Pack track soars past Eagles; Grice looks golden

Published 6:20 pm Friday, April 18, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
The perfect season continues.
On Thursday, Washington’s boys’ track team wrapped up its regular season schedule with a 121-24 victory over West Craven to finish the season 10-0.
But the Pam Pack has more than an undefeated record on its mind. It’s thinking championship. A conference championship, and a state championship.
In its final tune-up, the Pam Pack was particularly focused on getting as many athletes as possible qualified for regionals. With a dozen or so athletes already qualified, the Pam Pack got three more individuals, and another relay team into the regional meet.
Dakuan Spencer won both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdle events, qualfying in the 300-meter hurdles, while Mike Moore finished second in both events, also posting a regional qualifying time in the 300-meter hurdles.
Melvin Spruill also qualified for regionals in the regular season finale, postng a season-best time to win the 400-meter dash.
Washington’s relay teams turned in their top performances of the season, winning all four relay events. The 4×100 relay team of Travis Daniels, Jamont Jones, Tony Turnage, and Darius Sneed, led the way, turning in a regional qualifying time.
The Pam Pack won 14 of 17 events to topple the Eagles.
The Pam Pack’s other winners were Travis Daniels (long jump), Larees Griffin (triple jump), James Hamblin (1,600-meter run), Thomas Sutton (800-meter run), Jamont Jones (200-meter run), Charlie Holtzclaw (3,200-meter run) and Chase Tripp (shot put).
The Lady Pack also had a terrific day in the finale.
Behind great individual performances from Jessica Rogers, Vantasia Palmer, and Sharita Grice, Washington powered past West Craven, 86-49.
Rogers won the 800-meter and 1,600 meter runs, and was also part of the 4×400-meter and 4×800-meter winning relay teams. Palmer was also part of the 4×400-meter team and was victorious in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Grice won the discus and shot put throws.
Two other picked up victories for the Pam Pack. Haley Hiatt was the winner in the high jump and also teamed with Rogers, Palmer, and Elizabeth Tanner to win the 4×400-meter relay event. Felicia Hammons won the 3,200-meter run and teamed with Rogers, Tanner, and Hiatt on the winning 4×800-meter relay team.
The Coastal 8 Conference Championship Meet will take place next Thursday in New Bern.
Washington star seeks new record
Sports Writer
Records drive Sharita Grice.
The Washington High School junior has already shattered the school record in the discus throw this season, tossing the one-kilo disc 128’6” to break the old school record by more than 15-feet.
Now, she’s got another record on her mind. The North Carolina 3A State Championship Meet record: 127-feet, 8-inches, set by Concord’s Candra Gayle in 1989.
Washington coach Jon Blank can see the determination in his young thrower’s eyes.
Ever since she stepped into the throwing circle three years ago, she’s been a success. In only her second varsity track meet two years ago, the strong-armed thrower tossed the discus more than 90-feet to qualify for the regional meet.
Grice has added more than 10-feet to her throws this season, due in large part to her increased focus and intense training. Almost daily, Grice wonders out to the circle before school to get in a few throws, then attends Pam Pack’s afternoon practice session.
Last season, West Craven’s Vicki Mitchell — a two-time state champion in the discus — eclipsed Grice at the conference, regional, and state championships. But with the former Eagles’ star now throwing in college, the path is clear for Grice to be North Carolina’s next great thrower.
While a record would be nice, Blank feels that if Grice can maintain her focus and throw the disc at least 125-feet at the May 16th NCHSAA 3A State Championships in Greensboro, she’ll be wearing gold around her neck.
Next Thursday, the championship meets get under way, beginning with the Coastal 8 Conference Championship in New Bern. And Grice plans to be ready.