Published: 07:53 PM, Sat May 12, 2012
South View's Darlene Girardeau gets 2 of 5 Cumberland County victories at 4-A East Regional track meet
BENSON - South View senior Darlene Girardeau, a regional champion for the first time, stood with four medals dangling from her neck.
The multi-colored souvenirs were proof of a greater accomplishment.
"It was a hard day," said Girardeau, who's been hampered by back pain. "Just getting through it is the best part."
Girardeau won the long jump and triple jump Saturday at the 4-A East Regional, contributing to totals of five victories by Cumberland County athletes and a dozen from local entries.
Girardeau, who had marks of 18 feet, 8.5 inches in the long jump and 36-3.75 in the triple, also finished second in the 100 meters and third in the 200, helping South View's girls place fifth in the team standings. Southeast Raleigh took first in the meet-ending 4x400 relay to win the team title with 97 points, one more than host West Johnston.
On the boys' side, team champion Knightdale won by 55 points over runner-up Scotland, which benefited from Seyyan Moody's hurdles sweep. Victories by Diondre Butler (long jump) and Darrell Hayden (400) enabled Jack Britt to finish fifth, one spot ahead of Terry Sanford. John Leonard gave the Bulldogs a champion in the shot put, but injuries prevented standout runners Philip Hall and Jahmaal Daniel from competing at full strength.
Hall, a freshman who has been bothered by a sore Achilles for nearly a week, controlled the 1,600 until Wilmington Laney's Zach Nifong went from a distant third to first with a furious sprint over the last 100-plus meters. Pinecrest's Becket Killam (4:32.84) edged Hall (4:32.94) for second, with the top four finishers in each event qualifying for next weekend's 4-A state meet in Greensboro. Hall, whose mile was 11 seconds slower than his top-seeded time, dropped out of the 800 after one-quarter of a lap and didn't start the 3,200. It's possible he won't run the mile in Greensboro, either.
As for Daniel, he hurt one of his hips Saturday morning after arriving at West Johnston. He had the fastest preliminary time in the 100 and settled for third in the final, posting a 10.85. Knightdale's Joseph Horton won the 100 (10.71) and 200 (21.67), with Daniel crossing second at 21.95 in that event. He dropped out of the 400 and ran a leg on a third-place 4x200 team that will join Leonard in Greensboro.
Leonard repeated as a regional champion in the shot put, recording a mark of 53-5.5. Last year, he threw 51-9 at the regional and finished eighth at the state meet behind one sophomore and six seniors, including the departed Courtland Clavette, who won with a throw of more than 55 feet.
"It made me want to work to try to get up there," Leonard said. "I knew if I got up there I'll have a good chance of winning."
Without Hall as a factor in the 800, Jack Britt's Hayden became a favorite to win, and he delivered thanks to a late push.
In fourth place coming off the final turn of the two-lap race, he maneuvered to the outside of several Knightdale runners and crossed first in 1:59.04.
"I knew there was a lot of competition," Hayden said. "It was all close, and the plan was to come through (one lap) at 58, 59 (seconds) and, for the last 100, let it all out."
Butler made a comeback of his own to claim first in the long jump. His best mark after three preliminary attempts was a pedestrian 20-8, and he backed up three-and-a-half additional steps before sprinting down the runway for his first try of the final round. Butler hit the board this time and took the lead with an effort of 23-4.5
"I was just trying to qualify," he said. "I just wanted to jump and see if I could come up from the bottom."
The other victories from local athletes in the boys' meet came from Pinecrest's Jay Harris (12-6 in the pole vault) and Steven Kennedy (45-8.5 in the triple jump). Lumberton's Carthenia Brown swept the girls' throwing events with marks of 111-1 in the discus and 37-2.5 in the shot put, and Pinecrest's Abby Snyder had a first-place time of 58.01 in the 400.
Staff writer Bret Strelow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3513.