North Carolina 4A Girls State Meet Preview
The North Carolina high school state championship is live on FloTrack this weekend beginning Friday, May 19. We preview all of the 4A girls action below.
Tamara Clark (High Point Central) is the defending champion and looks to add another state title. Her biggest challenge was Kylia Wright (Southeast Raleigh), who unfortunately injured her hamstring at regionals. Wright is the only NC girl to beat Clark in a long time. She will now go up against Taylor Grier (Wakefield), Jonah Ross (Garner), Jordan Sales (J.H. Rose), Zachrye Lane (Cardinal Gibbons) and Cambrea Sturgis (A.L. Brown) who all have the potential to score an upset. Grier is coming off a big PR of 11.79 at the 4A Mideast Regional. Ross and Sales are both freshman who ran 11.81 at their regional meets and are certainly the future on North Carolina Sprints. Zach Lane has had a monster senior year and holds the second fastest PR in this field of 11.78! The top 10 girls in this field hold PRs under 12 seconds!
Tamara Clark (High Point Central) is a two time defending champion and holds the best PR in the field of 23.44. She's certainly the heavy favorite as she beat freshman Alysia Johnson (Hillside) last weekend at the 4A Midwest regional. Johnson clocked a PR of 24.06 and will have a quick double back from the 400 where she's the top seed and favorite. Taylor Scott (Wakefield), Cambrea Sturgis (A.L. Brown), Maya Singletary (Hoke County) and Jordan Sales (J.H. Rose) certainly have a ton of potential to contend for the win. Out of these 6 only Clark is a senior, showing the future is bright for the girls sprints in North Carolina. Could someone spoil Clark's final individual event at the state championships?
400mIndoors we saw Maya Singletary (Hoke County) run NC#2 All-Time in the 500 at 1:13.47. Freshman Alysia Johnson (Hillside) had a break out performance earlier this year beating Singletary head to head at Bill Carver where Johnson ran 54.10 to Singletary's 54.56, as both PRed. This is going to be very fast and Singletary is not going to make it easy on the freshman Johnson. Johnson did run NC#5 All-Time in the 400 last weekend in 53.87, putting the pressure on Singletary. Kiya Oviosun (Southeast Guilford) and Kyna Robinson (Southeast Raleigh) have run under 56 this season and are certainly going to be in the mix. Oviosun clocked 55.19 last weekend at 4A Midwest behind Johnson.
Sierra Fletcher (Southeast Raleigh) and Taylor Scott (Wakefield) put the pressure on indoor 55m state champion Akira Rhodes (Mallard Creek) as they ran 13.97 and 14.12 respectively at the 4A Mideast Regional. Rhodes holds a seasons best of 14.25, but I expect all three girls to hit the final hurdle next to each other and there be a mad dash to the finish for the individual crown. I also expect the Midwest Champion Charnessa Reid (Mt. Tabor) to be in the mix as well.
300m HurdlesIt was looking like this event would be a rematch of the Rock Autism Classic between Sierra Fletcher (Southeast Raleigh) and Jessica Wright (Hillside) who were separated by .01 seconds, but Abira Reddish (Riverside) chopped over a second off her PR at the 4A Midwest Regional beating state leader Jessica Wright! Fletcher also got a PR at the regional meet in 43.94. Also Kimani Davis (Parkland) is right there as well at 44.12 last weekend! There is no way Reddish's NC#1 mark of 43.33 will last through this race as these talented girls toe the line.
Monzerad Creary (High Point Central) comes in with the top time on the year with a 2:15.14, but will possibly be doubling back from the 400 that just a few races before. The question will be if she will forego the 400 finals to focus on her stronger event in the 800 in hopes for her first individual crown. Last weekend she battled with Madeline Kraft (Mt. Tabor) at the 4A Midwest Regional where both clocked 2:16. Janay Hall (South View) was the indoor 1000 champion, and I wouldn't be surprised if she scratched the 1600 to focus on the 800 Friday. Elise Wright (T.C. Roberson) has run 2:16 this year as well and is also qualified in the 1600 and her teams 4x800 is one of the top in NC. Alessandra Rodriguez (Green Hope) was the 4A Mideast Champion and showed some strong finishing speed last weekend at 4A Mideast running a PR of 2:18.
Isabel Zimmermann (Reagan) is the only girl sub 5 minutes in this field with a 4:59.76 from earlier this season. But there are plenty of talented girls in this field and someone could certainly battle it out with her up front. Zimmermann was the indoor 1600 champ so certainly comes in as the favorite in her main event. Alessandra Rodriguez (Green Hope) does have a 5:02 seasons best mark and she's one I certainly think will challenge Zimmermann. If Janay Hall (South View) runs the 1600 she certainly will be in the mix as well. Shannon Sefton (Panther Creek) and Calli Parlier (Apex) have had stellar seasons both running 5:08 and certainly could have another break through on Friday.
Isabel Zimmermann (Reagan) still holds this top time in the 3200 from when she won Raleigh Relays earlier this season. But Natalie Tyner (Laney) comes in as a massive wildcard. Tyner hasn't seen many big fields this year, but has run 10:48.69 all by herself. She could certainly have a big breakthrough on the big stage as I don't think she's truly been tested this season. Sloan Walter and Marissa Bishop (Cardinal Gibbons) have both narrowly been over 11:00 a few times this season and I believe both would love to have a time under 11 minutes this weekend. Another wildcard is Lila Peters (Sanderson) who is a sophomore in her first year of running track. She's went undefeated in her outdoor campaign and won the 4A Mideast regional running 11:21.97. Could she have a lot left in the tank as well?
