Suffolk athletes qualify for regionals

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

King’s Fork 4x200 and 4x400 relay team member Noah Johnson hands off to teammate Andrew Gould during practice on Thursday at King’s Fork High School. Both relay teams qualified for regionals, which begin today at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton.

Lakeland and Nansemond River produced district champions and all three schools including King’s Fork had team members that posted regional qualifying marks at last week’s 2013 Southeastern District Track and Field Championships in Hampton.

Competitors had to place in the top six in individual events to qualify for today and tomorrow’s Eastern Regional Championships, and relay teams had to place in the top three.

Nansemond River freshman Brandee Johnson was district champion in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.24 seconds. In addition to that event, she also qualified to compete today in the 300-meter dash, coming in second at districts.

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She was one of five NR girls to qualify for regionals. Sophomore Kara Lyles will be competing in the 300-meter dash, senior Kieaira Middleton will race in the 500-meter long sprint, junior Mia McClain will run in the 55-meter dash and sophomore Zakiya Rashid will participate in the shot put.

The Nansemond River girls’ 4×200 meter relay team claimed first at districts, completing the race in 1:44.20. The team is made up of Johnson, Lyles, McClain and Middleton.

NR head coach Justin Byron was particularly proud of this relay team, which was decked out in attention-getting jump suits. He got them for the girls as a challenge to go for first place and make this a memorable final Southeastern District championship meet, since the next year’s realignment will change the way area schools are divided.

“They came into the meet as the No. 3 team in our district and when we left the meet that day, they were the No. 3 team in the state,” Byron said.

On the boys’ side for Nansemond River, senior Nathaniel Chandler qualified for regionals in the 500-meter dash, and fellow senior Jason Philson qualified in the 55-meter dash.

Those two runners helped form the 4×400 team, which also made it to this weekend by coming in second. It involved cutting their time down by about seven seconds to cross the finish line in 3:32.77. The other two runners on the team are Kadeem Middleton and Lawson Garner.

Lakeland’s 4×800 meter relay team won the district championship with a team that included juniors Alexis and Jamee Albright, Kristen Vick and Alexus Copeland

“They all stepped it up and hopefully we can continue and get things right for this regional championship,” Lakeland head coach Kevin Knight said.

Knight was happy with how his team performed, even though they qualified fewer athletes for regionals than in some years.

He was particularly pleased by the young competitors that placed highly enough to compete this weekend. Freshman Kiera Rountree came in fifth in the triple jump and first-time jumper Antonio Boone, a sophomore, came in sixth in the same event.

King’s Fork had several qualify despite a crammed schedule leading up to districts. The week prior, the teams participated in a district meet then had a two-day invitational on Friday and Saturday at Virginia Tech.

“And then we had the district championship that Tuesday, so it was a lot for them,” coach Ruchelle Ricks said.

The boys’ 4×200 and 4×400 teams both made it to regionals, and both teams included the same athletes: juniors Patrick Boone, Andrew Gould, Darrell Johnson and senior Noah Johnson.

The girls’ 4×200 and 4×400 teams also made the cut. The 4×200 features Brittany Dickens, Courtney Ricks, Gabrielle Snipes and Roneka Spady, and the 4×400 includes Kana Hashigami, Danielle Hill, Ricks and Spady.

Individually, Snipes, a junior, will be at regionals competing in the 55-meter dash and the long jump. Senior Te’Shaibrah Myles will go for first in the pole vault, and sophomore Hannah Hinson will compete in the shot put.

For the boys, it will be Gould in the 500 meters, Noah Johnson in the 300, Boone in the long jump and junior Brandon Gipson in the 1,000-meter run.

The 2013 Eastern Region Championships begin today at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton and will conclude tomorrow.


Women’s Team Rankings — 15 Events Scored


1) Western Branch 179

2) Grassfield 108

3) Hickory 73

4) Nansemond River 48

5) Great Bridge 45

6) Kings Fork 35

7) Indian River 33

8) Deep Creek 29

9) Lakeland 16

10) Oscar Smith 8


Men’s Team Rankings — 15 Events Scored


1) Western Branch 160

2) Grassfield 141

3) Oscar Smith 99

4) Hickory 54

5) Deep Creek 45

6) Kings Fork 39

7) Nansemond River 22

8) Great Bridge 8

9) Indian River 6

10) Lakeland 4