The Hobbton High School track and field team had a historic visit to the 1A State Championships in Greensboro Friday. Last year all eyes were on Samson Bradsher as he was the lone competitor from Hobbton to qualify but this year Hobbton had 10 athletes qualify in 9 events. In all the Men ended up finishing 17th best in the state behind yet another dominating performance by Samson Bradsher while the women, who had six first time qualifiers finished 48th overall.
Last year, Samson was the underdog in the Men’s Shot Put and pulled off the upset to beat Jacob Whitaker from Andrews High School. This year, Jacob bested Samson’s throw of 51’ was good enough for 2nd place. Coach Klaves said, “The expectation was to win but Samson was bested by a great athlete in Jacob. The rivalry between these two will continue into their college years, so round 1 went to Samson, round 2 goes to Jacob.” And that rivalry continued into the Men’s discus. Samson asserted himself as defending state champion by taking control and becoming the first athlete to throw over 150’ in the competition. The mark, 151’5”, was the 2nd best mark in his career but Jacob Whitaker from Andrews would once again respond. Using Samson’s mark as motivation, Jacob threw a 151”9”, bested Samson’s mark by only 4 inches! And, that’s would turn out to be the difference as they both were the class of the field and finished 1-2 again. “The emotion of the discus competition will never be matched. Personally there is heartache as Samson had eyes on defending but hats off to Jacob Whitaker for preparing just as hard for the moment as Samson did. I look forward to seeing these two battle it out for another 4 years at the college level.”
But this year, it was about more than just Samson, Hobbton brought a bus.
Competing alongside Samson, was his teammate, Bradley Gurrola, a first time state qualifier who embraced the pressure and came out with his 2nd best performance of his career. Bradley threw over 100’ and placed 14th overall in the state (105’7”).
Nina Devone, Hobbton’s first female competitor, started her day by throwing 85’3”in the Discus to place 11th overall. “Our first goal was to make finals (top 9 athletes would get three more attempts to better their mark) because we knew with 3 more throws Nina would keep gaining experience and taking in the moment.” Nina used the placing in the Discus as motivation in her 2nd event, the Women’s Shot, which was had a more competitive field than the Discus! Nina’s best mark in prelims was a personal best 32’2.75” which would place her 10th overall. She missed finals by just a HALF OF AN INCH as 9th was 32’3.25”.
In the 800 M sprint was Hobbton’s first distance qualifier in school history, Abraheem Alwahishi. Klaves said, “With 16 competitors in one heat, Abraheem got caught up in traffic; however, he made some timely moves to keep from getting boxed in. After coming through the first lap in 11th, he used the open real estate on the track to move up on the pack. A huge kick allowed him to not only pass some athletes but hold off some surging runners trying to take his place. Overall his finished 9th place with a new school record and personal best time of 2:07.32. A gutsy performance that he will used to get out faster next year.”
Next up on the track was Josh Polk, a freshman, that had a chance to prove his conference win was no fluke in the 200 M dash just a week ago. “Josh got out a little slow on the curve but came on like a whirlwind to place 3rd overall in his heat. Overall he would place 11th in the competition and will definitely use this race experience next year to be better prepared for the moment. The sky is the limit for him and I look for him to come back with a vengeance next year.”
In the 3200 M (2 Miles), Ashley Hinterleiter ran the first mile in 6:24, just 7 seconds off her personal best time in the one mile! In a hard fought run, trying to make multiple moves to get back in the race, she managed 8th overall and was the first Wildcat to score points for the day and moved the Lady Wildcats to 34th statewide out of 101 eligible schools. “Ashley is the strongest athlete I have on the team. Another year to train and prepare will leave her podium chasing next year.”
Last but not least, the women’s 4×400 relay of Brittany Rodriguez, Janet Thompson, Denise Lamb and Larsheia Simmons has their turn to take on the state. Brittany had the first leg and set the tone with a 69 second 400 M split, the best in her career. Janet Thomson, who always seems to do something special with the baton, flats out runs and shows no fear with a 69 second leg. Denise Lamb ran the third leg in 71 seconds and gave the anchor leg, Larsheia a chance to finish in the upper half of the heat. Larsheia took the baton with confidence and go out great the first 100m’s. Coming around the final curve, she looked like a season sprinter powerfully sprinting down the track and ran a 66 second split, the fastest on the day for the team. In the end, the 4x400m’s time of 4:35 SMASHED the school record time of 4:43 set just a week ago at the Regional Meet. Overall the time was good enough for 13th in the state.