Area track and field stars make strides in SPC meet
LINCOLNTON – North Lincoln High and East Lincoln High have fielded stellar track teams in the past.
This season was no different.
Both schools earned titles in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference meet at North Lincoln on April 25.
East Lincoln’s boys team swept the awards. Bubba McDowell was Track Event Most Valuable Player, Jai Thomas earned Field Event MVP and Mustangs coach Alonzo Custer was Coach of the Year.
The Mustangs captured wins in eight events and earned the boys conference title – their seventh in a row – with 238 points.
North Lincoln was second with 147.
“The guys did a great job,” Custer said. “(They) felt a sense of responsibility to keep the streak going. I challenged them early in the year, and this group responded with another strong season.”
McDowell captured the 100- and 200-meter dash races. He joined Jesse Earnhardt (long jump), Damirius Valentine (high jump), John Loukos (pole vault), Will Krehnbrink (110- and 300-meter hurdles) as individual winners.
Custer admitted the Mustangs’ seventh crown wasn’t their easiest.
“As a coach, it is great to see kids dig deep and push themselves to perform at a high level,” Custer said. “North Lincoln has a solid team and our kids knew they had to perform well to win the meet.”
North Lincoln’s Chase Stehling (shot put), Alex Leech (triple jump), Andrew Fea (1,600-meter run) and Ryan Shannon (3,200-meter run) earned individual boys wins.
The Knights turned the tables on the Mustangs in the girls meet.
North Lincoln’s Allie Castro took home Track Event MVP. Her times in the 1,600-meter run (5 minutes, 27.7 seconds) and 3,200 meter run (12 minutes, 5.8 seconds) set new school and conference records.
Knights coach Matt Reep, who won girls Coach of the Year honors, said Castro deserved the credit for her efforts.
“Allie is a phenomenal runner,” Reep said. “Her success comes from hard work and dedication from the end of cross country season to the beginning of track season.”
Castro also won the 800-meter run.
Gastonia Highland Tech’s Zoe Ellis earned Field Event MVP honors.
North Lincoln’s victories in the 4x400-meter relay and 4x800-meter relay helped the Knights clinch the girls conference championship with 134 points to second-place East Lincoln’s 119.
The Class 2A West Regional meet is Saturday, May 5 at Polk County High, and the Class 2A State meet will be May 11 at North Carolina A&T.