COLUMBIA -- In what has become an annual tradition at the South Carolina State High School Track Meet, Barnwell's boys team finished in the top five and Nicole Hay brought home her fourth consecutive gold medal in the discus.
The Warhorses took fifth place in Class AA, extending their streak of top-five finishes to six years. The Barnwell boys placed fourth or better in six events held at the University of South Carolina.
Hay wrapped up the discus with a throw of 116-feet-11-inches. The senior said each state title has been special and she still can't shake the pre-throw jitters.
"I'm real nervous but I have to keep myself calm so I won't mess up," Hay said.
She didn't mess up and neither did fellow fifth-year letterman, Vonnie Singleton. Singleton won the girls AA triple jump on her final attempt. Her jump of 35-10.0 broke her own school record and gave her the gold medal after finishing second the last two years.
"I came out flat but I'm glad I got something out of it," Singleton said referring to the medal around her neck.
The boys 400-relay team took second with a time of 50.21 while anchor Stephen Mayes placed second in the 400-meter dash (50.68) to secure the Warhorses top-five finish.
Batesburg-Leesville sophomore Kimico Smith retained her AA 100-meter and 200-meter championships. Smith now has five state titles, the last two 200 crowns and the last three 100's.
Holly Dixon finally captured the elusive AAAA 800-meter championship. The South Aiken junior finished second the last two years to Lower Richland's Andrea Hallman. With Hallman graduated, Dixon broke away from the pack on the first turn was never challenged finishing in 2:17.0, just a second off the state record.
"It's a matter of who's the toughest in the last straightaway," Dixon said. "(Hallman) got me two years in a row. I'm hoping to do the same or better next year, maybe go for the record."
Although she didn't match her three gold performance from a year ago, McCormick sophomore Laditra Harrison didn't go home empty handed Thursday. Harrison held on to her Class A 200-meter dash title but couldn't repeat as the 100-meter champion, finishing second.
Harrison had trouble breathing in the 400-meter dash and finished fifth. She was satisfied with her performance Thursday and said she plans to dedicate more time next year to her sport. In addition to track, she plays in the school band, is a cheerleader and is on the Junior Olympic team.
"I told myself `you can't leave without getting the gold,"' Harrison said. "I'm exhausted. I'll do Junior Olympics but I'll debate about doing band and cheerleading."
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