Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Washington’s Markel Spencer heads down the homestretch during the 4x100-meter relay Wednesday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Heading into his team’s season opener Washington track and field coach Jon Blank wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from his young squad, but on Wednesday the Pam Pack gave its coach an encouraging performance as both the boys and girls placed second in the four-team meet.
Defending Coastal Conference champions White Oak swept the meet as it took first in the boys and girls competition, while the Washington boys tallied 70 points to place second and the girls racked up 57 points to do the same and finish ahead of West Craven and Mattamuskeet, respectively.
“This is a young track team this year and I think one of our kids said it best at our post-meet meeting that this meet was a start for us,” Blank said. “But we went out and some of our young kids, and some of our inexperienced kids, really competed today.”
The boys squad grabbed two first-place finishes as senior Jimmy Williams, who is in his first year with the team, ran a 16.7 in the 110-meter hurdles and Tyrik Thigpen ran a 44.6 in the 300-meter hurdles to beat out the competition.
Williams also jumped 20 feet, 10.6 inches in the long jump to place second and teamed up with freshman Markel Spencer, Thomas Blount and James Austin to finish second in the 4×100-meter relay with a regional qualifying time of 43.87.
Stephen Moore earned second in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, nine inches, while Jacquez Columbus hurled the discus 112 feet, four inches to earn silver.
Blank said he was impressed with the performances of newcomers Williams and Spencer, who also placed third in the 100-meter dash as he completed the event in 11.2 seconds.
“I was very surprised that Spencer ran as well as he did today. You don’t ever really have too high of expectations for a freshman but I feel like he can be a special kid out here,” Blank said. “And Jimmy, I mean we knew he was pretty athletic, but we didn’t know he would come out here and compete at such a top level already because of the technical aspects. He did the hurdles and the long jump, which are extremely technical, and ihs technique isn’t even great yet. His still learning how to do it and he almost qualified.”
In the girls’ meet the Pack’s Janell Griffin was dominant as she won the 100-meter hurdles (15.33), 100-meter dash (12.51) and the 200-meter dash (27.3).
“Janell is a senior and she has been a standout for us for four years now. Last year she was a state qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4×100 relay and she’s the leader of our girls’ team. She goes out there and gets it done,” Blank said.