PUMPKIN CENTER – Track and field athletes from Lincoln County’s four public high schools gathered at North Lincoln March 27 for the annual county championship meet.
The host Knights dominated the boys meet, collecting 134 overall points, more than double that of second-place East Lincoln. It was East Lincoln that prevailed in the girls meet, however, as the Lady Mustangs edged North Lincoln 93.5 - 91 to claim bragging rights.
As expected, North Lincoln’s boys outclassed the competition in the long-distance events, sweeping every podium position but one in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.
North Lincoln’s Jason Risse won the 800 with a time of 2:01.70, while teammates Johnny Grant and Miles Phillips finished second and third, respectively. Alec Nguyen took first place in the 3,200 for the Knights, finishing in 10:19.30, with North Lincoln’s Alex Wulfhurst and Holden McLaughlin rounding out the podium. Like in the 800, Grant and Phillips finished second and third in the 1,600, crossing the line just seconds behind Lincolnton’s Daniel Hopkins.
Risse was one of two North Lincoln athletes on the boys side to claim victory in multiple events, finishing first in the 400 before winning the 800. Not to be outdone, North’s Jake Soorus won three field events after coming up just short on the track, finishing second in the 100-meter dash by just fractions of a second. Soorus was dominant in the field, placing first in the long jump, shot put and discus.
Other first-place finishers for the Knights included Jalen Ward in the 200-meter dash, Landon Beard in the 300-meter hurdles and Alex Schmerber in the pole vault. The Knights also won three of the four relay events, claiming victory in the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800.
While East Lincoln’s boys didn’t enjoy the same team success as its girls team, several Mustangs starred individually. Sophomore Langdon McCall delivered East Lincoln’s best performance on the track, winning the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 17.24, while Quentin Smith and Kobe Thomas grabbed victories in the high jump and triple jump, respectively.
The Lady Mustangs were able to prevent North Lincoln from sweeping the meet, and senior Michaela Gammon played an integral role in leading East to the victory.
Gammon staked her claim as the county’s top distance runner, earning victories in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. She was able to out-run Alyssa Galvin and Shay Rooney of North Lincoln in the 800 and 1,600, scoring crucial points for East.
Hope Hembree delivered a pair of victories for the Lady Mustangs on the track, finishing first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:06.14 and the 300-meter hurdles at 55.04. Kayla Jackson led the way for East Lincoln in the field events, winning the long jump with a leap of 13-10.00.
North Lincoln’s girls came up just short despite a dominant showing from Olivia Correa, who won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18.94, while also earning victories in the triple jump and pole vault. Correa was the only individual North athlete to win her event, but the Lady Knights nearly swept the four relay races, winning all but the 4x100.
The Knights and Mustangs will meet on the track once more, when the teams that comprise the South Fork 2A converge on North Lincoln High School for the conference championship meet Wednesday, May 1.