Pack boys place second in conference meet
By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
NEW BERN - Pam Pack Coach Jon Blank was beaming from ear-to-ear following Thursday’s Coastal 3A/4A Conference Track Championships.
Even the sight of the team’s bus hooked to a tow truck after sliding off into the mud, couldn’t diminish the delightful look on the Washington coach’s face.
Although the Pam Pack boys were edged out for the overall conference title by two-time defending 4A state champs New Bern, Blank couldn’t help but feel like a champion.
New Bern won 10-of-18 events on the boys’ side to earn their fifth straight conference title. The Bears amassed 187 team points, while Washington came in second with 104, followed by J.H. Rose (92), Havelock (84), West Carteret (65), South Central (51), West Craven (49) and D.H. Conley (36).
Washington junior Chase Tripp was one of the biggest surprises Thursday afternoon. The Pam Pack thrower was the lone individual winner for Washington, as he tossed the discus a personal record 127’ 7” to win the conference crown. He also established a new career-best in the shot put as he tossed the shot 43’ 6” to place second.
The Pam Pack boys picked up another championship in the final event of the day.
Running together for only the second time all year, the 4×400-meter relay team of Jamont Jones, Melvin Spruill, Keenan O’Brien, and Darien Peele shocked the world when they ran a time of 3:31 to win the event. Before Thursday, the relay team wasn’t even qualified for regionals.
Raheam Patterson, Travis Daniels, Jones, and Peele also placed second in the 4×200-meter relay.
Jones added a third place finish in the 200-meter run, while Spruill ran a season-best time of 51.28 in the 400-meter run to place third. Travis Daniels also picked up a bronze medal by finishing third in the triple jump, while Dakuan Spencer placed third in the 300-meter hurdles.
Also scoring for the Pam Pack were Amiar Johnson (4th in the shot put), Forrest Latham (4th in the discus), Daniels (4th in the long jump), Spencer (6th in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump), Mike Moore (7th in the 110-meter hurdles, 8th in the 300-meter hurdles and 8th in the high jump), Mike Godley (7th in high jump and 8th in 300-meter hurdles), Jarees Griffin (8th in the triple jump), Peele (8th in the 400-meter run), and Raheam Patterson (7th in the 200-meter sprint). The 4×800-meter relay team (O’Brien, Thomas Sutton, C.J. Wise and Leonard Corey) and the 4×100 team (Tony Turnage, Daniels, Jones, and Peele) each placed fifth.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Pam Pack improved upon their eighth place finish from a year ago, to earn a surprising fourth place finish.
South Central won the girls’ title with 137 points, followed by Havelock (118.5), J.H. Rose (114.5), Washington (78), New Bern (74), West Carteret (58), West Craven (58) and D.H. Conley (28).
The Lady Pam Pack was led by a pair of throwers.
Sharita Grice had a self-proclaimed off-day, but still tossed the discus 100’6” to win her first conference championship, while Samantha Smith threw the shot put 33’7” to win the Coastal 8 crown.
The shot put title was also the first conference championship of Smith’s career.
Grice also turned in a bronze-winning performance in the shot put with a toss of 32’10”, while Smith won bronze in the 110-meter hurdles.
Jessica Rogers (1,600-meter run), Vantasia Palmer (300-meter hurdles) and the 4×400-meter relay team of Rogers, Palmer, Elizabeth Tanner, and Felicia Hammons all finished third as well.
Also scoring for Washington were Rogers (7th in the 800-meter run), Hammons (6th in the 3,200-meter run) and Kiki Bailey (8th in the 400-meter dash). The Pam Pack’s 4×800-meter team (Rogers, Hammons, Tanner, and Felicia Pope) finished fifth, while the 4×100-meter team (Palmer, Pope, Bailey and Mercedes Ellegor) placed fourth.
Washington will be back in action next week when they host a tri-meet against Rose and Conley. It’s the final tune-up before the East Region Meet on May 10th in Rocky Mount. The Pack will send more than 20 athletes to the East Region Championships. And coach Blank hopes for a repeat performance in a couple of weeks.