A team responded to the increased competition.
"I don't like to make excuses, but we are dealing with a few injuries, and for our girls to come out and show as well as they did is a good sign," Younts said. "We have a few standout athletes, but our girls really work well as a team."
The Eagles got first-place finishes from Olivia Neal in the pole vault (8 feet) and from India McGowan in the long jump (13'11").
"Olivia is such a good athlete, running two relays, the 400 meters and pole vaulting," Younts said. "As a team our field events are strong, and we put a lot of effort into the relays, which a lot of small schools don't do."
Eastern Wayne head coach Marvin Bowman also chose to look at things from a team perspective.
"I was proud of Ikezja Langley in the shot put and also Noelle for the job she did, but more than anything I was happy with our effort as a team," Bowman said. "With the conference meet coming up, I have been trying to tell the girls that all the practices and all the meets are to better prepare for the rest of the season."
Bowman said challenges still await his team.
"Kinston is a very strong team," he said. "We need to pick up a few points where we can, and have some help from the other members of the conference doing the same, but you never know."
The boys' portion of the Wayne County Track and Field Championships is April 21 at Little Big Horn. Field and running events begin at 4 p.m.
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