COLUMBIA – Catawba Ridge junior Sam Rich paced the Copperheads to a fourth-place finish in the 4A boys state championship track meet at Spring Valley High School Friday night.
Rich won the 1,600-meters in 4:10.53 and the 3,200-meters in 9:19 to collect his third state title of the academic year. He also won the 4A individual state cross country championship last year. His distance in the mile was the 27th best in the country this year.
“I felt good with my training going in,” Rich said. “I wasn’t concerned with other people. I knew if I could run my pace, I had a shot.”
Catawba Ridge scored 51 points to state champion Greenville’s 63 points.
In the 4×800 boys relay, the Copperheads finished sixth in 8:33.37 and fifth in the 4×400 boys relay in 3:39.26. In the 400-meters, Jonathan Hairston finished fourth in 50.62 and Alex Conetta was sixth in 50.88. Joshua Silverman was seventh in the 3,200-meters in 9:45.89 as well for Catawba Ridge.
In the field events for the Copperheads, Thomas Maxwell finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 49 feet, 6 inches and seventh in the discus with a throw of 135 feet. Evan Hamilton was seventh in the javelin with a throw of 131 feet, 11 inches and Forrest Rozelle was fourth in the pole vault clearing 12 feet.
The Copperhead girls’ team finished 17th overall as James Island won the 4A girls’ state title.
In the 4×800 girls relay, Catawba Ridge finished fifth in 10:18.76. Avery Shope finished sixth in 2:21.49 in the 800-meters and Maddy Mack was seventh in the girls’ 1,600-meters in 5:19.69.
In the girls’ pole vault, Tatum Postel finished fifth clearing 9 feet, 6 inches and Jolie Nguyen was sixth clearing 8 feet. Postel also finished seventh in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 3.5 inches.
Catawba Ridge head coach David Helms said he feels like his teams really broke through to show what they can do this year.
“We made some gains in places,” he said. “There is no better place to PR than at the state championship. Everybody is coming back next year and we got a young team. I think we put our name on the map this year.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep