Both of the title-winning teams were led by MVP performances, with Isaiah Moore's a near repeat of last year.
(Photos, Interviews, Results)
Girls Team Champions: West Carteret
Boys Team Champions: Cummings
Girls Runners-Up: Monroe and Marvin Ridge (tie)
Boys Runners-Up: North Lincoln
Girls MVP: Blake Dodge, West Carteret
1st in 1600, 1st in 1000, Anchored Winning 4x800 and 4x400
Boys MVP: Isaiah Moore, Cummings
1st in 55 Hurdles, 1st in High Jump, 2nd in Long Jump
West Carteret Controls the Mid-Distances
The day started off well for the Patriots of West Carteret, as their girls 4x800 was able to come from behind to win behind a 2:16 anchor leg by meet MVP Blake Dodge. Their time of 9:45.89 was a new 1A/2A/3A State Meet record, put them in 9th on the all-time list, and it was the top time in the state this season for about 7 hours. In the 1600, Dodge took over in the second 800 of what had started out as a somewhat slow race, and she pulled away to win in 5:12.35, looking comfortable the whole way. Next came the 1000, and Dodge took control of that race early, looking smooth on her way to what was the top time in the state at that point, 3:01.59 (1A/2A/3A State Meet record, NC #2, NC #10 all-time). The night finished as it started for the West Carteret girls, with Dodge coming from behind in the 4x400 to secure the team win. One thing that should not be lost amid the brilliance of Blake's big day: teammate Katie Cease ran strong legs on both relays, and the team title wouldn't have happened without her. Not to be outdone by his female teammates, John Crossley dropped a 2:30.34 in the boys' 1000 (NC #1 this year, US #9, NC #4 all-time).
Small Teams Rule Boys' Competition
Both the Cummings and North Lincoln boys had only four or five athletes in uniform for the meet, and yet those were the two teams that stood on the podium when it was all said and done. Cummings got most of their points from the MVP performance of Isaiah Moore; the junior won the 55 Hurdles for the second year in a row, and he added a high jump title to his resume. Despite jumping further than last year, though, Moore was frustrated by being unable to get past 23 feet, a mark that he has hit several times this winter, and as a result he was unable to repeat as long jump champion. Thomas Jones II finished second in the hurdles to account for the rest of the team's points. The overall runner up, North Lincoln, scored big points when Andrew Fea and Josh Mosteller finished 1-2 in the 1600. Fea also finished 7th in the 1000, and Ryan Shannon added fourth-place points in the 3200. Chase Stehling picked up the final 3 points in the shot put for the Knights.
Senior Continues Dominant Career
Hailey Cook (Hendersonville) won her second straight indoor shot put title, this time with a 6-foot margin of victory. She has scored at the indoor meet all four years of her career, and as long as she stays healthy it appears that she is on track to claim her fourth straight outdoor shot put and discus titles. That would give her 10 total championships, a fitting number for an athlete that currently sits 10th in state history indoors, and 12th outdoors.
Other Noteworthy Performances
Coming back from a minor hamstring injury, James Drummond (Lexington) appeared to run conservatively in the 55, but he took over the state lead in the 300 with his 35.18 time (US #23). Jordan Warren (Hickory Ridge) jumped 47' 2" in the triple jump, moving him up to US #12. Marvin Ridge ran 9:51.14 in the girls' 4x800, moving them up to 11th on the North Carolina All-Time Indoor list. Maya Evans (Fike) broke the 1A/2A/3A State Meet record in the 500, running 1:16.50. Makayla Roten (West Wilkes) cleared 5' 6" in the high jump for the third time this winter, and she also finished third in the pole vault. AJ Tucker (Cedar Ridge) pulled away late to win a fast 3200, running 9:30.70 to earn the #2 spot in the state rankings this winter. Cameron Stinson (Hickory) jumped 23' even in the long jump, earning himself a US #19 ranking in the process. Paisley Simmons (TW Andrews) won the 55 Dash with a time of 7.17, which puts her at US #20. Steve Stowe (North Forsyth) became the third representative from his school in the all-time top 25, as his 2:34.90 puts him at #25. Thor Smith (Northern Guilford) won the pole vault with a clearance of 14' 6", tying him for 16th in state history. Nikolete Hurrinus (Cummings) ran 1:17.25 in the 500, earning her NC #18 all-time. Traevin Drayton-Ferguson (Berry) proved that indoor experience usually trumps fast polar bear times, taking the 500 with a mark of 1:06.12, NC #22 all-time. Finally, Mary Grace Doggett (Cardinal Gibbons) had the top 3200 time of the day, including the 4A meet, as she ended up at NC #4 this winter.