DOBSON — Rex Mitchell Track at Surry Central High School played host to the 2A Midwest Regional Track Meet on Saturday. Temperatures neared 90 degrees Fahrenheit as 24 girls and boys squads gathered in hopes of qualifying for the state championships the following week.
Teams ranged from Surry County all the way down to the South Carolina border. That said, only the top four competitors from each event could move on.
Surry Central and North Surry will both be represented in a number of events at the state finals. Two Greyhound boys and one girl are headed to Greensboro in three different events, while two boys and two girls from the host Golden Eagles will compete in six events.
Highlighting Surry County’s representation at the meet was Surry Central sophomore Sarah Brown. Brown started the day with a first-place finish in girls pole vault competition. She finished three-feet higher than the second-place finisher with a commanding 12-foot vault. Brown was the only sophomore, male or female, to finish first in an individual event at the regional meet. Freshman Alyssa Thompson Rowe of Lexington was the only other underclassman to win an event at the meet, finishing first in the 300 meter hurdles.
Lexington’s Rowe won 300 meter hurdles with a time of 44.55 seconds. Brown qualified for her second event with a third-place finish in the event, just 2.65 seconds behind Rowe. Brown’s final qualifying event was the 200 meter dash, in which she finished third. Brown’s time of 26.27 seconds was just .38 second slower than the second-place runner and .80 second behind the event’s winner.
Brown reached the state finals in pole-vaulting last year and was the only freshman to finish in the top-10. Brown reached a height of 9’6”, which was good enough for third place.
Peggy Prevette followed up Brown on the pole vaulting leader board with a fourth-place finish. Prevette, a freshman, finished just six inches shy of a three-way tie for second place behind Brown.
Both Golden Eagle boys that qualified for states are making competed in the state finals last year. Nolan McMillen competed in the boys 4×400 meter relay in 2017 and finished ninth overall with his team. This season, McMillen is competing as an individual and finished third in the boys 300 meter hurdles with a time of 40.71 seconds. In 2017, that time would be good enough for a seventh-place finish at states.
The final representative from Surry Central is Erick Ramirez-Ramos. Ramirez-Ramos finished first in the 3200 meter run at regionals with a time of 10:01.53. Ramirez-Ramos competed in the 3200 meter run at the 2017 finals and finished 13th with a time of 10:24.54.
There were a number of Eagle runners that placed in Saturday’s meet but finished outside the top four. The girls 4×800 relay team of Brooklyn Lester, Peggy Prevette, Carlie Via, and Alycia Billings finished in ninth place, Ivan Antunez was .22 seconds from qualifying in the boys 110 meter hurdles, and two seconds from doing so in the 300 meter hurdles, and Brooklyn Lester finished 10th in the girls 800 meter run.
For North Surry, one athlete is looking for his second track state championship in the past few months. Greyhound senior Ryan Eldridge captured the state title in shot put for indoor track this past winter with a throw of 52-feet-5-inches. Had Eldridge replicated his championship-winning throw, he would have taken first place in the regional meet. Eldridge was still able to finish second with a throw of 51-feet-.5-inches, just 9.5 inches behind Central Davidson’s Alex Trexler. In the 2017 outdoor state championship, Eldridge was the only non-senior to throw for more than 50 feet.
The second boy to qualify for North Surry was Darius Duncan. Although he is a senior, Duncan did not compete in the 2017 state championship. This year, Duncan finished fourth in the regional high jump by clearing 5”10’. Duncan finished just two inches shy of third place.
The final Greyhound that will compete in the state championship is Myia West. West competed in the 2017 state meet and finished ninth in discus throw. In the 2018 regionals, West improved her throw by nearly four feet for a second-place finish behind Patience Marshall. West nearly qualified in shot put as well, finishing just 2-feet-six inches behind the third place winner.
Eli Riggs of North Surry was just 16 seconds away from qualifying in the boys 1600 meter run.
The state meet will be held on Saturday, May 19 at North Carolina A&T State University.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith