05/14/18 — C.B. Aycock's 4x1 relay claims East 3-A regional championship

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C.B. Aycock's 4x1 relay claims East 3-A regional championship

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 14, 2018 11:12 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Gritty determination, tradition and a display of speed.

All three played a role in the N.C. High School Athletic Association outdoor track and field regional meets contested Saturday in hot conditions.

Kamarion "K-man" Graham, who pulled a hamstring toward the end of the indoor season, emerged as the East 3-A runner-up in the 100-meter dash. But the Charles B. Aycock senior stole the spotlight in the 4x1 relay.

The Golden Falcons were seeded eighth in the finals.

"I was hoping for a solid race to get into the top four, but handoffs have been inconsistent all year," CBA coach Butch Bennett said.

The first three legs -- Rico Dawson, Jaylan Robinson and Alijuan Moore -- ran well. The Golden Falcons appeared destined for a fifth-place finish until Graham received a flawless handoff from Moore.

Bennett watched in awe.

Graham turned on the jets as he exited the first curve and battled step-for-step with Cleveland and Southern Nash as they headed down the homestretch. Graham leaned into the tape and capped CBA's phenomenal run -- a school-record best of 43.3 seconds.

"I was right at the finish line and I have never seen such a close finish in a relay," Bennett said. "I wasn't sure we won until the times flashed up [on the board]."

A total of .03 seconds separated the top four schools.

Deshawn Owens kicked it up a notch in the final 300 meters and secured third place in the 1,600 run with a school- and personal-best time of 4:32. He qualified for the season-ending state finals Friday in Greensboro.

"Deshawn ran one of the best races in the 1,600 that I've ever seen him run," Bennett said. "[He] very smartly stayed in the lead pack of five during a pretty quick opening lap. On lap three, it became a pack of four, though five was still within striking range."

Senior Arlanda Faulkner, who toiled through some late-season injuries, qualified for the state meet in the 100 hurdles. She crossed the line in 15.93 seconds.

Southern Wayne, says its coaching staff, turned in a "great show."

And the Saints took home some hardware.

The 4x2 relay of Erykah Baldwin, Kiah Murriell, Machiah Moore and Takeitha Glaspie placed second (1:44.27) in the girls' 4x2 relay. The same foursome took third in the 4x1 with a time of 49.68.

Baldwin seized third in the long jump (17 feet, 7.25 inches). Glaspie finished regional runner-up in the 200 (25.57 seconds) and third in the 100 (13.08).

Alexus Elliott logged top-four, state-qualifying distances in the shot put (36-1, third) and discus (113-4, fourth).

Tashawn Phillips collected third-place honors in the 110 hurdles (15.4), while teammate Joshua McClain took second in the 200 (22.74).

Eastern Wayne's Kianna Haywood punched her ticket the state meet with a fourth-place time of 12.63 seconds in the 100 dash.

William Smith picked up two medals for the Warrior boys in the 200 (22.79, fourth) and triple jump (43-4, third). Teammate Quadrez Lassiter placed second in the shot put with a toss of 48-2.75.

The Warriors are taking their 4x2 relay to Greensboro.

Down toward the coast, Princeton's Shamonda Bell out-raced the field to Mideast 1-A regional crowns in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 200 meters.

The senior grabbed second in the 100.

Bell tallied a total of 38 points on the day.

"It's the best overall performance Shamonda has ever had," PHS head coach Mark McLamb said. "She didn't set any school records, but she had to run six races between prelims and finals, and ran great."

Zoe Byrd nearly mirrored Bell's effort.

The junior nabbed the regional title in the triple jump, took second in the 100 hurdles, third in the long jump and third in the 300 hurdles.

Senior Luke Brush continued his late-season surge in the pole vault. The Carolina 1-A Conference champ posted a regional-best height of 13 feet -- one foot, four inches better than runner-up Tanner Smith of Rosewood.

The Dogs also got solid state-qualifying outings from Diamond Brooks (discus), Gracie Whitley (pole vault), Sydney Norris (pole vault), Brook Connolly (high jump) and Ben Bayles (pole vault).

"[Overall] we had a good day," McLamb said. "The kids did really well and did a good job dealing with the heat."

Heat, huh?

How about blazing speed, too?

Rosewood continued its recent mastery in the boys' 4x4 relay. The foursome of Jakeil Coley, Caden Reiss, Tyshon McCoy and Devante Phillips topped the fleet-footed field in 3:33.46 -- 11 seconds faster than their best time recorded during the regular season.

"That's become a standard for our program," RHS head coach Robert Britt said.

The Eagles' Devonte Phillips and Zack Brogden each earned regional titles in the 400 and 110 hurdles, respectively. Phillips ended up fourth in the long jump.

Amrei Atwell placed second in the 110 hurdles. Teammate Joseph Fuller was regional runner-up in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 110 hurdles.

Rosewood's quartet of Coley, McCoy, Michael Reid and Phillips claimed second in the 4x2 relay.

Sprinter Miyah McCall paced the Eagles in the girls' portion of the meet with a second-place finish in the 200 dash. Kimber Jones captured third in the pole vault.

The Eagles' 4x2 relay of Rylee Myers, Summer Fulghum, Laine Marsh and McCall took third.

"The boys battled all day," Britt said. "It was a very competitive meet. We finished third...only 7.5 points out first [for the team title]. Our girls had some great performances. Our combo of track, softball and soccer athletes continues to benefit us.

"I'm very proud of both teams."

Goldsboro's 4x2 relay and Darius Rodgers (fourth in the 200) advanced to the state 2-A championship meet in Greensboro.