Girls put together impressive performances at Taco Bell

COLUMBIA -- Kiah Seymour’s record-setting performance in the girls 400 meter hurdles (1:01.95) was certainly the highlight on the girls’ side, but there were plenty of other impressive female performances at this year’s Taco Bell Track and Field Classic.

Kadecia Baird, a junior at Middle College (N.Y.), moved into the top 10 all-time at Taco Bell in the girls 200 meter dash with a time of 24.11, and she took the 400 meter dash as well with a time of 55.59.

Shelby Howell of New Hanover, (N.C.), also entered the meet’s top 10 in the 800 with a time of 2:14.97.

Howell had competed in the mile earlier Saturday, but she felt “pretty good” heading into the 800.

“Luckily, the mile was three hours earlier, so it was a good rest,” she said.  She managed a PR in the mile.

The senior, who will attend Appalachian State this fall, said she loves the 800.

“I ran it at a Junior Olympics when I was 12 and I’ve loved it ever since,” she said.

Competition in the shorter distances was very competitive. Tayla Carter of Walton High (Ga.) won the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.75.  Right behind her was Sabrina Moore of North Mecklenburg (N.C.) with a time of 11.92.

Seymour, the big winner in the 400 hurdles, finished a close second in the 200 dash won by Baird.  Seymour’s time was 24.44.

Frances Morales won the girls mile with a time of 4:58.74.  The Valley Forge (Va.) sophomore said she was nervous in the hours leading up to the event.

“Being a sophomore, it was a big deal for me,” she said. “But, I just stuck with it and I’m so glad that I did really well.”

Morales said her race strategy was “basic stuff, just hanging with the girls and avoiding getting stuck on the inside.”

In the girls 3200, Sydney Forman of Ardrey Kell (N.C.), took an easy victory with a time of 10:45.83, five seconds ahead of Marcie Merriman of Lassiter High (Ga.).

Sydney Griffin, a senior at Walton High (Ga.), won the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 14.07.  She credited her coach and hard work for her victory.

“My coach and I have been working forever. He gave me some really good tips,” she said. “I’m just really happy.”

Griffin will enroll at Elon University this fall.

In the girls relays, Walton took the 100 with a time of 46.80, which was only 13 one-hundredths of a second off the meet record; Middle College (NY) finished first in 3:56.81; and Watauga (N.C.) won the 800 with a time of 9:22.33.

In the field events, Central Tuscaloosa’s Sharday Branch won the girls long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 10 inches; and Julisa Tindall of Northwestern took the high jump, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches.

Summerville High’s RoShani Glover shook off a cold to win the girls triple jump with a leap of 39 feet, 1/2 inch. The distance was a PR for Glover in the event.  She plans to attend the College of Charleston this fall.

Kristen Sansbury of Hartsville High won the shot put with a distance of 40 feet, 7 1/2 inches, three feet farther than runner-up Alaina Coates of Dutch Fork High.

Sansbury, a junior, said she would like to reach 44 feet at the state meet next month also to be held at the Spring Valley High facility.  Her PR is 43 feet, 7 inches.

In the discus throw, J.L. Mann’s Victoria Merriweather won going away with a toss of 123 feet, 2 inches, which was four feet longer than runner-up Danielle Travis of South Aiken.  Kristen Sansbury, the winner of the shot put, finished third to complete a sweep of the top three spots for South Carolina schools in the discus.

Merriweather said she felt good stepping into the pit, “but once I began to throw they were looking pretty horrible.”  She said an official at the venue told her the throw was “one of the ugliest he ever saw.”

Merriweather, a junior at Mann, said she may have been too loose at the start.

“I normally do well when I put pressure on myself,” she said. “The stress is good as long as I’m able to control it.”  In this case, the winning throw was a PR for her.

In the final individual event, Sage Proffitt, a senior at North Buncombe (N.C.), won the girls pole vault, clearing 12 feet, 6 inches.  Girls from three South Carolina schools took the next three positions: Sarah Lee of Wando, Madeline Aune of Beaufort and Morgan Allen of Byrnes.

In the girls team rankings, Middle College place first, followed in the top 10 by West Mecklenburg, Walton, J.L. Mann and Ardrey Kell who tied for fourth, Elizabeth Seton, Colonial Forge, Dutch Fork, Wando and Watauga.