The Union County track team excelled in the State qualifier this past Saturday with nine athletes advancing to the State Tournament to compete for individual state championships and All-State honors.
Senior McKale Hardy qualified in the triple jump and the also with the 4x1 relay team. Hardy said that getting the qualifier out of the way was a relief.
“Now I’m motivated to go get another ring to end my senior year,” said Hardy. “On a 1-10 confidence level I’d say I’m at an eleven.”
Hardy’s teammates in the 4x1 include Kenyana Smith, Demisha Norman and Shoulda Stevens.
Union County is sending girls relay teams to State to compete in the 4x100, 4x400 and the 4x800.
At practice on Monday, the Jackets worked on technique and exchanges in preparation for the big dance.
“We’ve been there before so we know what to expect,” said Hydia Green, a member of the 4x800 team. “We’re keeping each other motivated and pushing to do better.”
Green’s teammates, Lea Kershaw and Dynia Davis, said the team is confident, especially with senior Shakira Epps running anchor in the 4x400 and the 4x800.
“Shakira is really good at anchor,” said Kershaw. “She’s fast and she is also experienced.”
Coach Mike Massey said the girls are brushing up for the meet with drills and will continue to work on conditioning on Tuesday and Wednesday, then have a light practice on Thursday.
Preston Rice will be representing Union County in the triple jump after qualifying with a 43’6 on his last jump of the day and Massey has him, along with female jumpers Hardy and Norman, working on rotating through their jumps in preparation for the state tournament.
“It feels great to have qualified, but I’m sure it will be annoying to have to ride to State with that many girls at one time. I’m going to make sure my I-Pod is charged,” joked Rice.
The Jackets head to Spring Valley on Friday for their first couple of events including the long jump in which Norman will compete.
“Demisha has the talent to be a really good jumper,”said Massey. “The whole team is loaded with talent though. McKale can jump over 40 feet. Some kids just won’t stick with track because you don’t see results right away like you do in other sports. Those that do will see the results. It’s all about developing a work habit.”
The Jackets are hoping the hard work will pay off this weekend and Massey expects the team to do well.
“They’ve been in the atmosphere before so that should help with the nerves,” he said. “We’re going to try and keep them out of the heat as much as possible and keep them hydrated. After that, it all depends on how well you do that one particular day.”
The State meet is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and resume on Saturday at 9 a.m.
State Qualifier Results
Preston Rice — Triple Jump 43’6
Demisha Norman — Long Jump 16’6, Triple Jump 37’2, 4X100 Relay 49.18
McKale Hardy — Triple Jump 37’4, 4X100 Relay 49.18
Shoulda Stevens — 4X100 Relay 49.18, 4X400 Relay 4:12.27
Kenyanna Smith — 4X100 Relay 49.18
Hydia Green — 4X800 Relay 10:10.7
Dynia Davis — 4X400 Relay 4:12.27, 4X800 Relay 10:10.7
Shakria Epps — 4X400 Relay 4:12.27, 4X800 Relay 10:10.7
Lea Kershaw — 4X400 Relay 4:12.27, 4X800 Relay 10:10.7