Let’s assess Midlands performances at the 2014 state girls track and field meet from a historical perspective.
The big local story was the performance by Keenan in Class 2A. The Raiders had their best-ever showing as a team. Keenan scored a school-record 46 points at the state meet and matched its highest state finish in the team standings (6th).
Keenan also came away with its largest gold medal haul in history with Jyana Crosby in the forefront. Crosby became the school’s track athlete to emerge with four gold medals and become the school’s all-time career leader in individual state titles. The Raider senior won the 100- and 200-meter races and was on two winning relay teams – the 4x4 and 4x1 units. The 48.57 clocking in the 400 relay was the third fastest in 2A history. Brianna Powell and Tatyanna Peters joined Crosby on both winning relay teams.
Four other Midlands teams had Top 10 finishes – Ridge View, Westwood, Pelion and Batesburg-Leesville.
Ridge View scored 42 points and finished in a third-place tie with Northwestern. The Blazers did not make the Top 10 cut in 2013. Arlicia Bush was the 400 champion and helped the 4x4 relay team win with a state record time of 3:49.07 – shattering the 21-year record of 3:51.30 set by Spring Valley in 1993. Amarrah Cooks, Johnaida Eliscar and Mecca Mason joined with Crosby to make it happen.
Westwood had no individual champs in its second varsity season, but the Redhawks cracked the Top 10 for the second year in a row. Westwood’s yield this time was 34 points, good for seventh place. Brianna Pressley won the 100 and 200 as a junior in 2013, but had to settle for fourth- and second-place finishes, respectively, this season.
Pelion finished seventh in 2A with 34 points. The Panthers had no gold or silver medallists, but Antoinette Fulton and Kayla Evans were bronze winners. Fulton places third in the 1600 and 3200, while Evans was third in the 400 hurdles.
Batesburg-Leesville dropped from second place in 2013 to eighth but it was the third straight Top 10 for the Panthers. Asia Radford (2nd, high jump) and Bailey Dawkins (3rd, pole vault) were the B-L medal winners.
Irmo’s Zora Garrick and Lower Richland’s Princess Hammett were the other Midlands gold medallists.
Garrick was the 4A shot put winner. Interestingly, her heave of 37 feet, seven inches was the shortest winning performance in the big-school division in 23 years. She is also Irmo’s first shot put champ and the program’s first winner in any event in five years.
Hammett broke new ground, as well, by becoming the first Diamond Hornet to strike gold in the 400 hurdles.