NCHSAA 4A Indoor track and field championships

Cary girls take third overall, Apex boys end up fifth

cbest@newsobserver.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Apex High’s Joe Devries beats out teammates Michael Utecht and Drew Pederson to win gold in the pole vault.

DEAN STRICKLAND, OD — DEAN STRICKLAND, OD

— Early leads for the Cary girls and Apex boys soon dissipated in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championships on Saturday. The sprinting and relay strength of four-time champ Knightdale boys and Winston-Salem Parkland girls were too much to overcome.

Cary’s girls took third with 44 points, behind Parkland’s 51 and Wakefield’s 49. The Apex boys had 35 points, good enough for fifth.

In total, Triangle-area entries brought home 19 of the 30 state championships up for grabs at the JDL Fast Track facility.

Cary’s Layla White, who finished fifth in the 300, won the 500-meter dash (1:15.12) earlier in the day. Teammate Charminique Hackney, a sophomore, won the 55 at 7.05 seconds.

“I felt like I got a bad start but I didn’t let it get to me. I just try not to think about anything – good or bad – while I’m racing,” Hackney said. “It means a lot to win as a sophomore, racing against great upperclassmen.”

Apex’s Sydnei Murphy (19-4) took the long jump gold.

Apex dominated the pole vault medal stand.

Anna Eaton won the girls’ title (12-0) and Joe Devries (15-6) led a Cougar 1-2-3 finish on the boys’ side. Teammates Michael Utecht (15-0) and Drew Pedersen (14-0) were second and third.

“(Winning a state title) has been a goal of mine since finishing second at outdoors last season,” said Eaton, who has been pole vaulting for only three years. “Now I know how great it feels to win something like this.”

Devries beat his previous record by a full foot

“I really started out rough today. I missed every jump, run up I had during warm ups. I had to move my hands up more on the bar and move the standards up towards the bar. ... The struggles early focused me. When something’s not going right, it just motivates me more to make it right,” he said.

“Excellence breeds excellence,” Devries said of Apex’s pole vaulting success. “Those two guys, we all push each other so much. If one of is is not having a good day in practice, the other two are there to push you, to make you strive to get it right. It’s an incredible advantage to have practices like that every day.”

A boys title also went to Green Hope’s 4x800 relay team (Jonathan Bakley, Corey Colberg, William Jordan and Brad Pehr) in 8:01.62.

Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest

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