Beaufort, Whale Branch lead strong Lowco contingent into state track meet

Beaufort, Whale Branch lead strong Lowco contingent into state track meet

The Lowco is ready to make some noise at the SCHSL Track and Field State Championships this week in Columbia.

Whale Branch is sending 19 individuals and six relays to compete in 38 events in the Class 1A meet Thursday at Lower Richland, and Beaufort High will send 21 individuals and four relays to compete in 34 events in the Class 4A meet Saturday at Spring Valley. May River will have 11 athletes and four relay teams in 20 events, Hilton Head High will send eight athletes and a relay team, and Bluffton qualified six athletes and three relay squads alongside four Colleton County representatives and a Cougar relay team. Battery Creek also has a contingent of five athletes qualified in six events for the Class 3A meet Saturday at Lower Richland, and Ridgeland-Hardeeville will take two athletes and a relay team to the Class 2A meet at the same venue. 

The Warriors should be well-positioned to compete for team titles in Class 1A, especially on the girls side, where Kynew Barnwell is seeded first or second in three events — the 100- and 400-meter hurdles and the long jump — Talaijah Bartley is seeded in the top three in both hurdles races, Destiny Pryor is top-three in the 100 and 200, and Kaylyn Caldwell qualified in three events. Whale Branch’s girls are also seeded first in the 4×100 and 4×800 relays and fourth in the 4×400, and Erin Rivers is seeded first in the discus. On the boys side, Whale Branch’s Keith Chisholm qualified in three events, and Xavier Chaplin is seeded third in both the discus and shot put.

The Eagles also have their sights set on bringing home some team trophies with a large group of boys and girls making the trip to Columbia. Jayla Daise leads a promising Beaufort girls team, having qualified in all three throws and secured the No. 1 seed in the shot put, while teammates Charlize Antia, Anaiya Houseal, and Keasia Walker also qualified in multiple events. Zyrin Odom, Nash Mills, Alvin Wilson, and Kacy Fields all qualified in multiple events on the boys side, and the Eagles are seeded first in the 4×800 relay. 

The May River Sharks are led by junior track and cross country sensation Anya Arroyo, who will take part in both the 1600m and 3200m. Fareed Abdullah will look to shine in both the 100m and 200m sprints, and AnnaDora Hale is scheduled to compete in both the 100m and 400m hurdles. The Sharks will have a great shot at the podium in two girls relay events and are seeded first in the 4x800m.

Hilton Head High’s Cynthia Gudaitis should be a factor in the 1600m, while Janile Roberson (100m + 200m) and Caden Thune (800m + 1600m) will both compete in two events. The Seahawks will send their girls 4x800m relay team to the state meet alongside a trio of pole vaulters in Franklin Holland, George Apy, and Justin Simmons.

Bluffton will showcase several multi-sport stars at the meet, as Jaylin Linder and Tacoya Heyward will both compete in the long jump while speedy Camauri Simmons qualified for the 100m sprint. Eighth-grader Elise Hunt notched a spot in the 1600m alongside freshman Earlon Baker, and three Bobcat relay teams earned bids including the 4×100 boys and the 4×800 boys and girls.

Colleton County’s Shandi Brown and Makayla Chisolm both qualified for the 100m sprint, and Chisolm will also compete in the javelin throw. The Cougar 4×100 girls relay team also punched its ticket to the meet, and both Nasir Pencile and Zariona Hudson will battle in the high jump. 

Tanner McCracken leads the Battery Creek contingent, having qualified in the shot put and discus — one of three Dolphin boys to qualify in the discus. Ridgeland-Hardeeville’s girls 4×100 relay team qualified for the Class 2A meet alongside Naiyanah Jenkins in the triple jump and Anthony Grant in the high jump. 

Photo by Joy Peeler

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