Ridge View is looking to make amends at this year Class 4A girls track and field state meet at Harry Parone Stadium.
A year ago, the Blazers had its worst state meet performance ever, scoring just 14 points and missing the Top 10 cut for the first time in program history. With a strong group of qualifiers emerging from last week’s qualifying meet on the state meet track, Ridge View anticipates a return to historical levels of performance.
Sophomore SheKara Martin is one major reason for the quick turnaround. Martin is qualified the 100- and 200-meter sprints and as a member of two solid relay teams. She enters the 100 with the top qualifying time. The Blazer 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams finished first and second, respectively, at last week’s tineup.
Dutch Fork and Irmo are the other Midlands entries with Top 10 potential.
Senior Taina LaPorte is the Dutch Fork standout, a qualifier in three individual events. She is a two-time defending champion in the high jump and has medal aspirations in the triple jump and the 100 hurdles, as well.
Senior Jemekia Wilson is key to Irmo’s plan to making the Top 10 cut for the third year in a row. Wilson is strong in both hurdles races and in the high jump. Sophomore distance runner Mary Grace Hutchinson is the only other Yellow Jackets qualifier.
Spring Valley and Richland Northeast both have just one qualifier.
Of the two, Spring Valley’s Xylina McDaniel should have the biggest impact. McDaniel was the shot put champion in 2009, but slipped back to third place a year ago. The junior basketball standout enters with the top qualifying performance in the shot put, the second best in the discus.
RNE’s lone competitor is junior sprinter Nyeisha Dease who has a solid shot at earning a medal in the 200.
Lexington and Blythewood also will be represented. Lexington sophomore Meri Heneage had the top qualifying time in the 1600 last week. Heneage picked up a bronze medal last year with a third-place finish.