Area athletes ready for state track and field meet

05/16/2014 12:23 AM

05/16/2014 12:24 AM

South Carolina’s best track and field athletes will be looking for their lowest times and highest marks of the 2014 season as the SCHSL championships begin at Spring Valley on Friday and Saturday.

While Midlands teams are not frontrunners for the overall titles, the weekend should boast excellent performances from dozens of local athletes.

The Class 4A and 3A meets begin with field events at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, and the 3,200-meter relays beginning at 6:30.

The Westwood boys’ and Spring Valley girls’ 3,200 relay teams will be angling for state titles.

The Redhawks team of Jerald Glover, Kelvin Rosemond, Ereck Lewis and Marvin James holds the top seed in the 3A race, after finishing in 8 minutes, 14.68 seconds at the May 10 qualifier, ahead of Hilton Head, Daniel and Hanahan – three teams that are top contenders for the overall title.

The Spring Valley girls squad is the favorite for the Class 4A title, with a seed time of 9:43.20, 5 seconds ahead of second-seeded Summerville.

And in Saturday’s 3A action, Lower Richland’s Jaylen Bacon looks to triple his medal count. Bacon, the 2013 100-meter champion, is the top seed in both the 100 and 200, and is seeded second in the 400. His 200 seed time of 21.60 is just off the 2012 state record of 21.16.

The 400, slated to run at 10:30 a.m., could feature a neck-and-neck-and-neck finish between Bacon, top-seeded Jordan Sumpter of Camden, and Hanahan’s Kahlim Denmark.

Bacon is also part of Lower Richland’s 400 relay team, which has the fastest seed time, 41.96. The state record is 41.13.

In girls Class 4A competition, Ridge View looks to be a top local performer.

The Blazers’ Arlicia Bush has a chance to medal in both the 200 and 400. She is seeded second in 400, and fourth in the 200. The sophomore is also part of the Blazers’ No. 1-seeded 1,600 relay team.

Ridge View could pick up points from Johnaida Eliscar in the 400, Faith McKie in the 400 hurdles, and its 400 relay team, which is seeded fourth.

The 1,600 is the final scheduled event of the meet, and is slated for 1:10 p.m.

The day concludes with the Class A and 2A meets, highlighted by Burke shot putter Raven Saunders, who should officially break the girls state record of 44 feet, 8 inches, set by Xylina McDaniel in 2011. Saunders, who holds the national record, is the No. 1 seed by far, with a qualifying mark of 51-9. State records can be set only at the state championship meet.

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