The 2003 South Carolina High School Track & Field State Championships took place on Saturday, May 10 in Columbia at Spring Valley High School. The A and AA meets started in the morning and action continued in the afternoon with the AAA and AAAA meets.
Johnsonville outscored second place team finisher Lamar and third place team finisher Thornwell with 105 points in girls A action. Lamar scored a total of 88 points while Thornwell acquired 69 points. In the A boys meet Lamar finished ahead of Hemingway with 127.5 points. Hemingway finished with 74.5 points. Finishing third in the A boys meet is St. John's.
Bishop England captured the girls AA team title over Blue Ridge. Emerald finished third. On the boys' side Edisto finished first over Chesterfield with 55 points. Chesterfield finished with 53 points, while Emerald finished in a close third with 52 points.
The heated girls AAA competition ended up with Dreher taking the team title over JL Mann, 99-90. Daniel finished third in the girls AAA competition. Eau Claire earned a close win over Broome in AAA boys action, 49-43. Holly Hill Roberts finished third in AAA boys action.
Northwestern captured the AAAA girls title over Spring Valley with 69 points. The Vikings obtained 65 points in AAAA girls action to take third. Beaufort rounded out the top three in the AAAA girls competition. Spring Valley's boys squad outscored Berkeley to capture the team title with 67.5 points. Ridgeview rounded out the top three in boys AAAA action.
Sara Young of Thornwell set a new state record in girls pole vault. The senior topped her old state record mark of 11'4", set last year after clearing 12'6.25." Young is attending Clemson University in the fall with Girls AAAA pole vault champion Beth Jordan. Young captured her second win of the day in the 100-meter hurdles. Hemingway captured the 400-meter relay title over Ninety-Six. Johnsonville finished first in the 3200-meter relay. In the final running event of the meet Lamar captured the 1600-meter relay title. On the boy's side Calhoun Falls captured the 400-meter relay title. Denmark-Olar captured the 3200-meter relay title and St. John's finished first in the 1600-meter relay.
In AA action Roz Johnson of Hanahan finished first in the boys shot put with a stellar best throw of 53'1." Matthew Cregger, a senior at Chapin, captured the 3200-meter boys title in 10:32.99. On the girls' side Blue Ridge captured the 400-meter relay title. Sarah Young finished first in the girls 100-meter hurdles for Liberty. Septima Glenn of Blue Ridge won individual titles in the 100, 200, and 400-meters. Glenn is also a member of Blue Ridge's first place 400-meter relay team. Brittany Whitaker finished first in the high jump for Blue Ridge. Whitaker has committed to Western Carolina. The senior hopes to study Physical Education as a Catamount. Brittany also finished first in the girls long jump.
|"I've found that it's important not to dwell on the bad races you'll have, but to worry about what's in the future. Whatever you do just keep a perspective on life and have fun, because you only live it once."|
Starting in mid-afternoon 3A and 4A action heated up. In the 3200-meter relay events, Wren captured the boys title over Riverside. In the girl's 3200 relay Greer ousted Greenville High in the last straightaway for the win. "Wow it was so HOT, I thought I was gonna die," said senior Red Raider Ashley McCauley. McCauley will attend Mars Hill in the fall. "After running now for Greenville High for six years I look back and laugh, just thinking about my great team and all the fun we had. My first state meet I ever ran in was with my 4x800 team in seventh grade and my last race with them in the 12th grade. I could not be more happy. I think running in College is gonna be different, but I am very excited." Wren's Sunday Ford captured titles in the 1600-meters and 3200-meters. Senior Hannah Wright also competed for Wren in the AAA girls meet. "Last year I only ran the 1600. I was second, so winning two events was very exciting," said Ford. "My goal was to run a very good mile and then do want I could to win the 3200. I wasn't really worried about my two mile time. I just wanted to win. I really had fun at state because I was out in front and there was not a lot of pressure on me. I was just running against the clock. I had a great season, but I was disappointed that several of our meets were cancelled because of rain. My goals are to defend my state titles, continue to get faster, and continue to have fun running." Elizabeth Embler (Travelers Rest) defended her title in the 800-meters while senior Eastside Eagle David Vass captured his first state title in the 800. "The state meet experience is incredible and I'm just living it up," said Vass. "Prior to this meet I've achieved everything I wanted in high school, but a state title. I wanted to go out with one for me and my coach," said Vass. "The 1600 relay was good considering our circumstances and we still ran our fastest time this year, and I also set an individual personal best of 53 (400) seconds. I felt a whole lot faster, but going into the second leg we were about five or six seconds down and there was a huge gap from the rest of the field. We had to work extra hard and we got excited and went out quick. In the 800, I had a bunch of my teammates cheering me on. That always helps. About the state meet, it seemed like everyone was in a zone, and I myself was in a zone so I didn't notice anything too much" said Vass. David is joining a strong South Carolina class next season at Spartanburg Methodist under head coach Eric Cummings. "The 4x800 lived up to its hype on both the AAAA and AAA boys side with an incredibly close 8:03 and 8:04 finish in AAAA," said Vass. Senior Warrior Joe Barnette captured the 3200 meter title in 10:22 following being a member of Riverside's 3200-meter relay team. "I was a little disappointed with my running at state, but I was happy with my season. I feel like I could have run better at state, it just wasn't my day at all. I'm really happy though, and excited I was able to compete in such a big race.
