Mideast Regional 1-A track
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 16, 2011 1:47 PM
PRINCETON -- Alysse Atwell knew she'd miss her friends.
She made sure they wouldn't stay home.
Atwell turned in a phenomenal performance on the third leg of the 1,600-meter relay during the 2011 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A Mideast Regional track meet Saturday. She took the baton from Elise McSwain and found herself trailing the fifth-place runner by at least 60 meters.
The Rosewood freshman kicked into a faster gear. The crowd roared in approval as Atwell handed off to Armani Perry, who had a 30-meter advantage on the final lap. Perry easily kept the pace and the Eagles claimed the regional title in 4 minutes, 31.7 seconds.
"Alysse had a stellar leg on that relay," said Rosewood head coach David Younts. "She was a little disappointed that the 3,200 relay didn't make it. She wanted to make states and she wanted her friends to make it, too. She's a team player."
Crystal Allen ran the opening leg of the relay, and capped her stellar individual day. She qualified for the state championship meet in Greensboro in three events -- high jump (regional champ), 100 dash (runner-up) and 200 (fourth place).
"Crystal did in the regional what she's done all year," said Younts. "The only PR (personal record) for her was the long jump because she had been around 15 (feet), 3 (inches). The other events, she did what she normally does every day.
"She's just a sophomore, so I'm definitely glad to be coaching her for the next few years."
Brynna Lee claimed the pole vault gold medal.
Rosewood, which had just seven competitors, placed third in the team standings with 57 points.
"That's awesome," said Younts. "We're not deep, but we're definitely talented with those seven."
Also headed to N.C. A&T State University are three regional champions on the men's side -- Goldsboro's Andre Montgomery, North Duplin's Devin Oliver and Rosewood's Ricky Donahue.
Montgomery, a senior, claimed the shot put crown with a toss of 48 feet, 71/2 inches. Oliver topped the field in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.6 seconds. Donahue posted a meet-winning height of 11 feet in the pole vault.
"Ricky has had a great year and I'm happy he is going to state as a regional champion. He deserves it," said Rosewood head coach Robert Britt. "Our guys gave their best effort at the regional. Most of our team placed in the top eight in their events, however, we don't have a lot going to the state meet."
Joining Montgomery will be fellow Cougars Karon Alston (100 dash), Stephani Taylor (400 run) and Jade Dansler (shot put).
Spring Creek is taking Sean Stallings, Davion Harris and Sara Boltinhouse. Stallings placed second in the 200, while Harris was runner-up behind Montgomery in the shot put.
Boltinhouse ended up fourth in the 800.
"We're proud of Sean, Davion and Sara ... they're going to represent our school well at states," said Gators head coach Aaron Sanders. "Sean, I think being able to return to the state meet this year speaks volumes for him because he's been fighting a hamstring all year.
"This is great for Sara because she is somebody who works really hard."
Princeton will have Linda Smith (3,200 run), Amber Brush (discus runner-up) and Amber Gagliano (pole vault) compete on the girls' side. Leading the boys are Jamal Allen (110 hurdles), Adrian Joyner (discus), Jovantae Davis (triple jump); and pole vaulters Ethan Anderson and Nathan Woodard.
The Dogs' 400- and 800-meter relays also qualified for the boys' state meet.
"With the loss of (state champ) TJ Wilson, a lot of people weren't expecting a lot out of us this year," said Princeton head coach Michael Price. "We had 11 seniors who left to graduation. We had a lot of juniors, sophomores and freshmen to step into those spots.
"I was proud of my boys and how they stepped up for the meet Saturday. This team has worked hard to achieve the success they've had."
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