Lexington boys 4x800 no. 2 S.C. all-time, 7:51.72

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Lexington High’s boys relay team continued its impressive late-season run Friday, narrowly capturing first place in the 4x800-meter finals at the opening night of the 20th Annual Taco Bell Track and Field Classic held at Spring Valley High, and setting a meet record in the process.

The Wildcat boys finished the relay in 7:51.72, edging Cabell Midland who finished second in 7:51.89. Lexington’s time was a new meet record and the second fastest 4x800 in state high school history, right behind Spring Valley High. Watch an interview with the team following the race.

The team of Zach Langston, Tony Morales, Erik Wendt and Colby Coulter said they felt good going into the race. Watch the complete race.

Langston, who ran the first leg, said he was hoping to get out to a fast start, but instead got boxed in early on.

“I was boxed in at the start and got out kind of slow, but at the 300 mark I started pushing and made my move at the end,” he said.

Morales, who ran the second leg, said he felt his leg was “a little slow,” but that Erik picked up the pace in the third leg.

“The first lap I was feeling good,” Wendt said. “I knew I had to give Colby the lead so he could finish strong and give us the win.”

“Erik did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Colby said. “He gave me a lead and I was able to run it home.”

In the girls 4x800, Hailey Middlebrook, of Watauga High in Boone, N.C., rocketed from seventh position to take the lead in the second leg of the 4x800 finals, setting the stage for her younger sister, Darby, who ran a personal best in the anchor to help lead the team to a first-place finish.

“I felt really good going into the race,” the senior said following the girls’ event. “I went out a little too fast in earlier races, but this time I held back a little and that helped.”

Darby Middlebrook, a junior at Watauga, said she was nervous sitting on the anchor of what was a very tight race.

“All the teams here are really good, but I was inspired by my teammates and I just went out there and did my best,” Middlebrook said, and indeed, she turned in a time of 2:15, her best split in the 800.

Watauga recorded a time of 9:22.33 in the 4x800, with Wando High finishing second with a time of 9:25.22.  Ardrey Kell in North Carolina finished third with a time of 9:25.28.

In the girls high jump, Julisa Tindall cleared the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches to take first place.  Crystal Jones of Colonial Forge, Va., placed second with a jump of 5 feet, 4 inches.

“I felt nervous at first, but after my first jump I was fine,” the Northwestern High junior said.

Her jump Friday was two inches short of her best performance in that event, but she’s hoping to pull out at least a 5-foot, 10-inch jump at state next month and possibly add a quarter inch to that to match the current state record. 

More than 1,000 high school athletes representing nearly 150 schools from 14 states filled the infield at Harry Parone Stadium at Spring Valley High Friday evening for the opening events.

The weather couldn’t be better for the two-day competition. Friday’s events were staged under blue skies and temperatures starting in the low 70s before dropping into the 50s after sunset. Wind wasn’t a factor in the time trials nor in the 4x800 finals. The outlook is for more of the same weather on Saturday.

Sixteen runners qualified Friday for the finals in the boys 200 meter dash to be held Saturday evening.  In Section 1 will be Dijuan Ussery of Nation Ford, Jarad Jeter of Greenwood, Jaylen Bacon of Lower Richland, Alexander Reese of Lassiter, Brandon Sanders of Dreher, Kenneth Webster of West Mecklenburg, Myles Howard of Walton and Tyroy Lawson of Sheepshead Bay.

In boys Section 2 will be Kedrick Davis of Berry Academy, Ayrian Evans of Morrow, Tevin Hester of Granville Central, Harvey McSwain II of Crest, Andre Watson of Whale Branch, Camron Hudson of Berry Academy, Xavier Jones of Ragsdale and Kenny Waring of Wando.

Sixteen runners also qualified Friday for the finals in the girls 200 meter dash to be held Saturday evening.  In section one will be Tee’asiah Vance of J.L. Mann, Kaitlin Lucius of Greenbrier, Naya Tapper of West Mecklenburg, Zakiya Bateman of E.C. Glass, Brianna Pressley and Jena Alson, both of Blythewood, Cleo Holt of Walton and Raveen Golston of Dutch Fork.

In section two will be India Brown of West Florence, Shekara Martin of Ridge View, Gabrielle Gray of High Point, Kiah Seymour of Archbishop, Kadecia Baird of Middle College, Sabrina Moore of North Mecklenburg, Chelsie Stevens of Elizabeth Seton and Nyeisha Dease of Richland North.

Competition resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday with the the girls 3200, triple jump, pole vault, and shot put, and the boys triple jump and discus.  The opening ceremony is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. followed by a full afternoon and early evening of finals competition.