COLUMBIA - It was a long, blustery day Saturday at Taco Bell, but the conditions didn't prevent the 2,500 high school athletes who competed at Harry Parone Stadium from setting a trio of new meet records.
Anna Cockrell grabbed the U.S. no. one time in the 400 intermediate hurdles Saturday evening, at the same time smashing the meet record for the event.
Cockrell, a student at Providence Day in North Carolina, ran the 400 intermediate hurdles in 57.77, easily topping the previous Taco Bell record of 58.96 set eight years ago by Ryann Krais.
Cockrell came close to another meet record, this one in the girls' 100-meter hurdles held earlier on Saturday. Cockrell ran her preliminary in 13.44, just .18 of a second off the meet mark of 13.26 also set eight years ago by Jacquelyn Coward.
Rush-Henrietta High junior Sammy Watson narrowly missed a meet record in the girls 400-meter dash, finishing in 53.83, just .12 of a second short of the meet mark of 53.71 set in 2009 by J.L. Mann's Briana Nelson.
Lindsay Billings of Northview also came close to the Taco Bell record in the girls' 3200 with a time of 10:36.26, which was just under six seconds off the meet record of 10:31.43, a mark that has held up for 14 years.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day came mid-afternoon on Saturday when Macon, Ga.'s Carson Dingler shattered the old meet record in the girls' pole vault.
Fighting a gusty wind early in the competition that made it tough for her and the other pole-vaulters to even get off the ground on their approaches, the junior from First Presbyterian Academy "worked through it" and in the end cleared 13 feet, 8 inches, on her first attempt.
That mark is more than a foot better than the previous meet record of 12 feet, 7 inches, a record that had stood for 13 years.
The lone meet record on the boys' side came in the 4x100 relay. Grayson High placed first in that event with a time of 40.93. Another Georgia school, Newton High, was right behind, finishing in 41.00.
The previous record in the boys' 4x100 was 41.29, set in 2005.
Though no records were set in the final event of the weekend, the boys' 4x400 relay was worth the long wait. Huntington, N.Y. won the event with a time of 3:22.13, edging Archbishop Carroll of Washington, D.C. by one one-hundredth of a second.