Southeast Raleigh would come into the New Balance Indoor National Championships at US#2 with their 1:27.87 from the NCHSAA 4A Indoor State Championships.
They'd have to qualify for a two heat, 8 team final on Saturday for a shot at the national title on Sunday. That didn't go without a major scare.
Their relay team of Christian Ruffin, Romell McRae, Brian Williams and Isaiah Chapman were able to win their heat in the most difficult of ways.
Ruffin got them to the lead through the first exchange. McRae would break stumble around the turn looking like he stepped on the rail almost going off the track. He would still be able to hand off to Williams in the lead.
Williams had a strong 3rd leg and was able to hold onto the lead, but Western Branch was coming.
Chapman would lose the lead to Western Branch coming off the first turn. As he tried to make a move wide Western Branch looked to move out wide off the final turn and the two went down. Chapman would get back up in a hurry and sprint to the line in 1:29.47. Not a bad time with a 24.32 anchor split!
This would place them in section 1 of two as the Bulldogs were the 5th fastest qualifiers out of the prelims.
This would pair them up against NCHSAA 4A rival Reagan who have been battling all year long. The Bulldogs would bring in Eric Haddock for the finals to run on the third leg, but the rest would be in the same order.
Southeast Raleigh would be in lane 5 with Reagan on their right in lane 6. The two handed off 1-2 ahead of lanes 3 and 4 and Southeast Raleigh would beat them to the break.
On the second leg McRae opened the lead up over Reagan on the homestretch and Haddock would get the stick with solid distance on the field.
With a clean final exchange from Haddock to Chapman the Bulldogs would set the standard at 1:28.08 for the final section to beat. Reagan had fallen back to third, but as we've seen him do all year, DJ Moyer threw down a monster anchor leg to bring the Raiders home in 1:29.03 for 2nd place.
Being in the second section would be a blessing in disguise for both Southeast Raleigh and Reagan. The final section would be full with a lot of tight handoffs and contact as teams battled back and forth.
Central Dauphin East would come out on top of the second section, but the time would not be faster than any of the top 3 from section 1 crowning Southeast Raleigh as the national champions and Reagan as the National Runners-Up!
Reagan boys won the 2018 Outdoor 4x200m National Title and now Southeast Raleigh won the 2019 Indoor 4x200m title. It's starting to look like the event runs through NC.
Of the 5 boys for Southeast Raleigh they return 3 of 5 with both Chapman and Haddock being seniors. Reagan boys only graduate Mashion Powell of their runner-up squad.