With the quality of competition at the Nike Outdoor Track and Field National High School meet, it is difficult to win gold in two separate events. Despite the difficulty of that task, several competitors accomplished the feat.
But it was Track Eastern Carolina who did everyone two better. The relay team out of New Bern, N.C., won four gold medals at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track over the weekend and it was done with flair. On Saturday, the foursome claimed two national titles, a national record and a meet record. Track Eastern Carolina won the boys 800 medley relay in the morning and returned to win the boys 4x400 meter relay in the last event of the meet.
The team of Anthony Hendrix, Miles Sparks, Fuqauwn Greene and Andrew Hendrix won the 4x4 with a time 3:08.05. It was a new meet record and it is the No. 2 time in history behind Hawthorne's 3:07.40 set in 1985. It appeared as Andrew Hendrix made his turn down the stretch; it appeared Track Eastern Carolina had a shot to break the 24-year-old mark.
"We believed we could do it,'' said Andrew Hendrix. "I knew when I made the turn, I got there pretty fast. We just went out and did what we always try to do — get better."
Track Eastern Carolina's day was so complete, they even found a way to feel disrespected. The team broke the national record in the 800 medley relay with a time of 1:28.20 despite running the race for the first time ever. In the 800 medley, the Hendrix brothers and Greene teamed with Daishawn Styron. Track Eastern broke its third national record this season.
"People expected us to lose,'' said Greene. "We had a lot of motivation because people said we couldn't get the record. We just wanted to finish strong and show we could get it done."
Another successful relay team over the weekend was the Blazin' Raiders. After winning the girls 4x200 on Friday, the Maryland team of Abidemi Adenikinju, Aurieyall Scott, Jenea McCammon and Afia Charles broke the meet record in the girls 4x100 meter relay with a time of 45.36.
Among the other competitors who came back on the second day to win more gold was Chalonda Goodman. After claiming her third straight girls 100 meter Nike crown on Friday, Goodman made history by winning the girls 200 meters for the third consecutive year. She broke the meet record with a time of 22.94.
Dentarius Locke achieved the 100 and 200 gold medal feat for the boys. Locke ran a wind-aided 20.87 to win Gold No. 2. Chelsey Sveinsson doubled up by winning the girls 2-mile run on Friday and the girls 1 mile run on Saturday.
There was also someone in the field events to win two gold medals. Mason Finley won the boys discus on Friday and the boys shot put on Saturday. Senior Tynita Butts was not able to pull off two wins, but she did win the Nike girls high jump for the fourth consecutive year with a best jump of 5-feet, 10 Â½ inches.
She finished second in the long jump behind Andrea Geubelle who won the long jump with a leap of 20-feet, Â½ inch. Geubelle won the triple jump on Friday.
One of the more exciting races of the day occurred in the boys 200 meter steeplechase. Alex Dier decided to learn on the job. The sophomore out of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., had never run the 2,000 meter steeplechase until he participated in the event at the Nike Outdoor.
He earned a national championship in his debut once he realized how much wind he had left in his lungs. Dier normally runs the 3,000 meter steeplechase. When he reached the final lap of Saturday's race, he decided to make his move toward the front because he had so much stamina left.
Dier was in third around the final 100 meters of the race before making a surge to earn the win.
"I've run a lot of short races too, so I once I saw him starting to come back I went after it,'' said Dier. "The faster I got the more he came back, so I decided to just get through the pain. The whole race was a learning experience for me."
Newton Centre Athletics brought several competitors to Nike in 2009. The girls 4x1 mile team decided to do its part by winning a national championship. The team of Kesley Karys, Melanie Fineman, Katherine O'Keefe and Bridget Dahlberg won the event with a time of 20:23.20.
A confident Withrow High School 800 meter medley relay team ran a 1:45.20 to claim a national title. "I knew we had on the first leg,'' said Jade Clingman. "Once we caught up, the only thing left was to do what we had to do."