Student athletes from Sampson County took home some hardware at the 2018 State Championship for track and field, which concluded this past weekend. Held at North Carolina A&T, it was pushed back to Sunday due to weather.
To no surprise, one of the strongest track teams in the county, the Hobbton Wildcats, had athletes competing in the championship. Hobbton sent 11 men and women to the state competition.
They were defending state sprinter Josh Polk, as well as teammates Victor Aguirre, Xavier McLamb, Donnie Davis, Lakelyn Bass, Janet Thompson, India Alston, Adriana Montes, Denisse Sada-Romero, Alexis Morrisey and Shalaya Bell. Needless to say, with this many athletes someone was likely to earn some medals, and the Wildcats did not disappoint.
As expected from one of the greatest track stars in the history of Hobbton, defending champion Polk did just that — again defending his title. Running in both the 100- and 200-meter dash, he demonstrated why he was the champion. Polk finished first in both races with respective times of 10.9 and 21.9, becoming state champion once again. Polk added a couple more medals, while also earning the distinction of Most Valuable Athlete of the state meet.
He wasn’t the only Wildcat to become a champion that day as Bass garnered some hardware and prestige of her own. Placing first in the pole vault, she took home state champion honors along with Polk. While she placed first she also achieved another milestone by tying the 1A state record. She also competed in the long and triple jump event, placing fourth in both events.
While there were plenty other Wildcats competing in events all over the state championship, none were able to reach the podium. However, Aguirre placed fifth in the 800-meter dash with a preliminary run time of 2:04.
The Lakewood Leopards had their share of players make it to state. While none graced the podium with Hobbton, they still competed well, sending eight to compete at the top level while garnering top 10 finishers in the long jump, triple jump and high jump.
Lakewood sent Chandler Ray, Keith Hair and Luke Brewen for men, along with Genesis Santiago, Lorin Sessons, Rochema Anderson, Majesty Boykin and Michaela McPhail on the women’s side.
Ray took part in high, long and triple jump, earning a solid score in all three. For the high jump, he recorded 5 feet, 10 inches; in the long jump, he tallied 18 feet, 7.5 inches; and in the triple, he managed 36 feet, 7 inches. Hair competed in the pole vault for the Leopards, where he recorded a jump of 9 feet. Brewen rounded out the men’s performance in shotput where he threw a distance of 41 feet, 5 inches.
For the women, McPhail was the only Lady Leopard taking part in the high jump, she cleared 4 feet, 9 inches. The 4×400 relay team finished with a time of 4:47.41.
Union High School wasn’t left out of the 1A States Championship as they sent a few players of their own to compete.
While no women were able to represent the red and white, on the men’s side of competition the Spartans sent Elijah McKoy, Jahiem Murphy, Emari Carter, Bennie Fredrick and David Moore.
McKoy ran in the 100m and 200m events with the eventual state champion Polk. While Polk won both, McKoy still ran well. For the 100, he finished with a time of 11.1 and in the 200, his time was 23.2. Murphy was the only Spartan representing the discus throw, recording a mark of 104 feet, 11.5 inches.
Carter, Fredrick, McKoy and Moore ended their day at state by running together in the 4×200 relay, tallying a 1:33.53 time.
The Clinton Dark Horses were the only local team competing in the 2A portion of the championship.
While they only took part in a couple events, they had four player to make it the competition itself. Those runners were seniors Greg Monk, Jarod Parker and Kade Sutton and freshman Spencer Westerbeek. The four of them ran in the 4×800 relay, where they performed rather well.
Finishing fifth with a time of 8:23, the team beat their own school record time. Monk also ran in the open 800m, placing 15 out of 16 runners with a time of 2:09.
Reach Michael Hardison at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.