|"I wanted to go out with one for me and my coach."|
[Embler, a sophomore at Travelers Rest discusses some of her ideas for track & field along with insight on her season.
1) Why doesn't someone organize a "meet of champions" in order to bring together the top two athletes from each class from the state championships? I.e. first and second from class A, first and second from class AA, etc. No one would lose their state champion status and the competition could produce some fast times. I ran easy at state because I wanted to win so badly I was afraid to go hard and chance dying and being caught. At a "meet of champions" there would be no state championship title at stake.
2) If we could only get non-track fans to come to one of our big meets we could convert them into fans. It is the greatest sport ever. Every person in a race can potentially come away with something positive. This is not so in most other popular sports such as football, baseball, or basketball. It is true in other individual sports. You have drama every five minutes at a track meet..
3) What will next year's indoor schedule be like? Do we have to get our school to sponsor a team? I really want to run! Indoor is great!.
4) I loved winning the 800 again! Track is a great sport! But I think my second favorite part of the meet was watching David Vass after he won the AAA 800 meters. He was so happy it was contagious..
5) I hope to get in really good shape this year and stay well. My dad says we are developing my running in "layers". The 2003 season I learned how to run the 800, especially the third 200. This coming year will be my first year to run more than 25 miles per week and to lift weights consistently. I am really looking forward to running some fast times next year. .
6) The state track meet was not just fun and scary but it was inspirational to watch all the great athletes who are also such great people. One of Travelers Rest athletes who did not compete at state, Sparkle Abercrombie, came to the meet to watch me run and was inspired to run cross country next year so she can be a better runner next spring. Sparkle never wanted to run more than 400 meters before. Thanks to all the competitors at state for being so motivating. Watch for Sparkle next year.
--Elizabeth Embler, Travelers Rest].
Beth Jordan finished out her high school pole vaulting career at Aiken High School with a win. "Going into my third state championship and with me being the reigning state champion of the class 4A I was extremely nervous about the meet, but also very excited. The state meet was exciting for me because it was my last chance to show how hard work pays off," said Aiken Hornet Beth Jordan. "I think that the extreme humidity and the hot temperature during the day played a key role in many athletes performances. I know just from being on the field at 3:30 in the afternoon (almost the hottest part of the day). It was hard to conserve my energy, drink enough water, and stay cool to keep my body ready for my next jump. I can only image what it felt like to be a distance runner during this time. I am glad that my senior season ended the way it did by winning the state championship again. I will miss being an Aiken High School Hornet just because of the many friends I have made and the great coaches I'll be leaving behind, but I look forward to continuing my pole vaulting career as a Lady Tiger. I feel confident that with the extra training and coaching that they can give me, it will help make me a better athlete. " Jordan signed with Clemson. Also competiting for Aiken was Michele Milner. " I did not have a very positive experience at the 2003 state championships. I did not come close to fulfilling the expectations I had for myself or running to my potential," said Milner. "I was very disappointed with how my high school running career ended, but I can not let this overshadow all the wonderful experiences that I have had through running. The great thing about the human psyche is that
|"Going into my third state championship and with me being the reigning state champion of the class 4A I was extremely nervous about the meet, but also very excited. The state meet was exciting for me because it was my last chance to show how hard work pays off." |
|"The great thing about the human psyche is that you seem to quickly forget the bad times and only remember the good times.." |
Congratulations to all athletes throughout the 2003 season. Best of luck to all athletes in the future and good luck to all 2002-2003 South Carolina senior cross-country and track & field athletes. Thanks to A.C. Flora alumna Kenzie Lang and Eastside pole vaulter Melissa Vass for their continued help with scrunners throughout the state meet.