With five runners in the Class 4A state championship meet at Spring Valley on Saturday, the Ridge View girls squad placed fifth, the top local performance of the weekend.
The Blazers were buoyed by a bronze-medal finish in the 400 relay and a win in the 1,600 relay. They notched 42 points in the meet while winner J.L. Mann posted 78 points.
For the second year in a row, the Ridge View girls 1,600 relay team set the state record in the event with a 3 minute, 48.81 second finish. Their 2014 record was 3:49.07.
“It was so important to us, having set the record last year and being state champions in the same event last year, to come out here and repeat,” said junior Faith McKie, a bronze medalist in the 400 hurdles.
The Blazers’ relay squad received a strong first leg lead from freshman Johnaida Eliscar, and McKie’s second leg held a 10-meter lead for the handoff to Lanaya Martin, a freshman who was not a part of last year’s title squad and does not run the open 400.
“It was hard, but I felt great. I was just trying to get my fourth leg a head start so she could finish strong,” said Martin. “I was nervous the whole day thinking about it.”
Martin slipped behind going through the first turn, and trailed 10 to 20 meters down the back stretch, but she kicked her way back into the lead on the straightway.
On the anchor leg, Hillcrest’s Riley Egbula chased down Bush on the final turn, but the Blazers’ junior was undaunted. Bush found another gear on the final straightway and lost Egbula off her heels in the final 10 meters. Bush won the 400 in 54.42, edging Egbula by two-hundredths of a second. Bush also earned bronze in the 200.
“I feel amazing and kind of surprised,” Bush said. “After I won the open (400), I knew Riley was going to be coming after me – and she did.”
Beaufort won the Class 3A girls meet with 88 points, while Darlington and Wren tied for second with 43 points. Lower Richland was the top local team in that meet, placing 12th with 23 points.
In the Class 3A boys meet, Hanahan topped Hilton Head 97-75. Lower Richland and Camden each scored 16 points to tie for 13th.
Spring Valley claimed 31 points to tie with Byrnes and Goose Creek for sixth in the Class 4A boys meet. Wando won the state championship with 65.5 points, while runner-up Northwestern scored 46.
Spartanburg’s Tavien Feaster won the 100 in 10.42 and captured gold in the 200 with a state record 21.11 finish.
There were a handful of local individual winners.
Dutch Fork’s Rebekah Smith won the Class 4A 100 with a time of 11.88 seconds. Spring Valley junior Christian Hithe – a member of the Vikings’ state championship basketball squad – won the long jump with a 5-foot, 6-inch leap. In Class 4A boys competition, White Knoll’s Bryan Grumbach won gold in the 800, teammate Jordan Griffin won the 400 hurdles, River Bluff’s D.J. Ledell won the triple jump and Spring Valley’s Ja’lon Williams earned gold with a 172-foot discus throw.
In the Class 3A girls meet, Lower Richland senior Princess Hammett won the 100 with a 14.70 time and took silver in the 400 with a 1:05.54 finish. Gilbert’s Demetre Irving won the Class 3A boys high jump with a 6-6 jump.