This is going to be a battle amongst three squads with High Point Central coming in as the top seed at 47.57 from last weekend. Southeast Raleigh certainly takes a big hit in this event losing their top sprinter Kylia Wright to a hamstring injury at the regional meet. They do have tremendous depth and still clocked a 47.62 at the regional meet. They're the type of program to only become stronger as they lose their top runner and certainly do not like to lose. North Mecklenburg were the West Champions last weekend and only other team under 48. They, along with SE Raleigh, only have one senior on their relay and are going to be a force for years to come!
Hillside ran the fastest time of the weekend at the Midwest regional of 1:39.39, and if the results are correct they were without their best 200m runner Alysia Johnson. If they add in Johnson they're going to be tough to beat and could run in the 1:37s. Hoke County were the East regional champs with two strong legs in Maya Singletary and Leonie Kluwig. They ran 1:39.83 last weekend and have the second best time on the season in this field at 1:39.41. With Southeast Raleigh catching a DQ at regionals and HPC focusing on the 4x100 & 4x400 this looks to be a two team battle.
Indoors it was all High Point Central in this event, and I expected it to be so outdoors as well. But a young Hillside team proved that they are indeed the favorites heading into the weekend with an NC#1 3:44 and win over High Point Central. High Point Central still ran well at 3:49, but will have to do much better to have Tamara Clark in contention on anchor leg. Southeast Raleigh of course are going to be in the mix as well. The won the Mideast region with ease last weekend in 3:55.16. These three programs are the three contenders for the team title. It'd be an awesome conclusion to the 4A meet if this indeed was what determined the top two teams on Friday night.
Coming into the regional meet I would have Mt. Tabor as the favorites, but an unfortunate injury to Tiara Patterson-Mills make this anyone's race for the taking. Tabor, Providence, Gibbons, T.C. Roberson and AK all have run under 9:40 this season. The 4A West race was the fastest of last weekend where Providence edged TCR 9:45.41 to 9:45.91 with Ardrey Kell and Charlotte Catholic within reach. This is the first final of the day and it's expected some teams won't rise to the occasion, and the pressure will drive teams to a massive seasons best. I also expect Green Hope and High Point Central to be in the mix. Green Hope took second the Mideast last weekend to Wake Forest without their top girl Alessandra Rodriguez. She ran 2:18 in the open race later that day and with her on anchor it certainly puts them on the podium Friday. HPC won the 4A Midwest over Mt. Tabor and I'm sure they did just as much as they had to to win the race. The 4x8 is going to be an extremely crucial event for them in the team title race.
Veronica Fraley (Wakefield) had the best weekend of any girl throwers at regionals throwing 42-10.75 and 138-6 in the shot and discus. But she certainly isn't guaranteed anything on Friday as Hillside's Kayla Beasley is looking for a double win as well and Kaitlin McGoogan (Ragsdale) will be looking to improve in the discus once again. McGoogan's thrown 130-131 pretty consistently as of recent and the sophomore could certainly steal one this weekend. Beasley is stronger in the shot and is the only other girl in the field that was over 40 feet last weekend. Look for the Mideast and Midwest Champions to battle it out.
Olivia Goodwin (Cary), Lindsay Absher (West Forsyth) and Elise Hall (Leesville Road) outclass the field slightly as they're the only girls over 11-6 this season and have PRs of 12-7, 12-0 and 11-9 respectively. Goodwin was the indoor champion this season, and will come in as the favorite this weekend. If she vaults close to her 12-7 PR it's going to take a big day from Absher of Hall to take her down. Both Absher and Hall are sophomores and will certainly have many battles to come in this event.
Kenya Livingston (Rocky River) has been the one to beat the last two years in the girls high jump. It seemed like once she stood out far amongst the field, but it seems the rest of NC has caught up to her. She holds the best mark on the season with a 5-10. Morgan Smalls (Panther Creek) the freshman had a huge day at regionals jumping 5-9 making herself a serious threat to Livingston in defending her title from last year. Also Chris Toe (Page) has jumped 5-6 this season. Addie Renner (Myers Park) has beaten Livingston this year indoors and outdoors at their conference meet and will look to do so again on Friday. Hopefully jumping conditions are ideal so we can see some girls get close to the 6 foot mark.
The girls team battle comes down to 5 teams: Hillside, Southeast Raleigh and High Point Central. Defending Champions Southeast Raleigh were big favorites heading into the regional, but they had a rough weekend. They lose their star Kylia Wright and their winning 4x200 was DQed. A swing of 24-30 points! They'll rely heavily of Sierra Fletcher to win both the 100mH and 300mH and provide strong legs on their 4x100 & 4x400. They'll also have a lot of possibly points in the throws with Candice Whitley, Courtney Murph and Tameia Morrison. Last year's state title was because of a strong day by their throwers and it could be the case once again.
High Point Central were the indoor state champions in very impressive fashion but also took a hit at regionals as 5-8 High Jumper Kayla Nesbitt-McEwen did not advance. They also have not showed focus on the 4x200 this season, so won't have a horse in that race. Tamara Clark will look to score 20 points for them in the 100 & 200 and defending her individual crowns. They'll also rely on a strong double performance from Monzerad Creary in the 400 & 800. With only the 300m Hurdles in between events it's possible Creary scratches the 400 to focus on the 800 as she is the top seed in the 800.
Hillside was firing on all cylinders at the regional meet as they beat High Point Central 105-96 at 4A Midwest. They come in as the favorites according to our virtual meet this weekend. Alysia Johnson though just a freshman has emerged as a 200/400 star! Also, Jessica Wright has become very strong in the 300mH and will contend for the win in that event. They'll have Jamila McCoy in the 100 as well to score points. She didn't make it out of the tough Midwest region in the 200. They have relays qualified in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 that are projected to score big that gives them an advantage over SE Raleigh and HPC. All three of these programs are extremely competitive and you can expect them to be locked in with their eyes on the team title this weekend.
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