High school track and field: South, East boys tie for first

Published 11:25 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Staff report

GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan and South Rowan battled to an unprecedented tie for first place in Wednesday’s Rowan County Track and Field Championships.

South trailed the host Mustangs by two points heading to the 4×400, the traditional track meet finale.

Salisbury won that event, but South’s crew of Caleb Holmes, Gabriel Pozyck, Tristian Littlejohn and Jadon Moore stayed with the Hornets and secured second place and finished comfortably ahead of third-place East. South got eight points for the event, while the Mustangs got six. That left both of them with 122 for the long day.

For South it was a repeat championship, a great follow-up to a breakthrough county title in 2021.

For East, the county’s steadiest boys track power since 2007, it was the first championship since 2018. West Rowan won in 2019. There was no countywide competition in 2020 due to COVID-19.

South’s distance crew came through. The Raiders got 10 points for winning the 4×800 and racked up another 40 in the individual distance events. Mostly the Raiders relied on phenom Eli Julian and he won the 800, 1600 and 3200 with a relentless and tireless performance.

South got 36 points for the  jumping events, which included Caleb Holmes’ second place in the pole vault. He cleared 11 feet, 6 inches, the same as East winner Luke Heglar, but Heglar had fewer misses. Marcus Holloman won the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) for the Raiders, as expected, and added critical points with a second in the triple jump with a PR 40 feet, 7 inches and a third in the long jump.

East’s lone individual winner other than Heglar was Dominick Dale, who unleashed a discus throw of 135 feet, 10 inches, a top-5o level in the state fling. Dale added a second place in the shot put.

East’s depth is always a major factor in county meets, and with a 10-8-6-4-2-1 scoring system, the Mustangs stacked up points across the board. East never has a weak area.

Salisbury wasn’t far off the pace of the co-champs with 112 points.

The Hornets won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays, and had plenty of elite performers. But a zero in distance points was a killer for the Hornets.

Elite jumper Marcus Cook won the triple jump with an effort of 45 feet, 8.5 inches that ranks in the state’s top 10. He also won the long jump in a tough battle with West’s Malachi Smith.

Salisbury’s Deuce Walker won the 200 by an eyelash over North Rowan’s Amari McArthur in the race of the day, while young Hornet Jamal Rule won the 400.

North settled for fourth place, as the Cavaliers also were shut out in distance points.

Quintin Wilson swept the hurdling events for the Cavaliers, while the long-striding McArthur took the 100 over Salisbury speedsters Walker and Jayden Gibson. Pharrell Hailey turned in a 43-3 shot put for another North individual win.

Carson didn’t win an event, but accumulated enough points in the distance events (Connor Price was second in the 1600, third in the 800) and relays to score 60.5 points for fifth.

West’s Akin Robinson, Jaedon Neal, Smith and Anwar Davis took the 4×200 for some bragging rights, but the Falcons were sixth with 58.5 points.