PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry was the host for Thursday’s Surry County Track and Field Championships, but the five-school meet saw the Mount Airy Granite Bears rule the roost in both the boys’ and girls’ portions of the meet.
The boys’ half of the meet was a showdown between the defending state 1A champion Bears and Surry Central, where the two teams swapped dominating performances in the running events. Central, a powerhouse in distance running events led by reigning multiple state champion Daniel Alvarez-Orlachia and Erick Ramirez-Ramos, routed their closest rivals 37-1 in those events. However, the likes of Donavon Greene, Malik Frost and Jonathan Smith turned the tables to the tune of 52-10 in the sprints. The Bears’ advantage in the field events, where N.C. State recruit and reigning state finals MVP Gabriel King loomed, lifted Mount Airy to a 145-111 win over the Golden Eagles.
North Surry finished third in the boys’ half of the meet with 47 points, followed by East Surry with 39 and Elkin with 10.
The girls’ half of the meet didn’t have as many competitors this season, but the Lady Bears rode quality over quantity to score a 90-57 win over the Lady Eagles. North Surry was again third, with 32 points, followed by Elkin with 22 and East Surry with 15.
According to Mount Airy head coach Clarence Cropps, the Bears showed the kind of form they will need in order to defend their championship. Much more competition remains before the state finals in Greensboro on May 20, including the May 13 regional at North Stokes High School, but the team should be able to make a formidable defense.
“I think they have a good chance at repeating if they can stay healthy,” said Cropps, “but a lot can happen. We did perform really well on Thursday, and it was a really good meet for both the boys and the girls.”
A year ago, the Lady Bears also led the state championship meet at the midway point, but were unable to contest a lot of the later events and ended up fourth. On Thursday, strong performances in the sprint events and the field events were enough for the Lady Bears to prevail.
“We don’t have a lot of girls, but the ones we have had a lot of firsts and seconds,” Cropps said.
The first three events of the meet were boys’ events. The Bears were actually shut out in the first two, as Central’s Joe Hernandez, Nolan McMillian, Ramirez-Ramos and Ezkilo Resendiz won the 4×400 relay and then the Greyhounds’ Kaulin Smith captured the win in the 110 hurdles. However, event three was a sweep for Mount Airy. Smith, Frost, Jeremiah Rosser, Gregory Greene and Grayson Corbin took the first five positions and all 22 available points in the boys 100-meter dash.
The Lady Bears’ Shalin Revels followed that win up by kicking to first place in the girls’ 100, winning by nearly a full second.
Mount Airy then swept the 4×200 relays. Donavon Greene, Smith, Austin Tumbarello and Frost did the honors for the boys, while Madeline Mayfield, Revels, Claire Hauser and Kennedy Gwyn won the girls’ relay uncontested.
The Bear winning streak continued for a while after that.
Hanne Cook won the girls’ 1600 by 17.5 seconds, and then the boys’ 4×100 was another Mount Airy win, courtesy of Chris Cogdill, Dylan Vernon, Gregory Greene and Rosser.
Alvarez-Orlachia stepped in to restore order in the boys’ 400, where teammate Martin Palacios came in fourth, with Bears Austin Tumbarello and Corbin in between them. However, Mayfield prevailed by 2.4 seconds in the girls’ 400, in a time that would have been seventh in the boys’ meet.
Jackson Tumbarello won the boys’ 300 hurdles for Mount Airy, but Central’s Nolan McMillian, Ivan Antunez and Ricardo Lara finished 2-4-5 to outscore the Bears in this event.
East Surry’s Abbie Koons ran to victory in the girls’ 300 hurdles.
Mount Airy was shut out in the boys’ 800, a win for Alvarez-Orlachia by 1.1 seconds over Chris Lomax of Elkin. In the girls’ 800, it was Cooke again, by 9.2 seconds over Alma Rodriguez of North Surry.
The boys’ 200 was another display of Bear Power — Donavon Greene, Smith, Frost, Austin Tumbarello and Corbin finished in that order and claimed the full 22 team points. Mayfield then won the girls’ version by a half-second over the Lady Eagles’ Sarah Brown, with Revels third.
Ramirez-Ramos prevailed in the boys’ 3200, beating North Surry’s Eli Riggs by 2.4 seconds. Brooklyn Lester won the girls’ 3200 and made it a Central sweep.
With the meet coming down the stretch, Alvarez-Orlachia, Tyler Fitzgerald, Palacios and NaShon Smith won the boys’ 4×400 for the Eagles over some of the Bears’ top runners, prevailing by 2.1 seconds. However, Mount Airy wouldn’t let up. Donavon Greene beat North’s Darius Duncan by two inches in the high jump, and then Mayfield won the girls’ version as well.
The Bears predictably dominated the boys’ shot, where last year’s 1-2 finishers in the state finals, King and Malcolm Malone, were 1-2 in the county championships, King winning by 5.5 inches with next-best finisher nearly four feet short of them.
Mount Airy’s Tatyana Long won the girls’ shot by five inches over North’s Myia West. King won the boys’ discus next, beating East Surry’s Elyjah Thomas with Malone third. Then West turned the tables on Long, beating her in the girls’ discus. The Lady Bears’ Leslie Sizemore once again took the bronze behind them.
Donavon Greene won the boys’ long jump, with Central’s Sarah Brown as the girls’ winner. Corbin defeated Kaulin Smith in the triple jump. Defending state indoor champion and high school All-American Fitzgerald won the boys’ pole vault by six feet for Central, and then Brown and Lester finished 1-2 for Central in the girls’ portion of the vault.