Butler nips Richmond for relay title

By Shawn Stinson Sports editor

May 19, 2014

GREENSBORO — As the finish line kept getting closer and closer, so did Richmond Senior’s Jayvon Boyer to Butler’s Chuka Soronadi.

With 20 meters remaining, it appeared as if Boyer would have enough momentum to overtake Soronadi at the line and give Richmond the 4A state championship in the 4x200 relay.

When Boyer received the baton from Gus Chambers for the anchor leg, no one would have believed Richmond would have been able to mount a challenge to Butler. Boyer was nearly 10 meters behind Soronadi, but the freshman only had one thought — run him down.

“I was thinking I’m going to catch him. I’m going to catch him,” Boyer said.

As they reached the line, Soronadi lunged his body in front just enough to edge Boyer by .03 seconds to give Butler the state championship Saturday afternoon at North Carolina A&T University.

“I wish I had a little more time,” Boyer said.

Instead the team of Travis Newton, Isaiah Brewington, Chambers and Boyer were forced to settle for second.

But they would all have another chance at a state title later in the day in the 4x100.

This time Chambers would lead things off for the Raiders and hand the baton off to Boyer, before Brewington and Newton would wrap things up.

At the finish line Richmond and Butler were again battling for a position, but this time it was for second as Mallard Creek ran away with the title in a time of 41.48. Anthony Ratliff edged Newton to allow the Bulldogs to take second in a time of 41.86 to 41.95 for the Raiders.

“(My start) could have been better,” Chambers said. “I don’t like finishing third.”

Newton’s day was just hitting its stride. In addition to the two relay events, Newton qualified for the finals in 100 and 200. During the morning session Newton was forced to run his preliminary heat in the 100 twice because another runner fell during the race and the other runners stopped believing it was a false start.

After the lunch break, Newton finished fifth in the 100 in a time of 11.05. Quashawn Cunningham of Mallard Creek won the state title with a time of 10.61. Hoke’s Brandon McRae was eighth and fell at the finish line with an apparent hamstring injury.

Newton was able to rest after the relay events and prepare for the 200, what he believed was his best chance at a championship. He was seeded fifth overall and was in the second and final heat with the other top qualifiers.

The senior finished third in his heat with a time of 21.92, but was fourth overall as Scotland’s Jalen Tyson posted a time of 21.89 in the first heat to take third.

Newton’s day wrapped up with him helping the relay teams finish second and third, individually he finished fourth and fifth in his events.

“I did pretty good for my first time at state,” Newton said.

Mount Tabor won the boys title, edging Apex 63-57. Mount Tabor was second going into the final event, the 4x400 and needed to finish at least sixth to win the championship. The Spartans placed second, vaulting them to the title. Richmond was 11th with 22 points, one point behind Hoke and Butler.

On the girls side, Parkland cruised to the title, beating Wakefield by 48 points. Hoke was the Southeastern Conference’s top finisher, tying for 36th with three points.

Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.