3A State track finals

Westwood caps fine first season

Special to The StateMay 12, 2013 

It’s been a rough inaugural sports year at Westwood High, but Redhawks fans have had much to cheer during the spring track and field campaign.

Two weeks ago, Westwood swept the boys and girls Region 4-3A championships for the school’s first conference titles. On Friday, the Redhawks were impressive on the statewide level at the Class 3A finals at Lower Richland.

On the team side Saturday, both Westwood teams cracked the top 10. The girls rang up 47 points and finished fifth, while the boys were eighth with 26 points.

Individually, Brianna Pressley and Kelcey Briggs earned gold medals, and Jai Lykes grabbed a silver prize.

Anthony Friday led the boys team with a silver in the shot put and a bronze in the discus.

Briggs had the honor of becoming Westwood’s first state champion (in any sport) with a long jump win on Friday night, but Pressley emerged as the Redhawks’ headliner by winning the 100 and 200 events Friday.

“I didn’t do as well as I wanted at the qualifier, but based on my times during the season I was confident that I could get at least one win at state,” said Pressley, a junior who scored at state the past two seasons at Blythewood.

Dreher’s Bradford Lemmons and Imani Boatwright were the other Midlands athletes in the spotlight.

Lemmons, who was overshadowed by high-profile teammate Brandon Sanders a year ago, became a star in his own right by securing two gold medals and one silver. After finishing second to LR’s Jaylen Bacon in the 100, Lemmons prevailed in the 200 and 400 events.

“There was a lot of pressure on me following in Brandon’s footsteps, but I came in with a lot of confidence,” said the junior, who hopes to run track and play football in college.

“It wasn’t the best-case scenario, but I can’t be too disappointed.”

Boatwright successfully defended her 800-meter title, shaving nearly two seconds off the state record. The Diamond Hornets’ senior star clocked in with a 2:11.34 to replace the 2:13.30 standard set by Ridge View’s Sierra Henderson in 2008.

“It was definitely tougher this season with the pressure being the defending champion,” said Boatwright. “You always want to run your best at the state meet, and I was fortunate enough to do that this year.”

A.C. Flora senior Lillian Tribble became the first Falcons state winner on the track in 13 years, prevailing in the 1,600. All of Flora’s gold medals since 2001 were in the field events.

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