As good as gold

Published 7:02 pm Monday, May 6, 2013

Southside track and field athlets (from left) LeeVonte Grimes, Isiah Moore, Aaron Jones, Cole Kellum and Deandria Purdue have all qualified from Friday’s NCHSAA 1-A state track and field meet. (Photo Courtesy of SHS)

Southside track and field athletes (from left) LeeVonte Grimes, Isiah Moore, Aaron Jones, Cole Kellum and Deandria Purdue have all qualified for NCHSAA 1-A state track and field meet. (Photo Courtesy of SHS)

Southside and Riverside’s track and field success continued at the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional meet at Camp Lejeune on Saturday as the Seahawks advanced to the state meet in four events, while the Knights moved on in seven.
Overall, the two schools combined for three regional championships as Southside’s LeeVonte Grimes, Cole Kellum, Aaron Jones and Isaiah Moore earned gold in the 4×400-meter relay and the Seahawks’ DeAndria Purdue took first in the shot put, while Riverside’s Jesse Anne Rogers was tops in the discus.
The combo of Kellum, Jones, Moore and Grimes has been a sensational one for the Seahawks this season and Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said he liked the way they battled at the meet.
“It was their second-best time of the year and they missed their best time by six-one hundredths of a second,” Kellum said. “The guys stepped up. It rained a lot there and they did a great job and got a gold together.”
Rogers also stepped up on the big stage as she put forth her best effort of the season to grab gold.
“Jesse placed first and threw her best in the discus with 107 feet to move on to the state meet,” Riverside coach Mark Cagle said.
Overall, it was a good meet for the Knights. On the girls’ side, they took second in the 800-meter run (Alex Hardison), 300-meter hurdles (Hannah Copeland) and the 4×800-meter relay (Copeland, Chesson Ward, Hardison and Ann Marie Manning), while placing fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (Kiara Green).
On the boys’ side, Riverside’s 4×800 team of Jonathan Price, Hunter Meban, Lenny Sanchez and Adam Parker placed second to advance, while James earned bronze in the shot put.
“I think they did excellent. We exceeded expectations in all areas,” Cagle said. “The team has worked exceptionally hard this year and is one of the best groups I’ve ever coached as far as having the desire to prepare to win. We went into the season with the concept that good is the enemy of great and that’s how we faced all our practices and meets.”
Aside from the 4×400, Southside also advanced 800-meter run and high jump. Jones sped his way to a second-place finish in the 800, while Moore won silver in a hotly contested high jump competition.
“Aaron has come a long way. He started out last year showing a lot of immaturity like a sophomore does but he’s progressed this year and has really stepped up. He’s gotten serious and it’s showed in his performances,” Kellum said. “Is iah tied for second in the high jump then they had jump off and he ended up in third place to get the bronze. To go out there and battle the wind and better your best jump by two inches shows he’s a competitor.”
Battling a back injury, the Seahawks’ Kellum fell just short of advancing in the triple jump and 400-meter dash, placing fifth in both.
The Seahawks also got a gutsy performance from Katie Laughinghouse, who held a lead in the 300-meter hurdles before having a slip up. Despite that, Laughtinghuse finished the race strong.
“I felt bad for her,” Kellum said. “But she’s an athlete and she’ll come back next year and be strong.”