Tyra Lea provided highlights, and also the points her team needed to fight off a strong challenge from Southeast Raleigh.
(Results, Photos, Interviews)
Girls Team Champions: Wakefield
Boys Team Champions: Knightdale
Girls Runner Up: Southeast Raleigh
Boys Runner Up: Cary
Girls MVP: Tyra Lea, Wakefield
38.76 for 300 (1st, US #3, All-Time North Carolina record), 37' 6" triple jump (1st), 7.26 for 55 Dash (4th)
Boys MVP: Bakri Abushouk, Cary
4:14.56 for 1600 (1st), 2:32.73 for 1000 (1st), 9:25.40 for 3200 (1st)
Is There Such a Thing as a "Double Triple?"
Both the Wakefield girls and the Knightdale boys won their third consecutive indoor state championship. That's a tremendous testament to the coaching staffs at each school, because they have each suffered major losses to graduation during these streaks. It's clear that these two Raleigh-area programs are able to attract talent from their hallways and motivate that talent to work very hard. It's not by accident that Wakefield and Knightdale have their greatest success in similar event ranges (long sprints and field events), because those are two areas where good athletes can become great through dedication and persistance. It's also not a coincidence that both teams seem to inspire closeness and support among teammates, because those are things that can sustain you through the difficult effort required to be great. Our state has seen title runs like these before (New Bern boys, Southeat Raleigh & Harding girls), and now these two teams can take their rightful place among the best ever in North Carolina.
The Sophomore Class Rocks
Spearheaded by Layla White (Cary), the girls in the class of 2015 has some serious talent, and that could help keep North Carolina in the national eye for the next few years. White improved her 500 PR to 1:14.94, good for US #4 this season and NC #6 all-time. Parkland teammates Ebony Williams and Erin Morrison continue to improve, and in many years they would have been the core of a state title contender. Morrison finished 3rd in the 300 (40.31 US #19 and NC #21 all-time), 5th in the 55 Dash, and 7th in the 500; Williams nearly broke 40 seconds while finishing 2nd in the 300 (40.01 US #9 and NC #9 all-time), and also finished 8th in the 55 Hurdles. In field events, up-and-coming athletes like K'Lynn Beal (Broughton), Anna Eaton (Apex), and Sydney Blue (Ardrey Kell) all finished on the medal stand. It's not just the girls, either: Terry Sanford's Philip Hall is lighting up the national rankings at a young age. Hall's 1600 time of 4:17.60 is US #25, and it is the top sophomore time in the country!
Three Hot Races Produce 10 All-Time Top 25 Performances
We already saw the results for Lea, Williams, and Morrison in the girls' 300, rewriting the all-time records in that event. The girls' 55 Hurdles was even more exciting to watch, with four girls separated by a total of 0.03 seconds at the front of the race. Hunter Roberts (Southwest Guilford) won the race with a new PR of 8.10 (US #6, NC #9 all-time). Right behind her came Breanne Bygrave (Wakefield) and Mollie Williams (Clayton), who both ran 8.11 to rank US #9 and NC #11 all-time. Jacklyn Howell (Southeast Raleigh) ran a huge PR of 8.13 to finish fourth, and earned herself a US #13 ranking to go with a North Carolina #13 all-time spot. Maybe these great performances were inspired by the competition in the first event of the day, the girls' 4x800. In that race, Providence (9:37.43, NC #5 all-time) defeated TC Roberson (9:41.97, NC #7 all-time) and Southeast Raleigh (9:51.75, NC #12 all-time).
State Meet Records Fall in Field Events
After a very up-and-down day, Jon Beyle (East Chapel Hill) found his rhythm on his final attempt and unleashed a big PR of 61' 10". It was not only an overall Indoor State Meet record, but also the farthest put in North Carolina history, and it ranks him US #3 this winter. That makes back-to-back titles for Beyle, who now faces the challenge of continuing his impressive progress in the shot put while also integrating his discus training. Kristin Lee (Wakefield) also broke the all-classes Indoor State Meet record in the pole vault, going 12' 6" to defeat a persistent Rayna Yvars (Green Hope). Although not a PR, the result represents redemption after a disastrous 2012 state meet, and that confidence could spill over into even better performances as the indoor postseason rolls on.
Other Top Performances
Jahmall Daniel (Terry Sanford) ran 6.34 in the prelims of the 55 Dash, which puts him at US #6 right now. Sabrina Moore (North Mecklenburg, below) was a double-winner, taking the 55 Dash with a US #10 time of 7.10 and then leaping 18' 7" for gold in the long jump (US #19 and NC #18 all-time). Don't let that obscure your view of the performances by Shakinah Brooks (Southeast Raleigh), who finished second in those same events with big PR's of 7.15 and 18' 5" (US #13 and #24, respectively, and NC #25 all-time in the LJ). Jennie Cunningham (Pinecrest) ran 2:57.46 for the 1000, just off her NC #4 all-time mark from last year and US #21; she pulled Kaylie Loyd (Southeast Raleigh) to a PR of 3:02.02, which puts her at #11 in the all-time state records. Bre'anna Warren (Western Guilford) overcame two early fouls to make the finals, then relaxed and tossed a 44' 6.75" throw, her second time in the 44-foot range. The suprise win of the day went to Josh Edwards (Mount Tabor), whose previous High Jump best was 6' 2" before he became the only athlete to clear 6' 4" at the indoor state meet. Marquavious Johnson (Knightdale) ran 1:04.48 in the 500 (NC #1, US #4, NC #7 all-time), leading a 1-3-5 finish that brought home 20 points, and teammate Kimani Hoffman (Knightdale) jumped 46' 6.5" to win the triple jump. Phillip Bryant (Northwest Guilford) took the 300 away from some bigger-name runners, putting up a state-leading 35.07 that ranks 14th nationally and 19th in state history. Finally, the Knightdale boys bookended the meet by winning both relays, with a season-best 8:01.07 in the 4x800 and a strong 3:22.10 in the 4x400.