PC Boys Win SEC Track Title
The excitement of the final event, the 1,600-meter relay, is off the charts when the team championship is on the line.
The Pinecrest boys found themselves in that situation at the Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships that concluded on Wednesday. The Patriot quartet of Michael Warren, Ian Paran, Kwanza Ramsey and Joey Tapia finished third, making the home team winners by three points over defending champion Scotland County.
The girls’ competition was also close with Scotland County unseating the Pinecrest girls as champions. Landon Sherwood and Jennie Cunningham each won three individual events for the Patriots and Sherwood was named the Conference Male Runner of the Year.
The Patriot boys took a seven-point lead over the Scots when Sherwood, Will Proulx, Chris Kelly and Mathew Harmody grabbed the first four places in the 3,200-meter run, the second to last event of the meet. The Scots were heavy favorites in the 1,600 relay, but based on seed times, the next four places were up for grabs. The Patriots needed to finish no lower than fourth to win the title.
The baton exchanges were good and the Patriot team knocked almost eight seconds off its time in last week’s tri-meet, finishing third behind Scotland and Hoke County.
The Patriot anchor, Joey Tapia, ran the 400 for the first time at last week’s tri-meet. Ramsey helped set things up with a blazing second leg.
“Coach has always said I was a 400 runner, but I didn’t really know,” Tapia said. “They threw me in one last Thursday and I did well. Down the stretch I felt good. I knew we had to finish in the top three to most likely win it.”
“That’s what brothers are for,” Ramsey chimed in. “That’s what team work is for, man.”
Sherwood, a senior, led the perennial Patriot domination of the distance events. He accounted for a meet-high 32.5 points with his wins in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs along with being a part of the first place 3,200-meter relay team.
George Hayes, Paran, Jay Harris and Brandon Stonesifer gave the Patriots all of the points in the pole vault. Helping the cause with runner-up efforts in their events were Dylan Gaffney (discus), Steven Kennedy (long jump), Warren (400) and Becket Killiam(1,600).
“That was a goal of mine at the beginning of the year,” Sherwood said of the runner of the year honor, “but it was secondary to our winning conference. That was a great accomplishment for everybody on the team.”
A Pinecrest girls’ team that had only two senior contestants also dominated the distance events with Cunningham winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Led by Conference Female Runner of the Year Ariel Gates, who won both sprints and both hurdles, the Scots had a big edge in the short races and field events.
Other firsts for the Pats went to Sarah Pressley, Haley Germain, Katana Lemelin and Katie Hayes (3,200 relay), Kelesy Rea, Christina Stone, Abby Snyder and Breanna Quick (1,600 relay). Runners-up included Quick (100 meter dash), Snyder (300 hurdles), Rea (400) and Rea, Stone, Snyder and Quick (800 relay). Cunningham, Hayden Rudd, Hayes and Mulloy Manning took the first four places in the 3,200.
The East Regional Meet will be held at Pinecrest on May 7.
Team scores – Boys – Pinecrest 175, Scotland 172, Hoke 84, Richmond 54,Lumberton 52, Purnell swett 14; Girls – Scotland 191.5, Pinecrest 172, Lumberton 73.5, Hoke 38, Richmond 32, Purnell Swett 6.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org. com.
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