Spring Valley and Dorman are the top contenders for the Class 4A boys track and field state championship this weekend at Harry Parone Stadium.
The Vikings, who finished second a year ago to Fort Dorchester, enters with the goal of securing its first state title since 2003. The Cavaliers from the Spartanburg area, have failed to crack the Top 10 since claiming back-to-back championships in 2007-08.
On paper, Dorman may have a slight edge – a case of quality over quantity. The Cavaliers have big scoring potential, thanks to senior sprinter Charone Peake, long jumpers Braxton Drummond and Bryson Brown and two top relay teams.
Peake could sweep the 100 and 200, while Drummond finished first and Brown was third at the state qualifying meet last week. Ccarrington Fernandors can contribute valuable in the 110 hurdles. Dorman’s 4x100 relay was the top qualifying unit, and the 4x400 team placed third.
Spring Valley will need a solid, top-to-bottom performance to contend. The Vikings earned 11 entries in various events at the state qualifier, but have no top seeds.
The 4x100 relay team finished second, as did Joey Cole in the pole vault. Bradley Gibson (400) and Christian Lattimore (pole vault) were the team’s third-place men at the qualifier.
Akeim Barber (100), William Ivey (800-1600), Mac Stedman (shot put) and Carlos Bryant (shot put) are the other Viking individual entries. Unlike Dorman, Spring Valley qualified all three relay teams.
The 2011 state meet is shaping up as a good one for Midlands teams. In addition to Spring Valley, Dutch Fork, Blythewood and Irmo all have legitimate shots at Top 10 finishes with Ridge View and Lexington possibly in the mix, as well.
Dutch Fork has a chance to top its best-ever state meet performance – 48 points, fourth place in 2001, The Silver Foxes will ride the performances of Roland Hakes (1600-3200), Traih Campbell-Provo (100-200), C.J. Cannon (triple jump) and David Sutton (shot put).
Hakes is on a roll, winning the 1600 title last spring and adding a cross country championship in the fall.
Blythewood is enjoying a rebound season, and hopes to return to the Top 10 after managing just eight points at state a year ago. Sprinter Michael Horn is a medal contender in the 100 and Blythewood has the top qualifying 4x400 relay team.
Irmo has potential champions Kevin Baxter (110 hurdles) and Shaquille Counts (shot put) leading the way.
Distance runners Joe Keitt of Ridge View and Colby Coulter of Lexington are also potential gold medal winners. The cross country rivals will duel one last time for 3200 honors on Saturday.