Saturday was a banner day for the Lower Richland boys track and field squad, as the Diamond Hornets placed third at the S.C. High School League Class 3A track and field championships at Spring Valley. Hanahan won the team title with 87 points, and Daniel finished as runner-up.
The Diamond Hornets 400-meter relay kicked off the day with a state championship. Seniors Jaylen Bacon and Brandon Stroman, sophomore Larry Collins and eighth-grader Ronald Fuller led throughout, and posted a 41.62-second finish to claim their gold medal.
“It feels good but it’s bittersweet, because this was my first and last year running this event. But it feels great to be so successful; we broke the school record and we’re going to try to break the record at nationals,” Stroman said.
Bacon went on to win gold in three individual sprint races.
He won the 100 for the second consecutive year with a 10.51 finish, and claimed the 200 title with a time of 21.59.
But for the Arkansas State-bound Bacon, the 400-meter win was the coup-de-grace.
“It feels extremely good,” Bacon said. “This was my biggest concern, and I’ve been working hard at it and it just shows.”
In that race, Bacon took a slim lead out of the final turn, and was shoulder-to-shoulder with Jordan Sumpter of Camden on the final straightway. But Bacon kicked it out for a personal best-finish of 48 seconds – 0.44 seconds ahead of silver medalist Sumpter.
“I’m glad that I was able to represent Lower Richland. I love my team,” Bacon said.
“I’m going to miss these guys (our seniors), but we’re just going to have to find some more guys and try to make it back here next year,” said Fuller.
River Bluff’s boys finished eighth, with freshman DJ Ledell winning gold in the triple jump and Tony Morales placing second in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200.
Westwood tied for sixth, with 26, with Seneca.
On the girls side, James Island won with 80 points, and Daniel finished in second with 72 points.
Lower Richland’s Princess Hammett surprised herself with a win in the 400 hurdles.
“I really didn’t think I was going to win when I came out here, but halfway through the race, I knew I could win it,” said Hammett, who was seeded fourth.
She moved into the lead going over the final hurdle and kicked to a 1:05.58 finish. Eastside’s Emma Smith finished in 1:05.85.
Hammett won a bronze medal in the 100 hurdles, with a time of 15.50 seconds.