Prep, Atkins expect to be factors in outdoor track

Prep, Atkins expect to be factors in outdoor track
March 03
00:00 2016
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
Not only is Ashya Smith a key member of the Phoenix’s sprint relay teams (4×100 and 4×200), but she’s a strong favorite to win state outdoor titles in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles this spring.



Based on what transpired at the recently-held Class 1-A/2-A state indoor track and field championships, Winston-Salem Prep and Atkins should be in fine shape for the outdoor season.

There were no first-place finishers among the Phoenix and Camels. But when you look at the results and take into account the format of the state indoor track for the smaller schools, the outlook for spring is positive.

That’s because the two classifications have a combined state championship meet for indoor track. For the spring outdoor season, though, the 1-A and 2-A schools have their own state championships. In several instances, Prep and Atkins had athletes who didn’t win, but their performances give strong indications of what’s to come during the outdoor season.

At the state indoor meet, 1-A athletes compete against a higher level of competition (2-A) than they do at the outdoor state, when they compete against a field comprised only of 1-A schools.

Case in point: Winston-Salem Prep’s girls.

For example, Ashya Smith (8.93 seconds) won a medal and finished fourth in the 55-meter hurdles. The three athletes who finished ahead of Smith are from Burlington Cummings, which competes in Class 2-A. As a result, Smith was highest 1-A finisher in the finals. Headed into outdoors, Smith rates as a solid favorite to win the hurdles.

The same holds true for De’ja Reid who ended up fifth (7.50) in the 55-meter dash. Reid posted the fastest clocking of all the 1-A sprinters.

In the 4×200 relay, the Phoenix (Llyric Mack, Daziah Brooks, Reid and Smith), finished as the state indoor runner-up (1 minute, 49.95 seconds). The only quartet that proved to be faster was state champ Cummings (1:47.19).

The results of the long jump were equally revealing. Mack (15-feet, 6 inches) and Reid (15-5 ½) placed eighth and ninth respectively, so they were not in the running for a medal. Even so, they were the top two 1-A finishers, which bodes well for the outdoor season.

Mack, by the way, added more points for Prep in the team standings with an eighth-place finish in the triple jump (33-1).  As a junior at Atkins last year, Mack finished second at the 1-A state outdoor championships.

In the boys’ competition, Prep’s Joseph Littlejohn had a coming-out party. In his first indoor championship, the sophomore won his first medal by placing fourth in the 55-meter dash. Littlejohn ran 6.64, which was only .01 behind third-place finisher Josh Polk of Newton Grove Hobbton.

The outcome for Littlejohn was even better in the 300-meter dash. Littlejohn ended up in third (37.08) to barely beat out Tony Davis of Atkins, who clocked 37.11. Littlejohn and Davis could be headed for a Northwest Conference showdown in the 200.

Keep an eye on the Atkins boys in the 4×400 relay. The foursome of Davis, Haywood Peebles, Maiz Lawson and Jeremy Kankula placed seventh at the state (3:43.97) and they were 3.49 seconds shy of placing among the top three (Claremont Bunker Hill was third at 3:40.48)

Winston-Salem Prep’s Jacob Cobbs figures to be a factor in the long jump. At the state, Cobbs missed out on making the medal stand by less than an inch. He placed fifth with a leap of 20- 1 ¾. J.C. Smith of North Brunswick (20-2 ½) edged Cobbs by the narrowest of margins – ¾ of an inch.

SyKonza Evans of 2-A Carver had a productive outing at the state meet. Evans posted a surprise third-place finish at 55 meters (7.47 seconds), which was .03 shy of second place. Entering state, Evans ranked in lower half of state’s top 10 fastest times in the 55.

Evans tied for fourth place in the long jump (16-4 ¾) with Zacora McKnight of High Point Andrews.


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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