The 4A meet has some very big names, some studs who have performed quite well on the national scene this year and in the past. Could it be a tight team battle on the girl's side? Will New Bern be smiling this year at the awards ceremony?
(This preview is still in progress-4x800 & field events still coming)
New Bern is quite possibly the best team in the country. Last year they were very disappointed at the awards stand and I’m guessing that memory still lingers with each of them. I look for New Bern to come out on top, but don’t count the very talented Southeast Raleigh team. They may not be too far behind. Then I would say there may be a battle for 3rd between, West Charlotte, E.E. Smith, Mount Tabor, and possibly a few others.
The girl’s state title should be a fun to watch. There seem to be about 5 schools or so that are vying for the top spot. Butler may have the edge with their field event points. They seem to have girls where no one else does and it could mean for big points. Myers Park has a solid team with girls everywhere. Look for Myers Park, Butler, Mount Tabor, Southeast Raleigh, Millbrook, and possibly Weddington to be at the top. I’m going to call Butler for the win.
Girls 55m Dash
Nyosha Bryant of West Charlotte and Gabrielle Gray of High Point Central have the top 2 times indoors. Gray, only a 9th grader, will look to defeat last year’s state champ along with some other very fast ladies. Breahna Morrison of Weddington has a very quick hand-time, but will that convert to a win indoors on Saturday? Don’t count out Dominique Weathers of Vance who was superb last year as a 9th grader.
Boys 55m Dash
The top times all come from polar bear meets, which make it really hard to know what is legit and what is not. Look for New Bern’s Fuquawn Green to be at the top as he has a 6.23 converted time from the 60m. Also, Antonio Marshall of Independence at 6.32 and Ronald Duncan of Vance at 6.36. Torrence Hunt of Jordan ran 6.38 at the Eastern High School Challenge a month ago and should be ready to run faster. Then of course, you can’t count out the 100m National Champ from last year, Hunter Furr of Mount Tabor.
Girls 300m Dash
Again, the majority of the fast times come from meets run outside. T’Shelia Mungo of Independence has the resume to win here and her 40.34c time from a polar bear meet may say she’s ready. There are a number of very talented girls in the field and this one may be up for grabs. Sanura Eley-O’Reilly could very well take this one and the 500. She seems to be racing a new levels.
Boys 300m Dash
New Bern has the two top times in the event from Anthony Hendrix and Fuquawn Green. If there is one athlete who looks to have a shot at knocking these guys off the top spot I’d say it is Lamont Jackson of RJ Reynolds. Lamont has had an outstanding indoor season and looked really good at the Eastern High School Challenge. Also, Ben Major has been running very well from E.E. Smith.
Girls 500m Dash
This one could be very fun. Sanura Eley-O’Reilly ran an incredible race from about the 6th heat at the Eastern High School Challenge to win the event with a time of 1:16.64. Cross Country runner/sprinter, Becca Deloache from Myers Park, is simply able to use her strength and continue to accelerate the entire race. I’m looking for a very good race between these two with possibly Mungo of Independence sneaking up in there as well.
Boys 500m Dash
Can you say “Hendrix”? Anthony and Andrew are ranked #1 and #2 in the country. As well as these guys have been running as of late, I don’t see anyone knocking them off. I believe it is New Bern’s year and these two are leading the way for this team.
Unlike the girl’s 1A/2A/3A race, there truly isn’t a clear cut favorite in this one. Katie Magee of Enloe has the fastest time, and impressive 3:06.9, from a polar bear meet. Maraya Slatter, a 2:18 800m runner, has run 3:09 and that was a month ago. With Kimberly Spano and Becca Deloache in there as well, look for this to be a great race.
Alex Taylor of Providence looked very good at the Eastern High School Challenge in the 1000 and the 1600. He looks to be concentrating more on this event here, which could be trouble for the rest of the field. Alex is capable of something fast and can run from both the front or the back.
I’m looking forward to this race as Mount Tabor’s Margaret Leak seems to excel at the 1600 distance. Kimberly Spano of North Mecklenburg is the top seed with a 5:14, but could be running three races? Lauren Strapp of Leesville Road has had a breakthrough indoor season and could be a surprise winner if she can stay close.
Zak Roshdy of Green Hope has a time of 4:22 coming in which was run outdoors, while Jared Neely has a time of 4:23 indoors. This could very well become a battle between these two late in the race. Don’t’ count out Mohammed Abushouk of Cary who had an excellent XC season and could surprise people. Mount Tabor and Green Hope may score big points in this event as they have 5 of the top 7 athletes.
Kimberly Spano of North Mecklenburg is the favorite here, especially after qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals this past XC season. Taking nothing away from the other 4 girls who have cracked 11:40, Spano’s PR of 10:48 seems in another class. Lexie Schustrom of Pinecrest ran 11:22 at the Eastern HS Challenge and Spano was just 6 seconds ahead. Jessica Rossabi of Green Hope is only a 9th grader and seems fearless. Samantha George, a 9th grader at Millbrook, broke 18:00 at Foot Locker South and has the potential to challenge. Finally, Lauren Strapp continues to improve just about every race out. I’ve seen Spano take off and I’ve seen her sit . . . I don’t think she should let these girls hang around for too long.
I’m hoping for another duel between Seth Crawford of NW Guilford and Jared Neely of Mount Tabor. This looks to be Crawford’s only race besides a possible 4x800, so he should be ready to go. These guys were separated by just about 2 seconds at the Eastern High School Challenge, with both running PR’s. There are others to watch as well: Doug Black seems to like this distance, Alex Taylor ran his 9:46 way back in December, and Mohammed Abushouk has one of the faster XC times.
