DANBURY — The Mount Airy Lady Bears have turned North Stokes’ stadium into their home away from home.
A week after beating everyone in the Northwest 1A Conference in the league championship meet over in Viking country, the Lady Bears headed back on Saturday to compete in the 1A Midwest Regional. The result was more hardware for the Mount Airy trophy case.
The Lady Bears captured regional titles in four different events and claimed six other medals during the regional meet, in which much of their competition came from other Northwest Conference teams that they had already beaten last week and during the regular season. Two of the titles were claimed by athletes who were not considered the favorites going into the meet, and these performances helped lift the Lady Bears over the top.
Three of the four titles came in the field events, where both Madeline Mayfield and Kathlyn Mauck came in as the top seeds in different events. Mayfield, the top seed in the triple jump, delivered a regional title with a jump of 35’3, 2.75 inches ahead of runner-up Jenna Robinson of Gray Stone Day. Mauck, the reigning 1A state indoor champion in the high jump, took the outdoor regional title in a dogfight with Lakayla Birst of North Rowan, Mayfield and Robinson. The latter two both topped out at 4’10, with Mayfield placed third on tiebreakers. Mauck and Birst cleared the bar all the way to 5’2, where Mauck prevailed on the tiebreaker.
Mauck was also the top seed in the pole vault, but settled for second place at the regional behind Hailey Sheppard of North Stokes. This still was plenty good enough to qualify her for the state finals in that event.
However, Lady Bear senior Tatyana Long, who already played on the state’s best 1A golf team in the fall and the best basketball team in the winter, pulled off an upset in the shot put. Long had enjoyed a solid season and was seeded third in the regional, but her best was nearly four feet behind top-seeded Cierra Daniel of North Moore. On Saturday, Long had a new season-best put of 32’7 and beat Daniel by 19 inches to win the meet. She went on to earn a second medal in the discus, where her throw of 92’10 was six feet and four inches longer than anything she had previously done. Seeded eighth, she captured the bronze medal behind North Stokes’ Sheppard and Josie Stanberry.
Two other Mount Airy athletes scored at the meet in the field events, those being Leslie Sizemore, who was eighth in the discus and 10th in the shot; and Haley and Breauna Moser, who finished 10th and 11th in the triple jump, respectively.
The field events in the first half of the meet gave the Lady Bears a chance, but they needed strong performances in the running events from a thin contingent of athletes. They got them.
Hanne Cooke was the No. 2 seed in the 1600 meters, but wasn’t impressed by that, so she decided to beat her season-best by 7.75 seconds and finish first instead. This was just part of a fine day on the track for the junior, who placed second in the 800 and fourth in the 3200, matching her seeded performance in each of those events. Mayfield was back on the track after her strong outing in the morning, entered in two spring events where she exceeded expectations. The former basketball and track state champ was seeded fourth in the 200 but came in second, and fifth in the 400 but captured bronze instead.
Mayfield, Long, Mauck and Cooke were not the only ones with an “MA” on their uniform to walk out of North Stokes with an individual title. In the men’s 400, Austin Tumbarello claimed the gold in a time of 50.06 seconds, taking the win by three-quarters of a second over Brandon Ellington of Community School of Davidson. Tumbarello also competed in a 200 that had a strong NW1A flavor to it. He captured bronze in that event with a time of 23.02, just .04 behind Stephen Gosnell of East Surry, although Julius Smith of Albemarle claimed the win. The 400 also produced another Bear medalist, as Grayson Corbin finished third behind Ellington.
Two Bears medaled in the field events. Corbin was third in the triple jump and Manley Stovall was second in the shot.
Austin Eaton qualified for the regional and placed seventh in the 1600 meters and eighth in the 3200, while Chris Cogdill was eighth in the 100.
The Bears also entered three relay teams and two of them medaled. In the 4×400, Corbin, Austin Tumbarello, Cole Shelton and Jackson Tumbarello were seeded second behind Albemarle, and those teams indeed finished 1-2. The 4×200 also went chalk, as Albemarle, North Rowan and the Bears were seeded 1-2-3 and finished up that way. It was the same four runners for Mount Airy, who came up .29 second short of the silver.
No East Surry women competed Saturday, but the Cardinals did have several entries and qualified a few runners for states.
Gosnell, in addition to his silver in the 200, also finished third in the 100. Dylan Sawyers was second in the discus and fifth in the shot.
The Cardinals had teams in the 4×100 and 4×800 relays. The 4×800 team placed fifth, with Timothy Gosnell, Adrian Caro, Quincy Smith and Landon Smith running. The 4×100 team placed fourth, with AJ Bruton, Stephen Gosnell, Smith and Wright.
Elijah Wright entered both hurdles events and placed fifth in the 300 and 10th in the 110.
State qualifiers will compete in the NCHSAA 1A state track and field championships on Friday, May 18 at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.