Bears dominate NW track meet

By John Cate -

DANBURY — Officially, it was the Northwest 1A Conference Track and Field championships. In reality, it was the Granite Bear Invitational, and the stadium at North Stokes High School might as well have been called Wallace Shelton East.

Mount Airy romped to both titles last week, as the two-time defending 1A state champions took the male portion of the meet by 30 points over South Stokes, and the girls staved off a bit of a challenge from the host school and won their part of the meet by 20, 168-148.

The Lady Bears’ Madeline Mayfield won all four of her events easily, taking the conference title in the 100, 200, 400 and the triple jump. Mayfield, a senior who already holds four state championships, two in basketball and two in indoor track and field, was named as the NW1A Women’s Runner of the Year. On the men’s side of meet, junior Austin Tumbarello also won four gold medals, winning the 200 and 400 meters and also taking part on the winning 4×400 and 4×200 relay teams.

For the Mount Airy girls, the title came down to the 4×400 relay late in the meet. In this event, Kennedy Gwyn, Claire Hauser, Ahlasiya Murphy and Breanna Moser needed a win to clinch the championship. Moser, running the anchor leg, got the baton about 70 meters behind Skylar Murray of North Stokes, but caught up to Murray and passed her in the home stretch to win the event for the Lady Bears.

Kathlyn Mauck, the reigning indoor 1A state high jump champion, doubled up on conference titles, winning both the high jump and pole vault crowns against Hailey Sheppard of North Stokes. Hanne Cooke won the 1600 and was second in the 800 and 3200.

The Lady Bears got off to a fast start in the sprint events, but then allowed the field to come back to them in the hurdles. Mauck scored one point for her team by placing sixth in the 300 hurdles, but everyone else who ran in those events was from Stokes or Forsyth counties.

Mount Airy started putting up points in the relays, where Kamani Ward, Gwyn, Hauser and Murphy finished second to Winston-Salem Prep in the 4×100. The Lady Bears won the title in four of the six field events, thanks to Mayfield’s win in the triple jump, Mauck’s two wins, and a victory in the shot put by Tatyana Long.

The boys’ half of the meet started out in Cardinal red, however. East Surry sophomore Stephen Gosnell won the 100-meter title by more than two-tenths of a second. However, a third- and a fourth-place finish by the Bears’ Chris Cogdill and Cameron Moore meant they got 10 points as well. Then Tumbarello beat Gosnell in the 200 by .03 second, and things definitely started looking good for the defending champs. Tumbarello and Grayson Corbin finished 1-2 in the 400.

North Stokes’ Jacob McGee swept the distance events, taking the 800, 1600 and 3200, but the Bears’ Austin Eaton finished second in the 1600 to receive All-Conference honors as a freshman. He also placed fourth in the 800 and third in the 3200.

East Surry won the 4×100 relay title behind AJ Bruton, Logan Ray, Gosnell and Elijah Wright, beating out Mount Airy’s Cogdill, Jackson Tumbarello, Cameron Moore and Dre Dobson. However, a slightly different Bear lineup with both Tumbarello brothers joining Cogdill and Moore won the 4×200 title, and then Corbin, Christian Vernon and both Tumbarellos won the 4×400 as well.

Gosnell ended up in a three-way tie for the high jump title, but lost to South Stokes’ Kaleb Mitchell on a tiebreaker. Corbin claimed victory in the triple jump by more than four feet. Manley Stovall missed the shot put title for Mount Airy by less than a foot, settling for silver behind Michael Overstreet of North Stokes. Stovall was fourth in the discus, while East Surry’s Dylan Sawyers was third in both events.

A total of 20 Mount Airy athletes won All-Conference honors of some sort during the meet.

East Surry finished third in the boys’ part of the meet with 83 points, edging out Prep by three points. North Stokes had 68 and Bishop McGuinness 62. On the girls’ side, East Surry didn’t score. Prep was a distant third with 87 points, followed by South Stokes (45) and Bishop (37).

The top finishers in the conference meet will go on to the regionals on Saturday, also at North Stokes High School. The meet will begin with the field events at 10 a.m.

By John Cate

Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.

Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.