Bears romp to track regional title

By John Cate -

DANBURY — Just one more test remains in Mount Airy’s quest to win back-to-back 1A state championships in boys’ track.

The Granite Bears had to share last week’s Northwest 1A Conference championship with Walkertown, but there was no sharing on Saturday, when the teams met again in the Midwest Regional, also held on the track at North Stokes High School. Mount Airy stormed to the victory, scoring 119 team points for a decisive victory over the Wolfpack, who placed second overall with 74 points.

As usual, the boys’ regional was dominated by Northwest Conference teams. Atkins finished third with 52 points and the hosts placed fourth with 49. No other team scored more than 38 points.

There was no one huge standout for the Bears, but a group of individual performers who kept adding to the team’s point total in nearly every event. Mount Airy had just one victory in the running events, that coming when Grayson Corbin and Austin Tumbarello went 1-2 in the 400 meters, but Malik Frost was third in the 100 and fifth in the 200, while Jonathan Smith was fourth in the 100 and and Donavon Greene was third in the 200. Christian Vernon added a point with a sixth-place finish in the 1600, as did Jackson Tumbarello in the 300 hurdles.

In the 4×100 relay, Frost, Chris Cogdill, Jeremiah Rosser and Smith placed second to the Wolfpack, while Corbin, Harrison Joyce and the two Tumbarellos took third in the 4×400 with Walkertown nowhere to be found.

More solid performances followed in the field events. Greene was second by two inches to Denzel Hayes of Walkertown in the high jump, and second by three inches to the Wolfpack’s Haji McDaniels in the long jump. Jackson Tumbarello claimed third place in the pole vault, an event where none of the other contenders scored. McDaniels also won the triple jump for the Wolfpack, but Corbin came in fourth.

The boys’ shot put was a 1-2 finish for defending state champion and runner-up Gabriel King and Malcolm Malone, with King winning by 22 inches. Malone was another 21 inches ahead of the third-place finisher. In the discus, Brandon Boyles of North Stokes upset King, who is also the defending state champ in that event, 145-10 to 145-0. East Surry’s Elyjah Thomas managed to get between King and Malone, who placed fourth.

The 4×200 relay finished things up, and it was a Bear romp, with Corbin, Frost, Green and Austin Tumbarello winning by .81 second over Atkins’ top team. East Surry was sixth in that event, with A.J. Bruton, Stephen Gosnell, Quincy Smith and Elijah Wright.

The Cardinals also had a fifth-place finish from Gosnell in the 100.

Mount Airy’s girls finished fourth in their half of the regional, which was won by North Stokes with 118 points. Winston-Salem Prep was second and Queens Grant third.

Hanne Cooke had the lone regional title for the Lady Bears, taking the 1600 meters by more than three seconds over Hannah Crawford of South Davidson. Cooke also placed second in the 3200. Quite a few points were also scored by Madeline Mayfield, who was third in the 100 and 200, second in the 400, and third in the high jump for a total of 26 points all by herself. Shalin Revels finished fifth in the 400 and sixth in the 200, while Tatyana Long was fifth in the shot put.

Those who qualified for the state championships will advance to next week’s finals on Saturday at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of N.C. A&T University in Greensboro. The Granite Bear boys should be in strong contention to defend their title.

By John Cate

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