The annual SCISA stat track and field championship meet was staged on May 1 at Heathwood Hall with Wilson Hall stealing the Midlands show.
The Barons from Sumter swept the team championships and came away with 11 first-place finishes combined in both divisions. It was the first boy-girl title sweep in SCISA since Wilson Hall last pulled it off in 2004.
The WH boys team pulled away late in the meet to beat second-place Heathwood Hall by a 140-109 margin. It was the sixth state title in seven tries for the Barons since 2004. The individual haul was seven gold medals with Chris Sharp, Blane Russell and Josh Jennings leading the way.
Sharp pulled off an unusual double by winning the 110 hurdles and the shot put. He added a silver medal in the high jump and picked up a bronze in the triple jump. Russell was prevailed in the 100 and 200 sprints and was one the runner-up 4x100 relay team. Jennings was the 800 winner for the second time in three years and contributed legs on the winning 4x800 relay and the third-place 4x400 relay teams.
Robert Rohner and Neyle Noyes also chipped in big points. Rohner struck gold in the 400 and was third in the 100 and 200. Noyes finished second behind Jennings in the 800 and was on the champion 4x800 relay team. Wesley Talley and Scott Harvin were the other members of the winning quartet.
The youthful Barons girls celebrated its first state title since 2004 with an easy 124-91 margin of victory over Ashley Hall. AnnaCrew Kinney was the Wilson Hall star, winning both hurdles races. The other key contributors were Drew Williams and Victoria Thomas. Williams earned gold in the long jump, silver in the 200 and was fourth in the 100. Thomas was the 800 champion, finished third in the high jump and was fourth in the long jump.
The Highlanders boys had a 101-99 lead over Wilson Hall with three events to go before Wilson Hall’s superior depth kicked into gear. Still, it was a strong showing by the Highlanders.
Mac Whalen and Joseph English were the HH gold medal men. Whalen capped a nine-year family run of domination in the pole vault with his fourth straight state title. His winning vault (13-2.5) broke the record he established last year. Whalen also picked up a bronze for a third place finish in the 400 hurdles. English picked up his first-ever state gold medal in the triple jump.
Otherwise, West Summers earned bronze medals in the 1600 and 3200 events, Corey Littlejohn rated a bronze in the high jump, Morgan Whalen picked up a silver in the pole vault and a bronze in the discus and Will Dubose earned a bronze medal in the pole vault and a silver for his part on the second-place 4x800 relay team along with Rob Dozier, Matt Bagnel and Preston Frankston.
The two-time defending state champion Highlanders girls team slipped back to fourth place this season. The highlights were two second-place relay efforts. Grace Hanna Blackstone, Meg Evans, Sarai Gardner and Michelle Daniels teamed up for a silver medal in the 4x100, and the foursome of Sydney Ellen, Leigh Yarborough, Marjorie Foster and Sallie Taylor finished second in the 4x800.
Ellen picked up a silver individually in the 3200. Bronze medal winners included Brooke Grice (3200), Michelle Daniels (200) and Karsen Kocher (pole vault).
The Skyhawks girls finished in fourth place with 61 points, and the boys placed fifth with 50 points.
Kaki Smith (discus) and Mary Etta Castles (pole vault) headlined the Hammond girls performance with first-place efforts. Smith also came away with a bronze medal in the shot put. Castles was the latest Skyhawk pole vault champion, replacing five-time champion Madison Kocher who is now competing at Wake Forest.
Also of note, Danielle Cantey finished third in the 100 and was a member of the second-place 4x400 relay team and Amber Bennett bagged a silver medal by finishing second in the shot put.
On the boys side, Aaron Walters and B.J. Bennett were the Skyhawks headliners.
Walter closed a productive career by running a leg on the winning 4x100 relay team and placing third in the 400. Walters was a member of five gold medal relays teams through the years and he was the open 400 champion last season. Bennett had a productive day with second-place finishes in the two hurdles events.
Beach Corontez, Jordan Kay and Zach Wainwright joined Walters on the gold medal 400 relay.
The two Falcons teams combined for just 14 points, but Hunter Frady provided some excitement with a second-place finish in the 3200. Frady was third in the same event in 2009.