North Carolina Athletes Run Strong at Virginia Tech

In all the justified hoopla over the girls' 1000 state record changing hands twice on Saturday, it might have been easy to miss out on the fact that we came within 0.28 seconds of seeing the BOYS 1000 record broken, as well! Vincent Crisp (North Mecklenburg) ran 2:28.32 US #7 NC #2 All-Time to lead many strong performances by North Carolina athletes at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Crisp wasn't the only male distance runner to have a good day. Henry Pehr (Green Hope) finished 5th in the Invitational Mile running 4:23.39 NC #3, and Zachary Marchinko (Jesse Carson) duplicated that ranking with a 9:38.56 NC #3 in the 3200. On the girls' side, in addition to her then-All-Time State Record of 2:53.23 in the 1000 NC #2 US #12 NC #2 All-Time, Malia Ellington (Community School of Davidson) also won the Invitational Mile in 5:00.95 NC #2 US #16. Green Hope's girls ran 9:46.40 NC #3 for the 4x800 on Friday night.

North Carolina sprinters also fared well in Blacksburg, led by McKinley McNeill's 1:14.04 win in the 500. The Parkland junior improved her season best, and now ranks NC #1 US #2 NC #3 All-Time. McNeill also helped Parkland's girls move up to NC #1 US #3 1:39.49 in the 4x200, a race in which they actually beat the #2 team in the country, Nansemond River (VA). Gabriele Cunningham (Mallard Creek) also had a fantastic meet, winning the 55 Hurdles in 8.07 NC #3 US #11 NC #11 All-Time and finishing second in the 55 Dash with a mark of 7.04 NC #2 US #10 NC #12 All-Time.

North Mecklenburg's boys took over the state lead in the 4x200 by clocking 1:32.22 NC #5 All-Time, then the Vikings doubled back with a 3:27.03 4x400 that puts them at NC #1 for the season. Jawan Miller (Z.B. Vance) was the only North Carolina male to make the finals of either the 55 Dash or Hurdles, as he ran 6.46 in the prelims.

Though NC's participation in the field events was pretty thin, there were some noteworthy performances. Continuing his streak of big jumps, Keon Howe (Mallard Creek) finished in a three-way tie at 6' 8" that included US #1 Grant Holloway (Howe finished 2nd on misses). Nicole Lawson (Hopewell) and Nateja Hale (Parkland) both had season bests in the triple jump: 38' 3.5" NC #2 US #22 and 38' 1.25" NC #3, respectively. Finally, Alycia Springs (Mallard Creek) won the shot put, though her best mark of 42' 4" was below her season best.