Hobbton leads county in track and field state qualifiers

Samson Bradsher warms up for a Discus throw in practice this week. (David Johnson/Sampson Independent)

The Hobbton High School track and field program will finish the year on a high note as 10 student-athletes qualified in 9 different events and will be participating at the NCHSAA 1A State Championships at NC A&T in Greensboro, NC on May 15th. These athletes earned qualification placing in the top 4 in the respective events. Hobbton’s defending 1A State Champion in the Men’s Shot Put and Discus led the way in record breaking fashion as Samson Bradsher broke his own 1A Mideast Regional Shot Put record by nearly 4 feet with a personal best throw of 53 feet, 7 inches. Shortly after, Samson won the Men’s Discus with a throw of 142’8.5”. Best of all, Samson would not be the only thrower to qualify for the Wildcats this year as both another male, Bradley Gurrola, and a female, Nina Devone will represent the Hobbton High School Throwing Crew as well! Bradley, competing alongside his teammate Samson earned qualification by throwing over 100 feet for the first time in his career with a heave of 108’2” to place 4th, automatically qualifying him for the state meet.

On the Women’s side, 1st year thrower Nina Devone continues to improve as she had throws of 90 feet twice for the first time in her career. Her best throw of 95’3” helped her not only advance to the State meet but win the competition and become the 1A Mideast Regional Championship. Coach Klaves was quoted, “The throwers took advantage of the conditions, not because they were ideal but because it was raining lightly and they were prepared to throw in the rain.” Devone followed up her qualification in the Women’s Discus with a 4th place finish in the shot put (31’10.5”) to earn a trip to the state meet in her 2nd event of the day. “Nina has come so far in just a year!”

On the track, Abraheem Alwahishi became the first Hobbton distance runner to earn qualification to the state meet with his 3rd place finish in the Men’s 800 M run with a time of 2:08.01. “Abraheem is a gutsy runner and went for it today. He has waited a long time for this moment and has worked hard to be here. I am glad to see him moving on.” Next was a chance for a freshman to make his mark and establish himself within the Hobbton Track and Field program.

Josh Polk was entered in the 200 M Dash after a convincing win at the conference championship meet just last week. “Josh surprised everyone last week with his dominating performance in the Men’s 200m Dash where he became the Carolina 1A Conference Champion in that event. If runs that way again, we expect him to qualify for the state meet.” And, qualify he did! Josh finished 3rd place overall into a nasty head win with a time of 24.46. “Josh has seized the moment and step-ups in big moments. I expect nothing but the same at the state meet.”

To finish the day were the 4x400m Relays. The women set the tone with a performance that broke the existing school record by over 11 seconds! To lead off the record breaking performance, Brittany Rodriguez ran a 70 second split, followed up by her freshman teammate, Janet Thompson who ran a 72 second split. Next, Janet would hand the relay baton off to Denise Lamb, another freshman, who ran a 71 second split. Lastly, “the anchor” Larsheia Simmons held her own amongst some of the top athletes in the meet with a 68 second split to help the Lady Wildcats run a team time of 4:43, which was good for 3rd place. “Impressively the ladies took control and put themselves in 3rd place at the first exchange. They never looked back from there. With such a young team to understand the moment and run faster than they ever have collectively is an inspiring feat.” This the first relay Hobbton has qualified under Coach Klaves’ tenure and all of these ladies will be back next year.”

Coach Klaves said, “I am so proud of these 10 individual athletes coming together to qualify in 9 events. We truly overcame adversity and we have waited for a chance to compete against the state’s best. To go along with these qualifiers we had SO MANY near misses that it hurts to see those that came up just short. A huge shout-out to Raekwon Bryant for putting everything on the line. Raekwon split a 52 second 400 M split in the Men’s 4x400m Relay that finished 5th place… just missing top 4 to qualify and move on. But, we fail for a reason! Those student-athletes are already talking about what they want to do this summer, next year and beyond. Another exciting point about these qualifiers is the only senior is Samson.”