COLUMBIA -- If you listen to Medgar Evers coach Shaun Dietz, he made it sound like a glorified practice session. He ran his girls ragged and they looked like it.
But in the end, Medgar Evers brought all that Brooklyn toughness to South Carolina and ran the lights out at the Taco Bell Classic Saturday at Spring Valley"s Harry Parone Stadium. The Cougars, led by Sandrae Farquharson and Kadecia Baird, won the team title.
Farquharson won the 400 in 55.56 seconds, ran a leg on Medgar Evers' winning 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays and was awarded the meet"s most outstanding track performer. Her biggest competition for the award came from Baird, who won the 200 in 24.75, ran the second leg on the 4x100 and anchored the 4x400.
"They"re training," Dietz said. "They have to get used to the idea that this is outdoor season. "As far as the team getting sharp, this is a start."
And a tremendous start at that. The Cougars just missed the meet record in the 4x100, finishing in 46.96, then winning the 4x400 in 3:49. Their performance in the 4x100 is the best in New York State this season and the 12th-best in the country, despite the fact that Camille Edwards, Baird, Sheniece Daphness and Farquharson couldn"t find anything good to say about the race.
"Nothing was going right today," Daphness said. "We wanted to break the record. That was really the only goal we had. None of our baton passes were good."
That didn"t stop Daphness from making a declaration that Medgar Evers is chasing the New York State record this season – 46.16 by a Natasha Hastings-led A.P. Randolph in 2001. In additon to her leg on the 4x100, Daphness finished eighth in the 200, ran the 100-meter prelims and anchored her school"s 4x400 ‘B" team.
Moise-Joseph was second in 800 in 2:19.67 and raced in the 400, finishing 56.87. Her time would have been good for fourth, but teams were only allowed to enter two athletes per event. Moise-Joseph was Medgar Evers" third in the event – Shakele Seaton also ran – and was considered an exhibition runner. Seaton was awarded fourth in 57.04. Seaton, Farquharson, Moise-Joseph and Baird, the defending indoor national champions, then dusted the field in the 4x400 in 3:50.34, the ninth-fastest time in the nation this season.
"We're trying to get these meets in as workouts," Moise-Joseph said. "We're looking at the bigger picture. This is like a practice with really high-intensity."
She sounded like her coach.
"My ultimate goal for this team is for them to be No. 1 in the country outdoors, as they were indoors," Dietz said. "I could have easily put them in two events. But that wouldn"t get them ready for later in the season. … I'm happy with what I"m seeing. But I wouldn't say I'm impressed."
Impressive described Morgan Snow of Southwest Dekalb (Ga.). The senior won the in 14.08, the nation"s eighth-best time this season. Then she
immediately returned to the starting line and for the 100-meter final and finished third in 12.15. Snow sat out last week at to nurse an nagging hip injury but said she felt no pain Saturday.
She was more concerned with a contagious rash of false starts that broke out in the sprints.
"I felt slow," she said. "My start felt slow. A lot of people got DQ'd today. I wanted to play it safe. I wish I could have run a little faster but I'm satisfied."
Taina LaPorte of Dutch Fork won the triple jump, at 38 feet, 9 inches, after clearing 5 feet, 8 inches to claim the high jump Friday. She was awarded the meet"s outstanding field performer. Another local, Christal Green of Dreher, turned in an outstanding individual performance in the sprints. She was second in the 100 in 12.13, second in the 200 in 24.78 and third in the 400 in 55.75.
Other standout marks included junior Briana Vaughn of Union Grove (Ga.) in 11.93, Amber Bryant-Brock of McEachern (Ga.) scoring a victory in the 400 hurdles in nation-leading 60.39 and Cameron Overstreet of Atlee (Va.) clearing 12-0 to win the pole vault.