Girls Sprints & Hurdles
There is no clear-cut favorite in this event, with a lot of depth among the field. Alyson Davis (Northern Guilford) and Naelee Stone (Cleveland) both have clocked a 12.09 in the past two weeks, with Stone's coming as the fastest time at any regional. Imani Williams (Cleveland) and Nyesha Patillo (Havelock) finished in the second and third spots behind Stone at the East regional meet, and also come in with top-5 3A times this season. Mya Daye (Northern Vance) has the fastest time in the 3A this season, and was the winner of the Mideast regional. Michaela Nelms (Nash Central) had the fourth fastest time at regionals, which held up for 7th in the 3A this season. Any of these athletes could be in the competition for a podium spot, and will look to hold off a stacked field behind them.
Elizabeth Becker (Weddington) will be racing the clock and comes in with a seedtime of 22.33 as the solo competitor in the wheelchair 100-meter dash. Becker has a US #2 20.48 in the event, and will be looking to surpass Jordan Lee's (Texas- Arlington Lamar) nation leading 20.14 in the event. Becker's time already ranks as one of the top-15 high school wheelchair 100 marks all-time in the US.
This weekend was screamin' fast for the 200. How fast? 13 of the top 15 marks in the 3A this season came from regional meets, and one of those remaining two did not run the event at regionals. Mya Daye is the top returner from last year's state meet, where she finished runner up. She also has the top mark in this event from her Mideast regional win, and will have the target on her back after being the first 3A girl to break 25 this season. The next four fastest times all come out of the East region, where Naelee Stone (Cleveland), Imani Williams (Cleveland), Samara Gibson (Corinth Holders) and Nyesha Patillo (Havelock) all clocked within a quarter of a second to clinch all four qualifying spots. Like the 100, the depth behind these top five is immense, and there are double-digit athletes waiting in the ranks to steal a podium spot.
Elizabeth Becker (Weddington) will compete in the wheelchair 200 with a seedtime of 38.07 from regionals, which is over eight seconds faster than any other time in the wheelchair 200 in the MileSplit national database this season.
Michaela Nelms (Nash Central) has the fastest time of anyone in 3A by over a second, and will look to hold of her closest competitor for the second week in a row in Samara Gibson (Corinth Holders), who clocked a 57.63 in her runner up finish at 3A East. Cemere Petty (Eastern Guilford) won the Mideast with a 57.87, and will be looking to make moves and climb the podium. Marissa Blakely (Central Cabarrus) and Jelonnie Smith (South Brunswick) both have sub 59 times, and another group of nine girls in the field have sub 60 performances this season to ensure a lot of depth pushing up on the leaders. Reigning 3A State champ Cambria Shuford (Statesville) ran a 59.18 at regionals, but cannot be counted out to show up at the big stage.
Elizabeth Becker (Weddington) comes in with the US #1 time in the Wheelchair 400-meter event and will look to better her speedy time of 1:12.31 on Saturday, which already ranks US #4 all-time.
The West Carteret teammates Randi Yeomans and Mackenzie Whitaker will have a friendly rivalry as the two favorites in the event, as the two have posted times of 15.05 and 15.07, over a quarter second faster than anyone else in the field. Jaelyn Warren (Cuthbertson), Olivia Cooney (South Iredell), Alion Belvin (Asheville) and Christiana Reynolds (South Iredell) will likely be packed together right behind the West Carteret duo and all vying for medals on Saturday.
Jorja Medders (Marvin Ridge) and Olivia Cooney (South Iredell) were the stars of regional weekend, as they finished 1-2 at the Midwest regional in 44.76 and 44.95. Medders was the runner up at last years state meet and is the top returner from that field. Jordan Kiser (Anson) will try to take advantage of the fact that Mackenzie Whitaker skipped the 300mH to focus on the 100mH at regionals, as Whitaker was the only one between Kiser and the top duo in the 3A rankings. Alion Belvin (Asheville) and Kiara Dukes (Western Guilford) also both come in with sub-47 marks to their name this season and will be in the conversation on Saturday.
Boys Sprints & Hurdles
Kamarion Graham (Charles B. Aycock) has found a way to win in the 100 this outdoor season, emerging victorious in each of his last ten appearances in the event including the East regional. However, there are three guys within eight-hundredths of a second of Graham's 3A-best 10.67. The West region champion and 2016 3A champion Titus Toms (Burns) comes in with a 10.72 and will look to defend his title. He is followed by Mideast regional champion Josh-Lester Harris. Rashaed Whittington (Jacksonville) was second to Graham in both the prelims and the finals of the East regional, but with his 10.75 he is within striking distance of getting vengeance and picking up the title. This is just scratching the surface of a deep field featuring 12 guys who broke 11 seconds in their regional meets.
William Fuller (Jesse C. Carson) will be competing in the wheelchair 100-meter dash. The sophomore has a seedtime of 38.27.
Midwest champion Doug Dracon (Weddington) and Mideast champ Cameron Council (Northwood) posted the top two times in the State this season in their regional wins of 21.74 and 21.76. Josh Moore (West Craven) and Joshua Wilson (Ashbrook) were the other two regional champions, and both also have top five times this season. Not to be outdone by two other guys named Josh, Josh-Lester Harris (J. F. Webb), is also in the mix with the fourth fastest time in all regional meets of 22.05. Emerson Douds (Weddington) has the third fastest time in the 3A this season and finished just behind his teammate Dracon at Midwest, posting the fifth fastest time in the regional meet merge, and could be a threat to move up in this fast field.
Council seems to get better with distance, and is the only 3A runner to have broken 49 seconds in the 400 this season. He finished third at the Mideast regional, however, just behind Southern Durham teammates Khaleb McRae and Montrel Cooper. Just a week before, those two had finished behind Council at the Big 8 Conference Championship. Midwest champ Emerson Douds will threaten to break up the three conference foes, having posted the only other sub-50 mark in the field with his 49.69 back in April.
The top two times this season came at the Midwest regional where Ben Shelley (Marvin Ridge) and Jalen Houston (West Rowan) went 14.19 and 14.47 for the 1-2 finish. East Region champion Jacobi Lloyd (Jacksonville) posted a 14.58 and will look to chase down the top two, and is the only returner from last year's finals. Cory Gaither (South Iredell) and Aveon Reid (Forestview) also posted sub-15 second marks at regionals and will hope to find a spot on the podium come Saturday.
Gaither is the favorite heading into the 300 hurdles with his state-leading 38.08 from his Midwest region win. Not far behind is regional runner-up Shelley, who posted the second fastest time in the state this year with his 38.53. Jacobi Lloyd, Jalen Martin (Concord) and Delante Sykes (Ashbrook) all have top-five marks from this season as well. Martin is the top returner from last year's state finals, where he placed just ahead of Shelley and Lloyd for 2nd. Marcus McDonald, the Mideast champ, took down Shelley at the NCRunners Elite Invitational and could find himself on the podium if he takes advantage of the speedy competition to climb back under 40 seconds.