FRANKLINTON — Six individuals from Robeson County schools advanced to the state championship meet in 10 different events, in addition to three relay teams who also advanced, at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A Mideast Regional held Saturday at Franklinton High School.
The state meet will be held Saturday at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.
St. Pauls’ Taliya Council qualified for state in three events: 300-meter hurdles, high jump and triple jump.
Red Springs’ Eddrick James, in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash, and Fairmont’s Jamesha Howell, in the 100-meter dash and long jump, also advanced in multiple events.
St. Pauls’ Martell Gunter advanced in the 100-meter dash and the Bulldogs’ Nore McEachern advanced in shot put. Red Springs’ Kirston Fields advanced in discus.
The St. Pauls boys 4×200 relay team qualified for state, as did the Bulldogs’ girls 4×400 team and Fairmont’s girls 4×100 team.
Council showed strong abilities in three very different events, including a second-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles in 51.06 seconds. Cummings’ Kendall Jordan was first in 45.63; Fairmont’s Brianna Davis was eighth in 57.30 and Howell was 11th in 1:17.00.
Council finished third in both the high jump and long jump. In the high jump, the top three were fractionally close, with Council’s jump of 4 feet, 10.00 inches finishing just behind winner Kiera Perkins of Reidsville at 4-10.02 and runner-up Amya Brooks from Eastern Randolph at 4-10.01. St. Pauls’ Jaiden Morrison finished sixth at 4-06.00 and the Bulldogs’ Rubianna Estradar was seventh at 4-04.00.
In the triple jump, Council finished third at 35-02.00 behind a pair of Cummings athletes, including Kendall Jordan at 38-09.50.
“She’s an exceptional athlete,” St. Pauls coach David Shaw said. “I tried to talk her into coming out last year, but this summer basketball stuff has got a lot of their attention. I was looking for hurdlers … one of my athletes actually called her and asked her if she was interested, so that’s how it started. She hadn’t been involved in any track meet; she’s only been involved in two before regionals.”
Howell finished third in the 100-meter dash for Fairmont at 12.97, a half-second behind winner Tamesia Pinnix from Cummings at 12.45. Howell also advanced to state in the long jump at 17-02.00, second behind Pinnix’ jump of 18-03.50. St. Pauls’ Alexis Carter finished ninth in the event at 11-01.75.
Robeson County’s other female individual to qualify for state was Fields, who did so with a fourth-place finish in the discus throw at 80-00. Savannah Norris from Durham School of the Arts won the event at 89-09; Red Springs’ Jessica McEachin was ninth at 62-02 and St. Pauls’ Charisiah Johnson was 12th at 54-00.
In the girls relays, Fairmont finished fourth in the 4×100 relay, with Geneya Lesane, Brianna Davis, Kiara Campbell and Sariyah Thompson running the race in 54.39; Providence Grove won the event at 51.86 and the St. Pauls team of Saniya Baldwin, Janaa Campbell, Anijia Sinclair and Keniyah Baldwin was 11th at 57.46.
The St. Pauls 4×400 relay team of Krishawna Little, T.J. Eichelberger, Keniyah Baldwin and Demaria Wells also advanced to state, finishing fourth in their heat at 5:18.40. Durham School of the Arts won the race at 4:36.40.
“The 4×4 actually was made up Saturday with my sprinters; I didn’t really have any 400 runners,” Shaw said. “They just gave their heart and courage and were determined to get there, and they went out and did what they were doing.”
In the boys meet, Robeson County sprinters finished in two of the top three places in the 100-meter dash, with St. Pauls’ Martell Gunter taking second in 11.39 and Red Springs’ Eddrick James claiming third in 11.45; Cummings’ Jonathan Paylor won in 11.25.
“(Gunter) has turned out to be the athlete I always thought he was, but this year he seems to be a little more focused, a little bit more disciplined and a little bit more determined to succeed,” Shaw said. “I pulled him to the side the first of the season and told him how special he could be, and it changed his whole attitude as far as picking up his game, and leadership and everything else too.”