Girls 55m Hurdles
This race looks like it will belong to Harding’s Brittany Carroll. She ran well at the Eastern HS Challenge on the same track and is seeded 3 hundredths faster than her nearest competitior, 8.31 to 8.64.
Boys 55m Hurdles
Not the event you want to be in if you’re trying to win. Wayne Davis II from SE Raleigh is the current national record holder in 7.06 and ran 7.15 a month ago on this track. Justin Crawford of Ashbrook also looked very good at the Eastern HS Challenge and most likely will finish 2nd.
Some of the teams at the top in this event look to be in contention for the overall team title as well. Weddington, Mount Tabor, Millbrook, and Myers Park (the top 4 seeds) may need to win this event in order to secure the state title. This should make for a very exciting finish to the meet.
Another one of those events that you’re probably shooting for 2nd place. Obviously anything can happen, especially in a relay, but New Bern is coming off a national record last weekend of 3:13.06 at the New York Armory. They could also be racing to solidify themselves as the best team in the state. West Charlotte’s boys are no slouches with a time of 3:22 and neither is Knightdale at 3:25. Along with E.E. Smith at 3:27, the battle for 2nd could be a great one.
Myers Park returns their entire team that ran 9:26 outdoors last season. Not to mention, it looks like Becca Deloache is improving her speed. I’m going to call Myers Park for the win here, but West Johnston and Cary will be tough. Both of these teams clocked their sub-10:00 performances about a month ago at the Eastern HS Challenge.
New Bern ran 8:04 at the Virginia Tech Invitational but was way back after their first 2 legs. Will they run the same order and risk not being able to make up the difference? The gap between themselves and the next fastest is huge, 8:04 to 8:21, but there are some other talented teams in the field: Enloe, Myers Park, & Mount Tabor.
Girls High Jump
This looks to be a great competition with the top 3 ladies all coming in with the same clearance of 5-04. Breana Staves, of Leesville Road, is joined by two girls from Butler HS, Cassidy Burdick and Erica McLeod. This is where Butler is going to have to begin racking up the points. They are field event heavy and have a good shot at winning the state meet with their depth here. There are also 5 other girls who come in with a 5-02 clearance.
Boys High Jump
It’s a small field in the boy’s event with only 7 athletes. Demarcus Northe of Westover and Steven Bell of Southeast Raleigh are tied with the top mark of 6-04. If SE Raleigh wants to pull the team upset on New Bern, they are going to need big points from their two athletes.
Girls Pole Vault
The field events seem so tight this year. In the girl’s pole vault there are 3 girls listed with 11-00 clearances. Two of them have been at the top for sometime now and have plenty of experience here, Taylor Cook of Watauga and Meredith Wilson of AC Reynolds. Then there is Ashley Wala of Butler who has improved by a foot since last outdoor season. Anything over 11-00 would be a new personal best for all of these girls.
Boys Pole Vault
Two guys who were somewhat in the shadows last year due to Scott Houston’s incredible vaulting will take center stage on Saturday. These two have both qualified and competed for nationals and have plenty of experience in vaulting. Steven Hodapp of Butler got the better of Aaron Zakula at the Eastern HS Challenge, but Aaron obviously will want revenge. They are separated by a mere 2 inches, so look for an exciting competition here.
Girls Long Jump
West Charlotte’s Nyosha Bryant is the top seed with a jump of 18-03. She hasn’t gotten back to the same distances she was jumping last year, but I’m sure it could happen at anytime with this incredible athlete. Alexis Hall of Page is the 2nd seed and will look to better her 17-09 mark. Again, Butler has one of the top seeds in Arielle Ratchford at 17-05 and will need major points. Don’t count out the former state indoor champion, Chrishawn Williams of SE Raleigh.
Boys Long Jump
I’m sure this event will get the crowd clapping as Lincoln Carr of Pinecrest seems to feed off the crowd. He has the best jump coming in of 23-03 and has been out past 24’ in his career. The Samuels brothers, Jarrett and Joseph of Vance, are out to pull the upset as they are seeded 2nd and 3rd with jumps of over 22 feet.
Girls Triple Jump
Chrishawn Williams will be looking for another state title here and she is the favorite coming in. She got out to 38-3.25 at Virginia Tech, but close on her heels is Jazie Daniels of Page with a mark of 37-3.25. There are 8 girls out past the 35 foot mark, so this could be a great event.
Boys Triple Jump
Once again, if you hear rhythm clapping, look over the boy’s runway. There’s a good chance Lincoln Carr of Pinecrest is getting ready to jump. Lincoln jumped 48-10.25 at Chapel Hill last weekend and would love to reach 50 feet for the first time. SE Raleigh, in their attemp to beat New Bern in the team competition, will have to have Steven Bell and Jalen Holt hold onto to their 2nd and 3rd seeds.
Girls Shot Put
Aslynn Halvorson of Butler has been near the top for a while now and knows how to deliver. Butler will also need Clair Watkins to step up and nab the 2nd spot where she is seeded. These two girls are about 2 and about 4 feet further than their nearest competition, so look for them to go 1, 2.
Boys Shot Put
With 8 guys in the shot put, this competition should move quickly. Let’s hope they are able to rest between throws so someone can reach that 50-foot mark. Jordan Pineda of Watauga and Ashton Anglin-Stone of Garner are tied for the top seed with throws of 49-01.50. Not far behind them is Butler’s Nick Sansotta who comes in with a toss of 48-09.