While Lower Richland’s quest for a third state championship is the prime Midlands story at the Class 3A boys track state meet at Harry Parone Stadium, the area focus in the girls division is squarely on Dreher senior Christal Green.
Green, after all, has a chance to become the first Midlands female athlete since 2005 to come away with four gold medals at state. Green tuned up for the challenge by winning the 100- and 400-meter races at last week’s 3A qualifying meet, finishing second in the 200 and anchoring the winning 4x400 relay team.
The last Midlands entry to earn four top prizes was Ridge View’s Jessica Young, who won the 200 and 400 and was on two winning relays in 2005. The four-gold Midlands honor roll also includes Eau Claire’s Regina Felder and Carolyn Williams, who both pulled it off in 1980, and Spring Valley great Monique Hennagan.
The Felder-Williams achievement remains a singular feat. No other team – male or female – had ever had two four-gold winners in the same season.
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Hennagan, of course, is the most decorated girls track star in Midlands history – securing 12 top prizes in all (9 in individual events, plus 3 relays. Amazingly, the Spring Valley star hit the four-gold jackpot at three consecutive state meets while leading the Vikings to three straight 4A state titles (1992-94). No other athlete – male or female – in South Carolina track annals has ever done in more than twice.
Even if Green does not bag four golds, she is a near certainty to become the first Dreher to win a state title in the girls division in five years. Green finished second behind for J.L. Man star Briana Nelson in the 100 and 400 in the finals last year.
Green alone gives the Blue Devils excellent team scoring potential, but Dreher probably does not have the depth necessary to seriously challenge Seneca and Fort Mill for the team title.
A number of other Midlands entries are in line for medal performances , including A.C. Flora‘s Alexis Jacobs and Jody Byrd (400), Camden’s Shalace Rose (200), Lower Richland’s Georgia Delts (100 hurdles) and Chapin’s Morgan Loadholdt (pole vault).
Jacobs was the Lower State shot put winner last week and finished second in the discus. Last year she was third in the discus, fourth in the shot at state. Rose just missed in the 400 a year ago, placing fourth.