James also qualified for state in the 200-meter dash, finishing fourth in 23.48. Cummings’ Christian Gore won in 22.81.
“(The 100- and 200-meter dash) are Eddrick’s best events; he enjoys running those. He had a lot of competition, especially based off of that 100, when he ran that,” Red Springs coach Glenn Patterson Jr. said. “That was a good event; he did great for the amount of practice and stuff that he gets to get in, doing multiple sports. He’s training for football right now, with 7-on-7s as well, so that’s just off of natural talent.”
St. Pauls’ Nore McEachern finished fourth in the shot put to qualify for state with a throw of 40-02.00, behind winner Jamal Faulk from Whiteville at 43-02.00. Red Springs’ Tony Locklear finished seventh at 37-01.00 and the Red Devils’ Dixon McLean was ninth at 34-07.00.
“Nore improved and he’s worked hard,” Shaw said. “Everyone that’s there has improved over this short season.”
The St. Pauls boys 4×200 relay team of Jacorey Campbell, Demaris Williams, Demarcus Simmons and Gunter advanced to state with a fourth-place finish at 1:35.02; Jordan-Matthews won the race in 1:33.28.
“They came out and did what they had to do,” Shaw said. “I had two replacements on that 4×2; two of my sprinters got hurt at a football combine, so I had to remake the 4×2. But they came to be determined to advance on.”
The St. Pauls boys finished sixth in the team standings with 37 points and Red Springs was 13th with 16. Cummings won the team competition with 115 points.
In the girls meet, St. Pauls was also sixth with 32 points. Fairmont tied for ninth with East Bladen and West Bladen at 20 points and Red Springs tied for 18th with Whiteville and Jordan-Matthews at five points. Durham School of the Arts won with 115 points.
Two additional St. Pauls athletes narrowly missed advancing to the state meet. Demaris Williams finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles, with his 16.71 time finishing .30 seconds behind the fourth, the transfer spot. Dylantae James from Cummings won the event at 15.81.
Jacorey Campbell finished fifth in the high jump at 5-06.00, two inches behind fourth place. Donovan Lara from Eastern Randolph won in 6-04.00.
In other boys events:
— Red Springs’ Christian Moore was sixth in the 1600 meters at 5:27.37; Carrboro’s Quinn Baker won in 4:47.58.
— St. Pauls’ Javier Ortiz was sixth in the triple jump at 37-07.00, with Lara winning at 42-03.00.
— The Bulldogs’ Nastalous Wactor was seventh in the 300-meter hurdles at 44.77 and Demaris Williams was 11th in 48.29. Cummings’ Christian Gore won in 41.81.
— Fairmont’s Junayd Hill finished ninth in the 400-meter dash at 56.48 behind South Granville’s Benjamin Hunt, who in 52.18.
— Red Springs’ Tony Locklear was ninth in the discus at 95-11 and teammate Dixon McLean was 10th in 85-05. East Bladen’s Devin Bowen won at 114-04.
— St. Pauls’ 4×100 relay team of Jacorey Campbell, William Ford, Demaris Williams and Demarcus Simmons finished sixth in 45.48; Cummings won at 43.90.
— The Bulldogs’ 4×400 team of Cambell, Ford, Charles Johnson and Ethan Roberts was sixth in 4:02.95, with Durham School of the Arts winning the race in 3:37.23.
In other girls events:
— St. Pauls’ Estradar finished 10th in the 100-meter hurdles at 21.43 behind Cummings’ Jordan, who won at 14.31.
— The Bulldogs’ Wells finished 10th in the 800 meters at 3:18.63; Margaret Ann Healy from Durham School of the Arts finished first in 2:32.40.
— Red Springs’ Fields was 10th in the shot put at 26-05.00 and the Red Devils’ Camille McDougald was 11th at 21-01.25.
— St. Pauls’ 4×200 relay team of Council, Little, Caldwell and Morrison finished seventh at 2:03.48; Wheatmore won in 1:54.01.