Off day costs Carver High track and field championship

Off day costs Carver High track and field championship
May 21
00:00 2015

In the photo above: Brian Sessoms breezed to victory in the 200-meter dash. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

Track and field can be unpredictable at times. In most cases, athletes get one chance to excel in a winner-take-all scenario. That’s a prime reason why the sport is prone to produce unexpected results – especially in a championship setting.

Carver has firsthand knowledge about this. Entering the Class 2-A State Outdoor Track & Field Championships held last weekend in Greensboro, the Yellowjackets had high hopes. Based on those expectations and t it’s fair to say that at this year’s state meet, Carver had an off day at the office.

The Jackets liked their chances to duplicate what they pulled off a year ago at the state outdoor championships. Brian Sessoms emerged as the N.C. 2-A champ at the 100 and 200-meter sprints. But that was just the beginning. He also set the tone in leading Carver to gold-medal winning victories in the 4×100 and 4×200 relay.

This spring, Sessoms had the fastest 2-A times in the state in the short sprints. So, it was a no-brainer to view him as a solid favorite to deliver another 100/200 double. Aside from that, the Jackets were considered prime contenders to win the 4×200. As things turned out, the day proved to be a mixture of ups and downs.

For starters, Sessoms surrendered his state crown in the 100, losing to Trey’l Beasley of Edenton Holmes (10.88 seconds) and Ashton Avery of Bunn (10.96). Sessoms (10.97) ended up in third place. On the flip side, the soon-to-be wide receiver at N.C. State got a big measure of redemption by winning the 200 as expected.

“It was one of those days,” said Coach Wesley Chapman of Carver. “You win some and you lose some. Overall, we had a pretty good performance, but it could’ve been better. I was expecting us to run a little faster in the 4×200. We didn’t get it done like we wanted, but we’ll take a third.”

In the prelims of the 100, there was no clear indication that anyone in the field had the capability to dethrone the defending state champ. In the finals, Sessoms discovered why it’s so difficult to win back-to-back championships.
Although he was satisfied with his start, Beasley and Avery had better starts and they bolted ahead by less than a meter. Sessoms closed fast over the final 30 meters, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap entirely.

“I really don’t know what happened out there today,” said Sessoms. “I got out of the blocks great and I thought I was having a good race. But the other two runners were able to pull out and get in front of me.

“It’s very tough to win two years in a row. The competition really comes after you. They work so hard to beat you, so you have to maintain and be consistent every time you step on the track for a race.”

The 200 had far less drama. Sessoms owned the race from his initial burst out of the starting blocks. He won comfortably in 21.73 seconds over second-place Avery (21.93).

“The 200 went OK,” he said. “I was hoping to run a personal best, but it didn’t happen. All I focused on was pushing hard from the start and that’s what helped me to get the victory.”

In the relays, Carver entered the state meet as defending champs in both events. Based on fastest times, the Jackets best shot for victory was in the 4×200 (Sessoms, Devon Pleasants, Antonio Berry and Kendyl Dean). The Jackets stayed in contention early, but Claremont Bunker Hill pulled away on the third leg and clocked 1:28.05 to put the issue to rest. Bunn was second (1:29.30) and Carver was third at 1:29.38.

The 4×100 was a case of the competition being that much better. Carver was the No. 5 seed, and not very likely to challenge the frontrunners. Eventual winner Bunn 42.07 along with Wilson Beddingfield, Franklinton and Marshville Forest Hills dominated this event. Carver (Sessoms, Dean, Detain Bin yard and Pleasants) ended up in sixth place at 43.11.

The Yellow Jackets had only one athlete competing in the girls’ division, and she served notice that she’ll be a major factor in 2016.

By the end of the day, SyKonza Evans showed why she had been ranked among the state’s top five in the sprints by NC Runners (

Evans, a junior, lived up to her No. 2 state ranking in the 100 and ran 12.50 seconds to finish as the runner-up behind state champ Tia Glover of St. Paul’s (12.37). Top-seeded Jaleesa Smoot of Salisbury, posted a third-place finish with a time of 12.58.

The end result in the 200 was somewhat surprising. Coming in, Evans was seeded fifth and at best, was considered a long-shot pick to place among top three.

Thanks to nice curve running and maintaining her form coming down the stretch, Evans finished third in 25.68 seconds.
“For me, this was a good experience to run against some of the top athletes in the state,” said Evans. “I need to get better with my block starts in the 100. For the 200, I wish I could’ve finished stronger. But that’s something for me to work on. Next year, I’m coming back harder and stronger.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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