As Loris finished fifth as a team in Class AA, the school brought home three state titles.
The 400-meter relay team of Kyle Bellamy, Desmond Dozier, Mac MacLeod, Hykeem Jackson, Kendal Goodson, Kashawn Gailger finished first with a time of 42.77, edging Strom Thurmond by .18 seconds for the title.
“Those kids worked very hard all year,” Lions coach Adrain Grady said. “They’re very good kids and it’s really been a long two years. These same kids qualified for the 4 by 100 last year and came in fifth. They worked real hard to get back here and proved how much they did in order to accomplish this goal.”
They were coming off their only loss of the season as they fell to Woodland in the Lower State championship by a margin of .25 seconds, and Grady said their performance Saturday was good for a new school mark.
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“But they were only breaking their own record,” Grady said.
Dozier took home another title as well.
In the 100-meter dash, Dozier finished with a time of 10.53 – also a new school record – as he beat out Woodland senior Aran Green (10.76).
It capped an illustrious athletic career for Dozier, as he now holds records at Loris in football, baseball and track and field. He’ll be attending Johnson C. Smith in the fall to continue his football career.
“Dez had a great career in all sports and this was a great way for him to end it,” Grady said. “He’s a very good kid and has great parents; they raised him right and that translates to him producing. He’s one of the fastest kids I’ve ever seen and I’m glad he got his chance to win a ring.”
Also taking home a ring was Lions senior Darius Jackson, who dominated in shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 8 inches to beat out Chesnee senior Kavarious Sarratt by 7 feet, 3 inches.
Jackson – who will attend Catawba on a football scholarship – improved his throw in last year’s Class AA state championship, where he finished seventh with a toss of 48 feet.
“He’s really hardworking,” Grady said of Jackson. “He qualified for states last year and did everything he could to get better. He also won at the Beach Run, which helped him get ready for this competition and he won by a good margin.”
Also finishing for Loris was Hykeem Jackson, who was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Grady said the school was well represented at Spring Valley and was proud of his kids.
“It means a lot, not only for the kids that ran but for the ones that look up to them. They can see that hard work pays off,” he said. “They gave up time on weekends, spring break and were at practice every day working hard and they did the little stuff that it takes to get it done.”