MT boys looking to deliver in CPC championships

MT boys looking to deliver in CPC championships
April 28
04:35 2016

Photo by Craig T. Greenlee

Sophomore Malik Chambers runs on Mount Tabor’s 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams that finished second at the City-County Track Championships.



With less than a month remaining before the state track and field championships, now is the time of year when top performances are expected.

The Mount Tabor boys’ team has aspirations to rise to the top at the regional and state levels. But first, the Spartans must prevail in their own league, the Central Piedmont Conference. Bagging the CPC crown won’t be easy. Coach Patrick Cromwell expects a  three-way battles between the Spartans, West Forsyth and Parkland when the meet takes place at Reagan on Tuesday Two weeks ago at the Scott Brent Invitational (a.k.a. City-County championships), Mount Tabor and West Forsyth finished in a first-place tie (133 points apiece). Parkland, which has emerged as a legitimate contender this season, placed third and was only 18 points off the title-winning pace.

“We’re building to win locally by relying on our depth,” said Cromwell. “We do have five to ten athletes who we feel can score points at the regional and state meets. But we also have 25 to 30 on this team who can make an impact locally. We’re working to develop enough balance that will enable us to score points in every event at the conference championships.”

The Spartans prime strengths are in the distance races with senior Kenny Kneisel and sophomore Cameron Ponder setting the tempo. Both are elite-level runners who are ranked among the top three in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. In the NCRunners state rankings for Class 4-A, Kneisel is No. 1 at 3,200 (8 minutes, 57.77 seconds) and No. 3 at 1,600 (4:21.79). Ponder has the fastest 1,600 time in the state (4:19.82) and is third in the rankings for the 3,200 (9:12.24).

At 800 meters, Kneisel is a strong favorite to repeat as league champ. A year ago, he ran a personal best of 1:56.60 at the CPC meet to win it. While he has yet to approach his career-best clocking this spring, he figures to be among the state’s top 10 in this event by season’s end.

Mount Tabor’s distance-running dominance extends to the 4×800 relay. The foursome of Ian Foley, Michael Moerk, Kneisel and Ponder ran 7:51.49 at the City-County to secure the state’s No. 1 ranking.

Although the Spartans are exceptional in those areas, they will surely need assistance in other events – specifically the sprint relays – to claim a conference crown. Based on what transpired at the Brent Invitational, things look very promising.

Of the three relays, Mount Tabor has produced its best outings in the 4×200 and 4×400. At the City-County, the Spartans posted runner-up finishes in those events, which helped them to earn the tie with West Forsyth.

“We don’t have a dominant sprinter,” said Cromwell. “But as a collective group, they work very well together in the relays.

Things have come together very nicely. We’re better in the 4×200 and 4×400 because we have the people who excel in the long sprints. Right now, we have eight people fighting for four spots on those two relays.”

The mainstays in the relays are basketball player Cameron Robinson, pole vaulter Timin Sonik, Cameron Hunter and Malik Chambers. “The other spots are to be determined,” said Cromwell. “Our relay lineups will change from one meet to the next. But I feel that we’re going to surprise some people in the 4×400 by the end of the season.”

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Wali Pitt

Wali Pitt

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