RALEIGH — Wakefield girls track coach Ann Graham and Southeast Raleigh boys coach Liz Peartree Gray may have both pushed just the right motivational buttons Saturday as their squads captured the championship trophies of the 2014 Wake County Championships held at Athens Drive High School.
Graham questioned her team’s effort in the event a year ago, but was very pleased with the perfomances this year. The Wolverines totaled 103 points to finish ahead of Southeast Raleigh (98.5), Cary (80), and Sanderson (72).
“Everybody stepped up today for us,” Graham said. “I told them we don’t want to get too content. You have to work for it, train for it, and then come out and compete.”
Nobody competed any better than Wakefield senior Ama-Seline Tchume, who will run track at Virginia Tech next year. She won the 100 meters, the 200, and the long jump and was on the winning 4x100 relay team, along with Destiny Robinson, Dasia Sanders, and Breanne Bygrave.
“Selina had a great meet,” Graham said. “This is a big year for her and she’s doing well, getting to take home some championships. Tia Robinson, a junior, also stepped things up, with a couple of seconds and she ran on two relay teams.”
Gary noted the last time Southeast’s boys won the title was 2009.
“My assistant coach, Robert Williams, talked to the 4x800 team about setting the tone,” Gray said. “A strong start would get everybody hyped up. They got us going and we got the title and some confidence to carry into the rest of the season.”
The Bulldogs relay team of Khalil Gray, Robert Williams, Jayquan Williams, and David Conner won the first running event. Other Bulldogs firsts came in the 400 by Jamaree Murray and the 4x400 relay by Jayon Woodard, Murray, Elijah Reid, and Conner.
“The wins were big and we are going to miss Murray after this year, but we also did well with Jordan Sellers getting second in the discus and Dexter Brewer taking second in the 110 hurdles and Jayquan Williams and David Conner taking third and fourth in the 800 was huge.”
Southeast gathered 93 point to finish ahead of Garner (76), Apex (72), and Broughton (59).
Garner’s Nyheim Hines won the boys 300 hurdles, was the runner-up in the 110 hurdles and went third in the 100 dash. The Trojans’ 4x100 relay team won the county title as did Michael Jenkins in the triple jump. Jenkins was also third in the long jump.
Other top finishers for Garner’s boys squad were Justin Burkey (third in the 3,200), Sterling Sanders (second in the high jump) and the 800-meter relay (fourth).
Cary’s girls had a strong showing by capturing three relays, the 4x200, 4x400, and 4x800. Also, Layla White won the 400.
“It was a very good day,” Cary coach Jerry Dotson said. “We set not only school records but also meet records in the 4x8 and 4x2.”
On the boys side, Broughton senior Therius Styles proved to be the fastest in both the 100 and 200 and he hopes to do the same at the state meet.
“Just reaching the states would be a blessing, but my goal is to win both events,” said Styles, who won the 100 in this meet last year and will run at Coastal Carolina next year.
Garner’s Nyah Hines was fourth in the 100 girls hurdles and the triple jump. The Trojans’ 4x100 girls relay team finished third and the 4x200 team was fourth. The Trojans’ Mary Ayodele was fourth in the shot put.
Leesville senior Carson Ellerby had two impressive seconds, finishing just a stride or so behind two of the top runners in the state in Broughton’s Will Roberson in the 1600 and Knightdale’s Corey Aikens in the 800.
“I wanted to pass (Roberson) at the end, but he’s a tough guy,” said Ellerby who will run for Charlotte next year. “That’s the closest I’ve come to him and I’m looking forward to the next meet.”
Knightdale’s boys team, which has won the the last three state 4A track and field championships and the last four indoor titles, was missing some top performers, but that just gave opportunities to others, according to coach Chris Miller.
“Corey Aikens and the rest of this team is the hardest-working group of kids I’ve ever seen,” said Miller.