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Demiel hurdles to state gold

Lakeland junior JaQuan Demiel won the state championship in the 300-meter hurdles during the VHSL (Virginia High School League) Group AAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon at Sports Backers Stadium.

Demiel won the title in 37.83 seconds. He shaved time off his personal best in the event, just as he did in winning the Eastern Region championship two weeks ago and just as he’s done all spring long.

Demiel gained the lead right from the start and held off a challenge down the final straightaway as Cameron Clive of Mount Vernon, in lane four as Demiel was in lane five, narrowed the gap a little, but not enough, over the last two hurdles.

“Back in practice each day, all the guys are about the same speed. So I get that competition and you learn to just be relaxed,” Demiel said.

“My coaches said, and I knew, to just run your race and don’t worry about your competitors,” he said.

The state championship was the big finale to a day of successes for Demiel and the Cavaliers.

“Right now, it just feels real good,” Demiel said about the state crown. “My coaches told me right before ‘there was no pressure on me. If I just run my race, I’d be good.'”

Despite entering the meet with the 12th-fastest 110-meter hurdle time in the field, Demiel reached the finals with a personal-best 14.19 seconds in Friday’s preliminary heats and finished second in the final Saturday in a time of 14.69. Demiel missed another state title by 0.05 seconds as William Fleming’s Vincent Wyatt won the race.

Demiel, along with Donovan Wright, Eric Hargrove and Quentin Gilchrist teamed up to finish sixth in the 4×100-meter relay.

The Cavalier boys team finished sixth in the state. Sixty-three schools recorded points in the boys half of the meet.

All three Suffolk schools had top-five finishers Saturday. Lakeland’s Johniqua Porter finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.96 seconds.

King’s Fork’s Qualitra Brown placed fifth in the 400 meters in 56.30 seconds.

KF’s Hildrew McNair set a personal record by vaulting over 14-feet-0 to finish fifth in the pole vault.

The Bulldog 4×400 team of Tyler Holloway, Joseph Hill, Lawan Brown and Vince Mosby finished seventh.

Ricky Blake was the top Nansemond River finisher for the meet. Blake, a junior, finished fifth in the triple jump Saturday morning with a best mark of 47-feet-10.