City-County track: Titans, Spartans, Mustangs earn bragging rights

City-County track: Titans, Spartans, Mustangs earn bragging rights
April 21
00:00 2016
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Walkertown’s Kennedi Gilliam (red) and Karia Wilson of North Forsyth run neck-and-neck in the preliminary round of girls’ 100-meter dash.



On the boys’ side, the Scott Brent Invitational had all the suspense that track and field connoisseurs could hope for. On the girls’ side, though, there wasn’t much doubt about what the final outcome would be. The two-day meet, held last weekend at Mount Tabor, serves as the annual City-County championships.

West Forsyth and Mount Tabor staged a tug-of-war for the boys’ team title. When all the points were tallied, both teams found themselves locked in first-place dead heat with 133 points apiece. According to meet officials, this is the first time since 1972 that teams finished in a first-place tie.

As for the girls’ competition, there wasn’t much intrigue. Parkland (152) won comfortably over challengers Mount Tabor (130) and West Forsyth (128).

West Forsyth’s boys scored over 100 points on the first day of competition by dominating the jumps and the throws. The Titans posted multiple top-three finishes in four of the six field events.

Mount Tabor answered with a strong performance of its own.

The Spartans 4×800 relay (Ian Foley, Michael Moerk, Cameron Ponder and Kenny Kneisel) ran 7 minutes, 51.49 seconds to win in meet-record time. The Spartans further helped their cause with a 1-2-3 sweep in the 1,600-meter run, followed by a 1-3-4 finish in the 3,200-meter run. Mount Tabor continued to add to its total with runner-up finishes in the 4×200 and 4×400, plus a fifth in the 4×100.

“We came back from over 80 points down to tie it,” said coach Patrick Cromwell of Mount Tabor. “It feels like a win. The kids see that when they come together, they can overcome anything – a large deficit. The way this ended shows how competitive our county is.

“This is a huge boost for us. We’re a better regional-state team than we are a local team. We have some nationally ranked kids who will do well at the state level. To be a county champion, you have to have depth, and I think we’ve demonstrated that we do. This [Brent Invitational] is a great jump-start to the rest of our season.”

Coach Jeff Thompson of West Forsyth was not surprised by the wire-to-wire finish. He expected it.

“To be in a meet where both teams score that many points and still end up in a tie is really amazing,” he said. “I knew it would be tight, but I thought it

would be determined by a handful of points. At no time did I ever envision a tie.”

The weeks ahead will most likely be a time of strategic planning for the upcoming Central Piedmont Conference track championships, set for May 3 at Reagan. Given the parity with the Titans and Spartans, Thompson will consider lineup changes in an effort to “squeeze out” points in different events that could give his team a slight edge.

“I’m glad that I have two weeks to come up with a plan,” he said. “We’ll have to find ways to get the maximum out of the resources we have.”

Parkland returned to the City-County meet for the first time in two years. During that time, the Mustangs missed those com-petitions because they competed in the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in California, which was scheduled the same weekend as the Brent Invitational. This year, the West Coast meet was switched to an earlier time of the month, which allowed Parkland to join the field.

There’s no doubt that West Forsyth and Mount Tabor are strong favorites to contend for the team title in CPC track. But with the emergence of Parkland’s boys, the chase for CPC trophy could turn out to be a three-way battle.

On the second day of the Brent, the Mustangs won all three of the sprint relays. Lorenzo Graise, who is headed to East Carolina, pulled off a rare 200/400 double.

Graise won the 400 in convincing fashion with a personal best of 48.74 seconds, which is a new meet record. Ironically, the previous mark was set by Darrell Elliott, who coaches Parkland quarter-milers. Elliott ran 48.84 in the 400 at the 2008 Brent when he ran for Parkland. In the 200, Graise powered his way down the final straightaway to win in 22.19.

“Our guys are very dedicated,” said coach Antwan Hughes of Parkland. “When you’re that dedicated and you give100 percent in practice, you will have success. As for how well Lorenzo ran today, I know they’ve been talking [about Elliott’s record] for quite some time.

“Lorenzo told coach that he was going to break his record. [Running] 48 [seconds] is about where he wants to be at this time of the season. The goal for him is to run in the 47s around the time of the state meet.”

Parkland’s girls placed their personal stamp on the competition by reigning supreme in the sprints and relays. The Mustangs won the 4×100 and 4×200 and were runners-up in the 4×400.

McKinley McNeill, the defending state outdoor champ in the 400, posted victories in the 200 and 400, and she ran on the 4×200 and 4×400. Jahnae Bowman, who anchored Parkland’s 4×100, edged Isis Brooks of East Forsyth at the finish to win the 100-meter dash in 12.66 seconds. Bowman also won the long jump.

Kamani Davis delivered in abundance as a multi-purpose athlete. Davis won the 300-meter hurdles, was second in the 100-meter hurdles, third in the 100, and fourth in the high jump.

“We’re glad to be back,” said coach Antwan Hughes of Parkland. “Everybody was very excited to be here [the Brent]. A lot of our younger athletes had never been to City-County.

“All week long, I told the ladies that in order for us to do well, it couldn’t be a one- or two-person show. Our seniors shouldn’t have to feel that they have to do it on their own. Everybody else around them had to step up and do their job. And they did that. Our freshmen stepped up and they scored in their events. Everybody on this team contributed in some way to help us win this championship. It’s a job that was well done by the ladies.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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