Northside girls win third straight title
By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — It came down to the final event to decide the boys’ Atlantic/Albemarle Conference Championship.
After 16 events, Southside held a four-point lead over cross-county rival Northside, meaning the winner of the 4×400-meter relay would claim the team title.
When all was said and done, the Southside boys walked away with their fifth title in the last six years as the 4×400 relay team of Chris Godley, Michael Clayton, Nic Moore and Byron Jordan raced across the finish line first, while Northside settled for a fourth place finish in the final event.
In all, the Seahawks won 10 of 17 events. The Seahawks finished with 138 points, followed by Northside (128), Perquimans (66), Williamston (56) and Roanoke (3).
Jordan blazed to victory in both the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter high hurdles. In the 300-meter hurdles he ran a season-best time of 41:06, which is the second fastest hurdle time run by a Group 1A competitor this season.
Southside also got multiple victories from Sam Mullins who won both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. Southside’s other winners included Tony Grice, who tossed the shotput 40’2”; Godley, who ran a personal best time of 52.19 seconds to win the 400-meter dash; and Brandon Cratch, who out-ran the field in the 800-meter run.
Other winners on the boys’ side included Perquimans’ John Chestnut in the shotput, Williamston’s Emery Griggs in the discus, Perquimans’ Jamyrius Miller in the high jump and Ron Harrell in the long jump, Pirates’ star Lamar Whidbee in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter run. Whidbee also teamed with Miller, Doug Frierson and Marcori Ingram to win the 400-meter relay.
Northside placed second despite not having an individual champion. The Panthers’ best finishes came from Charles Speight (discus), Rashem Cooper (triple jump), Alex Cutler (1,600-meter run) and James Cadle (3-200-meter run), who were all runner-ups.
On the girls’ side, Northside claimed their third consecutive conference, after winning the first title in school history in 2006.
Behind strong performances from Katie Bowen, Ashley Crayton Elizabeth Harris and Iva Winstead, the Lady Panthers captured the team crown with 130 points. Williamston was the runner-up with 104.5 points, followed by Southside (56), Roanoke (52) and Perquimans (36.5).
Bowen and Clayton each picked up a pair of gold medals for the Panthers as Bowen won the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs, and Clayton was victorious in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Winstead won the high jump, while Harris was the gold medalist in the 3-200 meter run. The Panthers 3,200-meter relay team (Bowen, Harris, Brooke Leigh and Molly Hardison) also came away as champions, as did the 4×400 team of Winstead, Clayton, Leigh, and Bowen.
Other individual victors on the girls’ side were: Southside’s Mary Baker, who recorded career-bests in both the shotput and discus to win conference titles; Tiffany Harrell, the champion of the 200-meter and 400-meter runs; Perquimans’ LaRoya banks in the 100-meter dash, Williamston’s Jamie Spruill in the triple jump, and Roanoke’s Brittany Andrews in the long jump.
With the Atlantic Conference season in the books, all teams must sit and wait to see which athletes will qualify for the East Regional on May 7th. Teams must submit their athletes’ best times of the season to the NCHSAA by May 2. From there, the top-12 competitors from each division will be notified as to whether they made the regional field.