A “clerical error” temporarily derailed a Waccamaw quartet’s goal that was more than a year in the making. It also threatened to assure their dream never became a reality.
Luckily for this group of Warriors, there was one more chance.
On Friday, the Waccamaw boys 3,200-meter relay team stunned many by beating Bishop England to take home gold in the South Carolina High School League Track and Field Championships at Spring Valley in Columbia. A year prior, the senior foursome — Bennett Stover, William Daniels, Perrin Jones and Tyfiq James — was disqualified at Lower State because of what Warriors coach Bill Peterman called a “clerical error” and was void of a chance to knock off the Bishops, who’d won the event all but two times since 2005.
“In 10th grade, we got third as a team and we were like ‘All right, next year we’ll get it,’ and then we got disqualified,” Jones said. “So then we all had one more chance to do it. It made me a lot more nervous. It made the whole team [nervous] because we knew we couldn’t mess it up again.
“But we used that as motivation, too, because we were like ‘This is it. We have to do it right now. There’s no excuses.’ So I think it helped a lot that this was our last chance.”
The relay squad not only won the Class 3A title, but it bested a school record by more than 10 seconds while posting the fastest time by a 3,200-meter relay team, regardless of class, during the weekend meet.
“They kind of had our number I guess for a while,” Peterman said of Bishop England. “Our boys just went out there and ran a perfect race. Every single one of them set a personal record in that race. They kind of led from the beginning to the end.”
In reflection, those around the program compared the feat to those such as the U.S. hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” or Buster Douglas’ famed boxing upset of Mike Tyson. However, Peterman was quick to assert that this was no fluke.
“We wore them out. They were chasing us pretty much the whole race,” he said. “We kept on running through the lines looking strong. They didn’t look as strong as we did, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Tyaisha Edwards provided the Warriors’ other major feat of the weekend, taking home gold in both the 100 meters (11.95 seconds) and 200-meter dash (24.57).
“She’s incredibly fast,” Peterman said. “Those times she put down today — 11.95 in the 100 and 24.5 in the 200 — that’s fast. That’s gettin’ it.”
It was the second straight year Edwards swept the sprints, a feat Peterman said he wouldn’t have expected three years ago. Edwards has gone from a track novice to team leader in that time period, Peterman said. And, of course, she’s only gotten faster.
“I think repeating in those two races is very difficult because I feel like there’s so many fast kids out there,” Peterman said. “Everybody wants to run the 100, so it’s hard to repeat in that race because after you win everybody’s looking to get you, you’ve got a target on your back. And she just never really — all season long — got too worried about everybody coming after her. She just continued to come out and work hard.”
Overall, the girls team — which won state last year — finished third and the boys squad took fourth.
Rylee Allison (1,600m, fifth, 5:35.25; 3,200m, third, 12:02.92) had the Warriors’ other podium finish.
Other Waccamaw boys results included: Jones (3,200m, sixth, 9:57.87); 400m relay team (James Alston Jerrod Smith, Jayvian Simmons, Kaimon Skinner) fifth (43.84); Bryson Woodhouse (110 hurdles, fifth, 15.95); Bennett Stover (800m, fifth, 2:00.01); 1,600m relay team (Daniels, James Alston, Stover, James) fourth (3:26.84); Jayvian Simmons (long jump, seventh, 20-1); Jarred Koontz (pole vault, fifth, 12-0); and Jared McCabe (shot put, sixth, 46-4 1/2). Other girls results included: Kami Fitzgerald (high jump, sixth, 4-8); 3,200m relay team (Ella Fata, Samantha Kelly, Rylee Allison, Anna Margaret Loftus) fourth (10:06.21); and Anna Margaret Loftus (3,200m, second, 11:56.35).
“Like I told them this morning, ‘You guys do all the work, we just give you a blueprint and give you a few hard judges along the way,’” Peterman said with a laugh.
For all the individual and team accomplishments, this weekend belonged to a beleaguered 3,200-meter relay team that finally found redemption.
“We were using it as motivation all year. We saw it as a blessing so we do what we really wanted to do this year as seniors, which was to win state,” Jones said. “We pushed each other all year and when it came time it felt like a dream come true when we finally got this opportunity and then it actually happened, which was amazing.
“We were ecstatic. We couldn’t believe it. It still hasn’t really set in. It’s really like a storybook ending.”
In Class 5A, Socastee’s Kenney Solomon brought home a pair of silver medals, finishing runner up in both the 100 meters(10.57) and 200 (21.57).
St. James’ Jayson Brady (1,600m, sixth, 4:31.21) was the only other boy from 5A to qualify for the meet. Socastee’s Jermaisha Arnold (400m, fifth, 56.04) was the lone girl from the classification to compete.
Myrtle Beach High’s track squad qualified for just two events in Class 4A but made the podium in both. The Seahawks’ 400-meter relay team (Michael Brown, Austin Randall, Ben Herriott, Jaylen Sparkman) finished third (42.97), while Macy Werner placed third in the pole vault (9-0).
North Myrtle Beach’s Jermisha Moss (shot put, second, 34-7 3/4) was the area’s other 4A podium finisher. The Chiefs had two other girls compete at the meet: Malaaysia Williams (triple jump, eighth, 33-3) and Kayah Marques (pole vault, tied seventh, 8-0).
North Myrtel Beach had several boys individuals and relay team members compete over the weekend as well: 3,200m relay team (Halen Button, Jacob Koontz, Jarred Kilday, Alexander D’Annunzio) seventh (8:28.96); Jensen Button (400m, sixth, 50.97); 1,600m relay team (Jensen Button, Halen Button, Nicholas Moss, Zyer Bell) sixth (3:33.10); Gabriel Hines (pole vault, second, 14-0); Davonta Wilson (pole vault, sixth, 11-6); and Marcelous Livingston (shot put, seventh, 46-2 3/4).
Aside from Waccamaw, Loris’ Loris’ Bre’Asia Page (long jump, fifth, 15-8) was the only other area competitor in Class 3A.
Green Sea Floyds’ Mia Crankfield posted a podium finish in the Class A 800 meters (2:49.61).
Other Trojans girls finishers include: Sheyla Nunez (1,600m, seventh, 8:15.28; 3,200m, sixth, 20:08.18) and Raymonda Moody (long jump, sixth, 13-9; triple jump, seventh, 28-8 1/2)
The GSF boys 3,200m relay (Caleb Davis, Jajuan Arocho, Kanye Sweatman, Diondre Fort) finished eighth (10:14.54) and Dan Johnson took fifth in the triple jump (40-1 1/2).