With nearly a dozen girls entered in multiple events, the Nation Ford Falcons girls track team brought home a third place finish in the 5A state track meet Saturday.
Led by their 4x100-relay team made up of Camryn Lorick, Haley Bishop, Jasmine Hope and Angelnique Bryant, which set a new state record in winning the event in 46.20, the Falcons gave challengers Wando and Hillcrest a handful to worry about throughout the day. However, Wando won both the boys and girls 5A state meets to claim the state title.
“They knew they were going to have to fight for every point,” said Nation Ford head coach Christopher Ross. “I am proud of them.”
Bryant, the lone senior on the 4x100 team, said the girls set their sights on winning a state title. Bryant was the fourth leg of the race and brought the title home in the final stretch.
“I knew it would be a challenge because that third leg was really close,” she said.
Nation Ford came away with 56.5 points, compared to Hillcrest’s 70 points at second place and Wando’s 73 points in first. In a race that close between teams every point counts. That was never more clear than in the 1,600-meter race. The Falcons’ Katie Pou was leading the race after three of the four laps, but was tripped in the third turn on the final lap and ended up finishing eighth after falling hard to the track.
“That’s state,” Ross said. “Anything can happen.”
The Rock Hill and Clover girls’ teams also finished in the top 10 in points. The Bearcats finished fifth with 32 points and the Blue Eagles was seventh with 29 points.
The 4x100 team for Nation Ford wasn’t the only state champions to come from York County. Northwestern senior Victoria Wilform won the high jump clearing 5 feet, 6 inches, which was lower than her personal best.
“I knew I had to get it if I wanted to win,” she said.
Despite not fielding an event winner, the Northwestern boys’ team finished fifth in the state with 45 points. The Northwestern girls’ team finished 10th overall with 25 points.
Besides Northwestern’s winner, there was only one other 5A winner from York County. Fort Mill senior Jessica Brewer won the 5A pole vault for the second consecutive year clearing 12 feet, but missing out on a new personal record. The Fort Mill girls’ team finished 11th overall with 24 points. Brewer had set her mind on clearing 12 feet in the meet.
“That was my main goal,” Brewer said. “I have worked so hard. I was really happy with myself.”
In the 4A meet, York sophomore Lauren Childers won the 800-meters in 2:19.78. She was the only local state champion in the 4A classification.
The 3A meet also had local winners from Lancaster County in the Indian Land Warriors as they brought home two state titles. In the girls’ 400-meters, Indian Land sophomore Leah Henry, who is originally from France, won with a new personal record of 58.90.
“I just tried to breath and focus on my run,” she said.
The other Indian Land winner was junior Marlin Davis, who won the boys’ 200-meters in 21.64. Davis said he prefers running the 100-meters, which he finished second in as well.
“The 200 is obviously longer, so I am able to pick up more speed,” he said.
The Indian Land girls’ finished fifth overall and the boys finished sixth in the 3A state meet.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM