Sam James defended his state title in the 400 and the Richmond Hill track team finished the AAAAAA state finals with 11 All-State performances over the weekend.
James won the 400 in 48 seconds flat, less than a second ahead of the second place finisher.
“His composure during the last 60 meters of that race was so mature and so confident,” Coach Levi Sybert said. “I did not think he could close that gap originally, but seeing the composure on his face and seamless stride in the waning steps of the race put confidence back in my heart that he had it.”
James also garnered All-State honors as part of the 4x100 and 4x400 teams. The top eight finishers in each event are All-State.
The 4x100 team of James, Matthew Clark, Justin Jeffery and L’Marqez Prather finished third with a time of 41.89. James, Jeffery, Danny Haddo and Bryce Eads on the 4x400 team took fourth with a time of 3:20.91.
Prather also was All-State in the long jump, finishing third (22 feet, 7.25 inches) and seventh in the 100 with a time of 11.09.
Jalen Murray turned in to All-State performances, taking fourth in the 1600 at 4:26.24 and seventh in the 3200 at 9:47.28. Rakeem Littles finished sixth in the 800 at 1:58.99.
The boys’ team finished fourth overall after taking second last year at the state meet.
For the girls, Kayla Gholar had two All-State finishes, taking sixth in both the 800 at 2:20.61 and 1600 at 5:25.57.
Mackenzie Frei was All-State in the 100, taking eighth at 12:45.
“We were ranked to only have six All-State performances for the meet, but ultimately left with 11 podium finishes,” Sybert said. “That is a great feeling to see the joy in the athletes’ eyes when their effort and drive pays off in a visibly noticeable way to their peers and parents.”
Several other Wildcats also qualified for the state meet after strong performances at sectionals. They were: Taylor Elkins (3200), Stella Pierre-Louis (3200), Mikayla Bobkoskie (pole vault), Ellie Skinkle (pole vault), Kalia Whyte (300 hurdles), Dericka Infante, Gholar, Whyte and Frei (4x400), Lucas Van Ginkel (800), Cooper Williams (3200) and Lachlan Holt (shot put).