2A Track: Salisbury’s Bledsoe triple jumps to a state championship
By Ryan Bisesi
GREENSBORO — Rasean Bledsoe put Salisbury’s boys on his back and responded with a state crown.
Bledsoe won the triple jump at the state 2A track meet at N.C. A&T Friday, shrugging off back pain he suffered after falling on the beam in the high jump. Bledsoe, a senior, bowed out of the high jump after that and it proved a wise choice.
“He steps up for the big occasions,” Salisbury coach David Johnson said. “Going in, I knew he was capable of winning it.”
Bledsoe broke his previous best jump by an inch by leaping 46 feet, four inches Friday for the best leap in the state.
“On that one jump it felt perfect,” Bledsoe said. “I pretty much went crazy at the pit. I didn’t think anyone else was going to get more than that.”
Josh McSwain of Jordan-Matthews jumped 45-10.5 and displayed an emotional reaction as he sported a two-foot lead in the finals. Bledsoe took note and one-upped his foe on his final leap, bumping McSwain down to second.
“I guess his celebrating made me angry,” said Bledsoe, who finished ninth at last year’s state meet.
The 5-foot-11 Bledsoe was also in the high jump, which was going on at the same time. Bledsoe scratched out at 6-4 after hitting his back on the bar to focus on the triple jump. Fortunately for Salisbury, his back wasn’t affected in the triple jump.
“His No. 1 priority was the triple jump,” Johnson said. “When that happened, I told him to focus on the triple jump. That’s what was going to get a state championship.”
Bledsoe earned fourth place in the 1A/2A/3A indoor triple jump championship in February. The only thing on his mind was to finish first this time around. He was seeded third going in behind Bunker Hill’s Dijoun Huitt and Shelby’s Donte Dorsey.
“My longest jump this year was a 46-3 and I felt like I should be able to beat that,” Bledsoe said. “My mark was hitting good and my phases were pretty long. I felt good out there today.”
Salisbury’s Philip Simons finished 10th in the 1600-meter dash with a 4:42.
Western Michigan football signee Keion Adams placed eighth in the shot put after a top throw of 47-8.
“I expected to do a little better than what I did,” said Adams, who said his knee was bothering him.
Adams threw 51-9 at the regional and was seeded second.
“Could he have done better?” said Johnson. “Yeah. But that’s what track is. You going to get tested on one day.”
Justin Ruffin ran in the 100 preliminaries but didn’t qualify for the finals, finishing 11th.
NOTES: Salisbury placed 27th in points with 11. ... A.J. Tucker of Cedar Ridge won both the 1600 and 3200 events to help lead his Red Wolves (63 points) to their second consecutive men’s team championship. ... Cummings was second with 59 points ... A total of 47 schools scored points in the men’s meet.