Toast of the Coast

Elite? Waccamaw’s Arnold continues to prove her case with latest gold rush

Waccamaw’s Briley Arnold is the 2017 The Sun News Toast of the Coast Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Waccamaw’s Briley Arnold is the 2017 The Sun News Toast of the Coast Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. The Sun News

Diamonds have proven themselves through the years to be a girl’s best friend.

But if offered a chance at gold, Briley Arnold has also shown in her career that she’ll make the most of that opportunity.

Already with a state title to her credit, the Waccamaw track and field standout defended her crown last year as Class 2A’s best in the 400-meter hurdles event. Arnold’s collection grew later in the day, also winning in the 100-meter hurdles and 4x800-meter relay.

So after walking away with such a haul as a sophomore, one would expect Arnold’s gold rush to continue.

However, the sequel rarely tends to be as good as the original version.

And that’s despite Arnold once again coming away with a state championship, continuing her mastery in the 400-meter hurdles. In that race, the Waccamaw dynamo was her dominant self, crossing the finish line in 1:03.39 — five seconds ahead of Strom Thurmond’s Maggie Massey.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “I knew that I had to keep it up through the last 200 (meters), making sure I didn’t give up any ground. It felt nice to defend my title at that distance, and set a personal record as well.”

For her career, Arnold has claimed seven state titles. The Warriors standout also left the 2017 state meet with a silver and bronze in the 4x800-meter relay and 100-meter hurdles, respectively.

As consistent as she’s been on the track, she also has become quite synonymous with another postseason honor. For the third consecutive year, Arnold is The Sun News’ 2017 Toast of the Coast Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

“She’s really a unique athlete, and has a unique situation,” Waccamaw girls track coach Bill Peterman said previously. “(Arnold) runs the relay and then runs the hurdles as well, so it’s a tough ask in regard to training her for a pair of drastically different type of events.”

No runner locally has beaten Arnold in the 400-meter hurdles in the past three years. Though track and field can be very individual in nature, the Waccamaw athlete has not lost the “team-sense” of things.

This was particularly on display shortly after winning her favorite event.

“I just hope that we as a team can add points, keep on getting closer and maybe pulling this out,” she said.

Though Waccamaw finished third, Arnold — along with a host of other young, talented athletes — are sure to have the track and field squad competing for another team title next year.

Joe L. Hughes II: 843-444-1702, @JoeLHughesII

Editor’s note

This is the seventh installment in a 10-day series honoring the top athletes from the spring high school sports season. Tomorrow: Boys track and field.

2017 Toast of the Coast Girls Track and Field Team

Player of the Year

Briley Arnold

School: Waccamaw

Year: Junior

Notable: Claimed a state title in the 400-meter hurdle event, in addition to finishing second and third in the 100-meter hurdles and 4x800-meter relay.

Kishanda Adams

School: Conway

Year: Senior

Notable: In first year throwing the shot put, she earned the Region VI-5A championship and finished sixth at the state meet with a throw of 37 feet, 2 inches

Alexus Alston

School: St. James

Year: Senior

Notable: Won the Region VII-4A title in 100-meter high hurdles and 400-meter hurdles, both events to which she placed second at the state meet.

Emily Barbosa

School: North Myrtle Beach

Year: Junior

Notable: Was part of the Region VII-4A title winning 4x400- and 4x800-meter relay teams, also finishing second in the league in the pole vault (8 feet). At the state meet, she finished fourth.

Aleah Bromell

School: Waccamaw

Year: Sophomore

Notable: In her first year competing in the shot put, she set a school record with a throw of 35 feet, 6 inches — good enough to win the Region VI-3A title. Finished fourth among Class 3A competition at the state meet.

Ka’Mauri Humes

School: St. James

Year: Freshman

Notable: Region VII-4A champion in the 200-meter dash, while claiming second in the league in the 400-meter event — one in which she set a new school record by crossing the line in just over a minute.

Melissa Jefferson

School: Carvers Bay

Year: Sophomore

Notable: Claimed Lower State 2A titles in the 100- and 200-meter races, finishing fourth and second, respectively, in those contests at the state track meet.

Teyanna Long

School: Loris

Year: Junior

Notable: Claimed Lower State 3A title in high jump while earning a third-place finish in the state meet with a jump of 5 feet.

Autumn Slobodiak

School: Green Sea Floyds

Year: Seventh grade

Notable: Qualified for the Class A state meet in the 3,200-meter run and 100-meter high hurdles.

Annabelle Scurry

School: Waccamaw

Year: Seventh grade

Notable: Region VI-3A champion in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, finishing second at the Class 3A state meet in the last of those. Also was a member of 4x800-meter relay team that claimed second at the state level.

Kayla Watkins

School: Carolina Forest

Year: Junior

Notable: Qualified for Class 5A state meet in high and long jump events, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively.

Brianna Young

School: Socastee

Year: Junior

Notable: Won Class 5A championship in discus throw with toss of 139 feet in the final round at the state meet.

Coach of the Year

Bill Peterman

School: Waccamaw

Notable: The Warriors squad saw six athletes qualify for the state meet — one of which walked away with gold — along with one of its relay teams. Waccamaw finished third overall in Class 3A.