Mallard Creek’s track program has a simple philosophy this season – take it one event at a time, one meet at a time.
That approach has paid off, as the Mavericks swept both the boys and girls team titles at the MECKA 4A championships Wednesday at Mallard Creek High School.
Even with one event remaining – the boys and girls pole vault – Mallard Creek finished Wednesday’s finals an insurmountable lead in both team standings.
The Mavericks lead A.L. Brown by 91 points (215-124) in the boys standings, while they hold a 28-point margin over Hopewell (164-136) in the girls standings.
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“I’m not surprised at all,” Mallard Creek coach Donald Littlejohn said. “The girls and boys work equally hard every day at practice. Now the success is coming in.”
The Mavericks combined for 12 event wins – six each by the boys and girls – led by Gabriele Cunningham and Cravont Charleston.
Cunningham, a senior, repeated as conference champ in three events – the girls 100- and 200-meter dashes, and 100-meter hurdles – and ran the leadoff leg on the winning 4x100-meter relay team.
Charleston, a junior, won the boys’ 100-meter dash, and ran the anchor leg on Mallard Creek’s winning 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams. He also finished third in the 200-meter dash.
Cunningham shared the meet’s most valuable girls athlete award with Hough’s Paige McKinney, who swept the long-distance events – the girls 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs – as well as ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x800-meter relay team.
“We’re taking it meet by meet. The kids are looking at states, but I tell them we’ve got to get through the regionals first. We’re aiming for first place at regionals, and nothing else right now.” – Littlejohn.
Three other athletes won two individual events each – Hough’s Maddie McHugh (girls high jump and 400-meter dash), J.M. Robinson’s Markel Dalton (boys long jump and triple jump), and North Mecklenburg’s Vincent Crisp (boys 400- and 800-meter runs). … The boys and girls pole vault will be held Thursday at J.M. Robinson High School in Concord.
The NCHSAA 4A West Regional championships will be held May 2 at Watauga High School in Boone. The top four finishers in each event will advance to the NCHSAA 4A state championships May 9 at N.C. A&T’s Irwin Belk Track in Greensboro.