Finishing, working harder

Apr. 05, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The returning half of Northern Vance’s 4x200-meters boys relay team hasn’t forgotten last season’s painful ending.

Northern was well on its way to a 3-A title after two legs in the 2013 N.C. High School Athletic Association championships in Greensboro. But the Vikings dropped the baton on the third exchange, earning disqualification.

Devin Anderson and Tyrrick Bullock return to the 4x2 squad this season and on Thursday at Northern, took the first step toward vindication by qualifying for regionals.

“We talk about it a lot,” Bullock said of last season. “We didn’t really finish hard last year. So this year, we’re finishing harder and working a little bit harder.”

Anderson and Bullock are joined this season by Michael Spinner and Tamaj Bullock. The team posted a mark of 1:32 to claim the top spot at Thursday’s meet that also featured Southern Vance and Southern Durham.

Anderson said the Vikings have improved in every aspect from last season.

“Last year we thought we had a ring already,” said Anderson, the only senior in the quartet. “It’s made us work harder on handoffs, finishing strong and not giving up. That made us work harder, come back with a vengeance because we want to win it this year.”

The Northern boys won the meet against their 3-A Big Eight Conference rival, Southern Durham, 55-50. But the Vikings fell to Southern Vance, 70-53.

Northern’s girls bested Southern Durham 50-19 and won 61-34 over Southern Vance.

Northern’s 4x1 boys relay team has looked just as strong. The Vikings took that race too in 43.9 — also a regional qualifying time, by more than a second.

“Our relays have a really good shot of going all the way as long as they stay healthy,” said Vikings head coach Wilton Baskett.

SPRINTING SUCCESS

Tyrrick Bullock is one, especially, that needs to stay healthy for Northern. The 2012 Carolina Conference runner of the year ran only the relays Thursday while nursing a hamstring injury.

That left the 100-meters race to Tamaj Bullock and Southern Vance’s Qualik Shearin. Shearin narrowly edged Tamaj Bullock, finishing in 11.03 seconds.

Shearin has lost only once in the 100 this season — to a Bunn sprinter.

“It was good,” said Shearin, who has qualified for the 2-A regionals. “I think I could have done better though, a better start off the jump.”

Northern sophomore Briana Nelson took the girls 100 with a time of 12.8 and is the only Vikings girl so far with a ticket to regionals.

Northern’s 4x2 girls squad of Nelson, Niasyiah Seward, Brianna Waller, and Shannon Youmis stayed unbeaten Thursday and the same group won the 4x1.

The Vikings’ boys lost points in the field events that were controlled by Southern Vance.

“But when we hit the track and start running, we’re pretty good,” said Baskett.

IN THE FIELD
Southern’s Ja’Quez Bullock is safely in the 2-A regionals in the shot put. The two-time state qualifier and N.C. State football recruit won the event Thursday with a throw of 49 feet, 5 inches.

Ja’Quez Bullock’s senior classmate, Shawn Henderson, won the long jump (21 feet, 3 inches) and is also bound for regionals.

For the girls, Northern freshman Dateja Hawley hasn’t yet qualified for regionals, but stayed unbeaten in the shot put with a throw of 28 feet, 8 inches.

NORTHERN NOTES
Boys

— Jeffrey Jones won 110-meter hurdles (45.8)
— Quavon Harris won triple jump (42 feet, 3 inches)
— Jose Gembe won mile (6 minutes, 24 seconds)
— Tamaj Bullock won 200 meters
Girls
— Brianna Waller won 200 meters (28.3) and tied with Southern’s Brielle Barrow in high jump (4 feet, 4 inches)
— Briana Nelson won long jump (15 feet, 7 inches)
— Leah Spinner won 400 meters
— Amanda Moseley won 800 meters (3:02)

SOUTHERN NOTES
Boys

— Ty-Traveon Roberts won high jump (5 feet, 8 inches); close second in 200 meters
Girls
— Deja Hicks won discus (78 feet, 10 inches)
— Brielle Barrow won high, low hurdles; tied with Northern’s Brianna Waller in high jump (4 feet, 4 inches)

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com