West Ashley senior sets the pace in 100, 200 at Coaches Classic

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Dutch Fork senior overcomes slow start to take girls 100

IRMO -- After blazing a trail to the 100-meter dash championship at Saturday's Bob Jenkins Coaches Classic at Dutch Fork High School, West Ashley senior Darrell Singleton had his next hundred on his mind.

"I have to get faster," he said.

Singleton finished in 10.61 seconds, which matched his PR.

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He's been pretty consistent where the 10.61 is concerned. Singleton had won with that time in two other meets previously this month: March 5 in the Sandlapper Classic at West Ashley and March 12 in the Outback Classic at Summerville. He also finished second in the state in Class AAAA last year with a 10.61.

"I want to go into college with a 10.5 or 10.4 and from there try to be a sophomore or junior running a 10.1 and join the team. My ultimate goal is Team U.S.A.," Singleton said.

Singleton said he had expected to run faster Saturday because of the level of competition, but the weather intervened.

"The rain was hitting my face," he said. "That's the thing that stopped me. I could have run faster, but I was scrunched up. My face was scrunched. I was tight. But I felt good."

Singleton reached the finish line just ahead of Greer senior Troy Pride, who finished in 10.7.

"He ran a great race, and he took it home," Pride said. "I'm a work in progress. I'm not where I want to be yet. I've just got to get there through hard work."

Lower Richland sophomore Ronald Fuller, who did not run in the same finals heat as Singleton and Pride, took third in 10.96. Fuller had the 10th-fastest qualifying time before winning his heat in the finals.

As an eighth-grader, Fuller was on Lower Richland's 4x100 team that finished second at high school nationals. As a freshman, he was second in the state in Class AAA with a time of 10.78, and his PR of 10.66 also came last year. Then this past summer he placed second at nationals.

"He's been around for a while. He's just a young kid," Lower Richland coach Mike Steward said. "The biggest thing now is strength with him. We've started putting him in the 400 to get him a little bit stronger for the 200. It's been something at the beginning of the season trying to get some weather for him. We're looking at big things for him."

When the 400 rolled around Saturday, Pride won his signature event in a runaway. However, the University of Notre Dame football recruit came up short of his goal.

"I wanted to run 47 anything," he said. "I went 48.83, but I'm still not satisfied."

Even 47 would be merely another stepping stone.

"My goal this year is actually to go to 46," Pride said. "That's what I really want to do, because I know I can. I know it will take a lot out of me, but I definitely believe in myself that I can do that, so that's what I'm working for."

Singleton and Pride also squared off in the 200, with Singleton once again finishing first by a narrow margin.

Singleton, who was second in the state in the event as well last year -- Spartanburg's Tavien Feaster won both the 100 and the 200 -- posted a PR of 21.44. Pride also recorded a PR, taking second in 21.46.

In the girls 100, Dutch Fork senior Rebekah Smith rallied to win. Then again, Smith almost always has to rally in the 100.

"I thought I could have done better using my arms more," she said. "I could have had a bigger lead. And then my blocks. I'm terrible at starting.

"I always come out really slow. All the coaches have been telling me that. 'Rebekah, when are you going to get out?'

It's just nerves. I don't want to false start. So I just wait till after the gun shoots to get out. It's a bad technique. They're like, 'You'd probably be running 11.7 right now.' I'm like, 'Just give me time. I'll get it.'

As it was, Smith finished in 11.98.

"I'm kind of glad I hit sub-12," she said. "I'm trying to get 11.7, 11.6, if it's possible for me."

Smith was pleasantly surprised with her performance in the triple jump, not so much with her victory but with the fact that she reached 38 feet, 1 1/2 inches, a PR by nearly two feet.

Most of the top competitors are looking forward to the
Taco Bell Classic April 8-9 at Spring Valley High School, an event that annually attracts athletes from across the nation.

Before Taco Bell, Daniel senior Laurie Barton will be competing in the Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville, which made her performance in the 800 even more significant for the Virginia Tech signee.

"I was really excited about it," said Barton, who won the event with a time of 12:12.06, the fifth-fastest in the U.S. this season. "I was trying to get a fast race in before Florida Relays."

She finished eight seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. That won't be the case when Barton runs in the Florida and Taco Bell meets.

"I'm looking forward to being able to race with people, because it's hard to be out on your own," Barton said. "I know I can pace off other people and hopefully get to where I'm really, really tired."

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Three other boys won two events each: Byrnes senior Malik Epps took first in the 800 (1:57.28) and the 1,600 (4:22.32); Berkeley senior Keishuan Limehouse placed first in the 110 hurdles (14.71) and the 400 hurdles (56.04); and Bluffton senior Neil Blanken won the shot put (51-3) and the discus (169-6).

Seneca junior
Carisma Holland took first in the shot (44-5) and the discus (139-2).