Sunday, May 16, 2010

Victory Christian, Latin snag private school track titles

RALEIGH Victory Christian coach John Pratt didn't want to compare this year's sweep of N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A/2A track and field titles to the sweep his program had in 2008.

"This year was a little different because we had a young team," Pratt said.

The Kings ran away with the boys' title, nearly doubling runner-up St. David's, 117-65. The girls' meet was a little closer, but Victory still beat defending NCISAA 1A/2A champion Caldwell Academy, 145-125. Of Victory's 15 girls, seven were ninth, eighth or seventh graders.

Since 2000, when the NCISAA split the championships into classifications, Victory is the only school to sweep both titles. It was the third consecutive title for the boys and the second in two years for the girls, who finished third last year.

Victory's three first-places and six runner-ups alone were worth 78 points and would have won the boys' meet.

Jonathan Bridges and Michael Harris led the Kings. Bridges won the 110 hurdles (16.17 seconds) and was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (42.46). Harris was second in the shot put (47-feet, 5 inches) and discus (119-5) and combined with Taj Mitchell, Christian Johnson and Fred Bates to win the 400-meter relay (45.71).

Valentino Thomas, who only began jumping a little more than a month ago, won the high jump (6-4).

Victory's girls won four events and finished runner-up in seven others, with Davida Scoggins, Alexis Hicks and Kaylan Bridges each winning once and finishing runner-up once. Mictasha Mickle had two-runner-up finishes (200, 400).

Scoggins won the 400 (1:03.53), Hicks won the triple jump (32-feet, 10 inches) and Bridges won the discus (85-2). Chantalle Nicholson was Victory's other winner, taking the shot with a put of 35-6.5.

"The difference between the girls this year and last year was we beefed it up in the field events," said Victory assistant coach Shirley Pratt. "That really made a difference in getting us off to a good start."

Area athletes who also won: Eric Schmidt (Indian Trail Metrolina Christian) won the boys' 200 (23.32) to become the school's first track and field state champion, and Ceasar Toland (Northside Christian) won the boys' long jump (20-7.5).


Charlotte Latin earned a sweep of boys' and girls' state track and field titles and Providence Day's Varonica Johnson became the first girl to sweep the three sprint events in nearly 30 years at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A championships on Saturday at Cary Academy.

For Charlotte Latin, it was the fifth consecutive girls' title and second in three years for the boys, who also helped complete the sweep in 2008.

"Both of them were not definite until very late in the meet," Charlotte Latin boys' and girls' coach Larry McNulty said. "It was gut-wrenching ... It was a very emotional and intense day. We just kept plugging."

Charlotte Latin's girls solidified their title on the last event of the day, the 1,600-meter relay, and edged Raleigh Ravenscroft for the team title, 144-140. The boys' team outdistanced runner-up Cary Academy, 128.5-112.

"I was surprised (that the girls won) because we heard such great things about Ravenscroft's team," McNulty said. "When we started the year, about 40 percent of our girls' team was new or freshmen. When you have that, you don't expect to be that good. The boys' team was experienced. We had depth. We had numbers."

Charlotte Latin won three boys' events: Jalen Ross (triple jump, 42-2.75); Austin Davis (high jump, 6-2); 800-meter relay (Chase Cisne, David Caldwell, Tyler Miess, Davis); 1,600-meter relay (Cisne, Miess, Michael Grace, Alex Wilson, 3:27.92).

Charlotte Latin's girls bettered that total by winning one individual event (Sarah Whitmore, 300 hurdles, 47.78) and three relays: 400-meter relay of Andrea Gray, Amanda Onwukwe, Mary Kate McAlister and Stephanie Coma (51.36); the 800-meter relay of Gray, McAlister, Farrell Murphy and Coma (1:49.04); and the 3,200-meter relay of Laura Gill, Haylee Dawe, Kameron Spence and Murphy (9:54.32).

Individually, though, the meet belonged to Johnson, who set a state meet record in the 100 (12.28), and won the 200 (25.68) and 400 (59.19) to become the first girl since Durham Academy's Betsy Wilkins swept all three in 1980 and 1981 and only the third person since Charlotte Country Day's Lee Ballenger first accomplished it in 1976.

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-- Special Correspondent Brett Honeycutt