As the weather around North Carolina heats up for the outdoor track & field season, some of #TeamNC's best put on an absolute show at both New Balance and Nike Indoor National Championships this weekend. New Balance was run at The Track in Boston, Massachusetts and Nike was held at The Armory in New York City, NY.
It was an incredible day for the North Carolina senior class, who competed for the final time indoors.
Albemarle's Akala Garrett used her outdoor opener as a tune-up for indoor nationals. It was there she clocked a new state record in the 100m hurdles (12.96). She took to the track at The Armory for Nike Indoor this weekend going for something a little abnormal for the hurdle superstar: a 400m and 60m hurdles double. She ran an indoor personal best in the 400m of 55.32 in the prelims, earning her the top seed for the finals. She built off her preliminary performance and captured her first non-hurdle national title, clocking 54.08. Her time is good for NC No. 4 all-time and US No. 43 all-time. However, she couldn't completely ignore her go-to focus: the hurdles. She had the top time in the preliminary round, semi-final, and final. She saved the best for last, clocking a personal best of 8.25 to win the 60m hurdle national title.
West Henderson's Emma Hall, who is fresh off capturing the NCHSAA 3A Indoor 55mH state title, placed 8th in the 60m hurdle finals, alongside Garrett.
Keeping up the success in the sprints for our home state, Greensboro Day School's Dana Wilson earned a runner-up finish in the 60m dash. She was top two throughout the prelims, semi-finals, and the final.
Ardrey Kell's Raghav Gopalakrishnan led the way for the distance runners for North Carolina at Nike, earning top 10 finishes in both the 1-mile (4:22.45, 9th) and 2-mile (9:09.83, 8th) runs.
New to the top 10 all-time ranks for the outdoor discus, Junior Payton-Kimble (Northeastern) continued his hot streak, earning a 3rd place finish in the shot put competition, throwing a 4-foot personal best of 59-5.75. East Burke's Kenneth Byrd elected to focus on the pole vault for indoor nationals. He placed 4th at Nike, clearing 16-0 for the fourth time this indoor season.
Over at New Balance Indoor in Boston, the Cavaliers of Cuthbertson (running as Carolina Cavaliers) reset the high school record books. The quartet of Alyssa and Justine Preisano, Stella Kermes, and Charlotte Bell have long "talked the talk" of a team-first culture, but this weekend they really "walked the walk" (or ran the run?) of what it means to be truly team-first. They all qualified for (and very well could have won) numerous distance events individually, but they realized the opportunity to go all out in the relays, with this being the lone senior Alyssa's final hurrah. And go all-in they did. 8:48.02 in the 4x800m, giving them the fastest time in high school history! They also took home a national title in the DMR (US No. 7 all-time), and a runner-up finish in the 4xMile (US No. 3 all-time). In the 4x800m, Alyssa Preisano had arguably the greatest race of her life. She anchored home her team with a 2:08.47 split! In the 4xMile and DMR, Kermes had a 1,600m split of 4:52. Also in the DMR, Bell ran 2:10 for the 800m leg.
Just as impressively, the boys of Cuthbertson (running as Carolina Cavaliers) took runner-up in the 4x400m and 11th in the SMR. Their 3:16.27 is NC No. 2 all-time indoors and in the top 20 in high school history.
Jacob Laney (Porter Ridge) barely missed the state record for the indoor 2-mile. He took 10th in a stacked field. His time of 8:53.92 is just off Conner Lane's 8:53.59 from 2017.
Mary Bonner Dalton (Myers Park) erupted in the 5,000m, taking 3rd place overall and running a new NC No. 3 indoors all-time performance of 16:45.97. She is the 4th athlete in state history to break 17:00 indoors, and 6th across indoor and outdoor. Only two athletes, Wesley Frazier and Ryen Frazier, have dipped under 17:00 in both indoor and outdoor.
After finishing runner-up in the 1,000m at the NCHSAA 4A Indoor State Meet, Andrew Burrell (Mount Tabor) took 9th in the 800m at New Balance, running 1:53.28. It is an overall personal best for Burrell, indoors or outdoors. It is also NC No. 6 all-time indoors. His mark must be a strong sign of what is to come during the outdoor season. Only 21 runners in state history have gone under 1:52.00, only 13 under 1:51.00, and five under 1:50.00.
Shawnti Jackson (South Granville) had the fastest prelimary time in the 60m dash, but did not run the rest of the rounds. She also took 5th in the final of the 200m.
To wrap things up, we have not seen JaMeesia Ford (Jack Britt) since AAU Outdoor Nationals, where she won the 200m/400m and took runner-up in the 100m. This past weekend she took 4th in the 200m (23.58).