Pack finish fifth at state championships

Published 1:22 pm Monday, May 12, 2014





Washington Daily News


GREENSBORO – A medley of Pam Pack track and field athletes competed in the NCHSAA Class 2-A State Championships early Saturday morning, returning to Washington with an unprecedented fifth-place finish and an individual state champion.

Entering the meet, head coach Jon Blank and his runners certainly didn’t lack confidence following a second-place finish at regionals and the team’s first Eastern Plains Conference Championship. With 12 athletes taking part in states, he knew his team had a shot at placing.

At the end of the day, Washington posted 34 points, while powerhouse North Brunswick took first with a score of 57.5. Carver came in second with 50 points, Forest Hills third with 42 and Hugh M. Cummings fourth with 38.

The facilitator behind the Pam Pack’s success this weekend was junior sprinter Stepfon Rodman, the 400-meter regional champion and one of Blank’s top performers this season. After notching a time of 49.05, almost a full second better than the second-place sprinter, Rodman was donned the individual state champion in the event, also taking National Elite Silver Standard honors.

Another key contributor to the Pam Pack’s finish was junior Markel Spencer, who finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.16, just .28 of a second behind Carver’s Brian Sessoms. Spencer also placed fourth in the 100-meter dash.

Expectations were high entering Saturday for Stevie Green. The senior qualified for both the 110-meter hurdles and the high jump with impressive marks at the regional meet. At states, Green finished fourth in the high jump, posting a height of six feet, three inches. A time of 16.66 earned Green an eighth-place finish in the hurdles as well.

Other Pam Pack athletes who placed were distance runner Victor Santos in the 3200-meter run with a 15th place finish and junior Javon Whitney in the long jump with a seventh-place finish.

For Blank, it’s the relay teams that have been the foundation behind his team’s success this season, success that translated to the Greensboro track. The 4×100 relay team, consisting of Spencer, Jarquez Keyes, Wante Smallwood and Karim Topping, took part in what was likely the most exciting race that day. In a photo finish, the top four teams in the event – Carver, Forest Hills, North Brunswick and Washington – crossed the finish line at virtually the same time, separated by the slimmest of margins. Washington, however, finished in fourth with a time of 43.15, while Carver took first with a 43.08 mark.

Blank’s other relay team, the 4×400, consisting of Rodman, Daniel Maultsby, Suashawn Poe and Myron Brooks, ended in sixth place.