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Team War picks up national titles

Members of Nansemond River High School’s track team, running as Team War, took Greensboro, N.C., by storm this weekend, winning at least two national championships and setting at least one Virginia record at the New Balance Nationals.

The girls’ 4×200 relay team of Dajae Goulet, Morgan Towe, Syaira Richardson and Brandeé Johnson ran the fourth-fastest U.S. time ever in that event on Saturday, blistering past Miami Northwest largely on the strength of a huge final-leg blitz by Johnson. The effort was more than enough to give the girls first place in the event.

In Friday’s events, Kori Carter won the girls’ 100-meter hurdles for the “emerging elite” division, clocking in at 14.14. Also, Jasmine Watson, Karah Foster, Kiara Howard and Amirah Jones took first place in that division in the 800 sprint medley.

“It’s a division designated for kids who are just on the cusp of qualifying for the national championship,” coach Justin Byron said. “Her winning that was huge, because it was her first year hurdling.”

The girls’ relay team’s 1:34.23 in the 4×200 relay performance beat their old Virginia state record by two seconds, and it was a big part of a Saturday that came with high expectations. As of mid-afternoon, the girls still had the 800-meter sprint medley relay, the shuttle hurdle relay, the 4×100-meter relay, and the 4×400-meter relay to run in the meet.

“I was trying to put my team in a good spot,” Goulet said in an interview for MileSpit.com. “My goal was to come out and execute my race.”

Johnson told an interviewer from MileSplit that she wanted to make sure that she did her part in the race by helping her team finish.

“Coming off (the final handoff), I just wanted to execute and keep running through the finish line, and when I looked back and seen the time, I was happier than anything,” she said.

Since the national championships occur outside of the high school season, the Nansemond River team could not run under the school’s name. But whatever it called itself, Team War distinguished itself both Friday and Saturday.

“Technically we can’t run as a high school team,” Byron said Friday night. “But it was a solid day.”

Daiquan Faircloth, Jevon Waller, Tyrese Ellis and Kevin Tohak took ninth place in the boy’s 1,600-meter sprint medley. And in the girls’ 1,600-meter sprint medley, Anya Monroe, Asia Crocker, Brene’ Donaldson and Amirah Jones finished in 11th place.

In the girls’ freshman 400-meter dash, Kori Carter finished eighth, with a time of 57.62, and Tre’ Breh Scott-McKoy finished 21st, at 58.83

Byron was happy that both the girls’ and boys’ teams had performed so well.

“We’re excited about the execution,” he said. “This is the highest finish that the boys’ relay team has finished at a national meet, so I think this shows progress and promise. We have a strong future to come.”

The New Balance Outdoor Nationals continues today at North Carolina A&T University.