Toast of the Coast

Waccamaw’s Arnold finds gold in freshman season

Briley Arnold appreciated the struggle.

It made attaining the prize that much sweeter.

The Waccamaw freshman ran to a trio of gold medals at the Class AA state track and field meet this past spring, winning the 400-meter hurdles and competing as a member of the Warriors’ state champion 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams at Class AA state meet.

But it was what The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year did at the end of practices that surprised first-year Waccamaw staff member Bill Peterman, who along with girls head coach Kipp Chrisner, worked with her.

“She’s one of those kids that at end of practice, she’d say ‘Thank you, Coach Peterman.’ That was the first time I’ve had someone thank me for putting them through a tough workout at practice,” Peterman said with a chuckle.

Arnold, who has competed for the high school squad since seventh grade, wound up winning her first career golds en route to helping the Warriors finish fifth in the state.

“It was really amazing because I kept saying that I could do my best and win, and the lord helped me so much with it,” she said. “I’m just so happy He let me do that.”

While practices were grueling, they also were a bit tricky for Arnold and her coaches. Being both a hurdler and mid-distance runner, Arnold had to compete with different groups at different times in practice.

“It’s kind of tough,” Peterman said. “The main thing with her is just focusing on what she needed [to work on.] She kind of worked with both of those groups exclusively, depending on the workout. … Some days she would work exclusively on hurdles. That’s hard on anybody from that standpoint.”

Arnold embraced the challenge.

“I like it better than doing just distance or speed because I like them both,” she said. “It like mixed it up a little.”

Arnold credits current and former teammates for showing her the ropes. Her sister, MacKenzie Arnold, is a runner at Francis Marion and she also has worked with Waccamaw alumna and Clemson runner Grace Barnett and current teammate and Toast of the Coast regular Amelia Jones.

“They just helped so much because they’re so inspirational,” Arnold said.

She is the latest of a strong stable of standout runners who have helped the Warriors to four straight top-10 finishes at state.

“It’s definitely a motivation factor,” Peterman said of Arnold looking up to the older runners who have had success. “Just trying to do what they’ve done or do better than they’ve done [helps]. It helps to keep track of that stuff. They come back and are around still. Being around those kids and communicating with them [helps]. Everybody is well aware of what’s been done and it keeps a buzz going around.”

Arnold said her next goal is to up her standing in the 100-meter hurdles and continue to work out and get stronger. While there could be more gold awaiting her in the future, she’s still waiting for her triumphant freshman season to settle in.

“It’s like so amazing I can’t believe it happened,” Arnold said.

Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295. Follow sports news on Twitter @MYBSports.

The team

Athlete of the Year

Briley Arnold

School | Waccamaw

Class | Freshman

Events | Hurdles, sprints

Highlights | Won 400-meter hurdles and was member of Warriors’ state champion 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams at Class AA state meet.

Alexus Alston

School | St. James

Class | Sophomore

Events | Hurdles, sprints

Highlights | Placed fifth in 400-meter hurdles and seventh in both the 100 meters and 100-meter hurdles at Class AAA state meet.

Zaria Blain

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Senior

Events | Jumps, sprints

Highlights | Runner-up in triple jump and was member of Bears’ state champion 400-meter relay and runner-up 1,600-meter relay teams at Class A state meet.

Anatashia Bromell

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Junior

Events | Jumps

Highlights | Placed fifth in triple jump and seventh in long jump at Class A state meet.

Desaree Green

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Senior

Events | Jumps, sprints

Highlights | Won high jump, was runner-up in long jump and was member of Bears’ runner-up 1,600-meter relay team at Class A state meet.

Kelsey Glover

School | St. James

Class | Junior

Events | Distance

Highlights | Region VII-AAA champ in 800 meters, 1,600 and 3,200.

Brianna Holmes

School | Green Sea Floyds

Class | Senior

Events | Throws

Highlights | Finished fourth in shot put at Class A state meet.

Amelia Jones

School | Waccamaw

Class | Junior

Events | Distance

Highlights | Won 3,200 meters, placed seventh in 1,600 meters and was member of Warriors’ state champion 3,200-meter relay team at Class AA state meet.

Alexis Leonhardt

School | North Myrtle Beach

Class | Junior

Events | Jumps

Highlights | Tied for ninth in high jump at Class AAA qualifier.

Zhane Richburg

School | Green Sea Floyds

Class | Senior

Events | Throws

Highlights | Finished fifth in shot put at Class A state meet.

Kenia Smith

School | Conway

Class | Freshman

Events | Distance

Highlights | Won 3,200 meters and was runner-up in 800 at Region VI-AAAA meet.

Kayla Watkins

School | Carolina Forest

Class | Freshman

Events | Jumps

Highlights | Tied for 10th in high jump and tied for 13th in long jump at Class AAAA state qualifier.

Felicity Weber

School | St. James

Class | Sophomore

Events | Jumps

Highlights | Placed fifth in pole vault at Class AAA state meet.

Tiera Young

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Sophomore

Events |

Highlights | Placed fifth in 800 meters and was member of Bears’ state champion 400-meter relay and runner-up 1,600-meter relay teams at Class A state meet.

Coach of the Year

Kipp Chrisner

School | Waccamaw

Highlights | Led the Warriors to a fifth-place finish at state, the team’s fourth straight top-10 finish.

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