Irmo enjoyed its best overall showing in 10 years at the Class 4A state track meet last weekend at Lower Richland.
For the first time since 1999, the Yellow Jackets boys and girls teams both cracked the Top 10 and came away with gold medals in both divisions.
The headliner was Rashad Mallette, who successfully defended his 2008 110-meter hurdles championship and just missed become the first Irmo male athlete to ever pull off a hurdles sweep. Mallette clocked in at 14.83 seconds in the 110s, just a shade slower than his winning time of 14.79 a year ago. In the 400s, Mallette finished to Summerville’s Aaron Ravannah by 0.37 seconds. He was third in the 400s in 2008.
Irmo’s boys finished with more points that a year ago, but dropped down one spot in the final standings. The Jackets 39 points netted a fifth-place finish. Last year, 34 points was good for fourth place.
Mallatte also chipped in with a leg on Irmo’s seventh-place 1600 relay team. The Jackets had a fifth-place showing in the 3200 relay. Junior Jack Lewis and senior Adrian McGee were on both relay teams. McGee had a fifth-place effort in the 800, as well. The rest of the individual scoring was accounted for by sophomores Tamar Sowell and Will Cheung. Sowell was fourth in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump, while Chueng was seventh in the pole vault.
On the girls side, senior Raheema Hodges closed out her career with a win in the 1600 meters. It was the Jackets’ first state gold medal performance in three years, and the first in the 1600 since Michelle Crow’s triumph in 1985 on the way to a classic 1600-3200 state sweep by the best distance runner in school history. Crow won five gold medals, including fourth in a row in the 3200, between 1982 and 1985, not to mention her three individual cross country titles.
Irmo scored 24 points to finish in a tie for eighth place with Wando. It was first Top 10 performance by the Yellow Jackets girls since 2002.
Mary Satterthwaite (6th in the 800), Savannah Radenbaugh (7th in the 3200) and Jemekia Wilson (6th in the 100 hurdles) chipped in individual points in support of Hodges, and all three relays scored. The 3200 relay team of Hodges, Satterthwaite, Radenbaugh and Mary Grace Hutchinson bagged a bronze with a third-place effort.