The Warriors of Nansemond River held on Saturday to make it a sweep of titles for defending champions.
Friday and Saturday did not go as planned. That is basically what any of the top schools would have said about their state championships. There was just something off throughout the meet for many teams. Most years it is a clean run for most but this year it was melee from the start.
Here is how each team title battle started and played out...
Class 6 Girls
The Bruins of Western Branch entered the weekend after having won 11 state titles in a row and confident that they would make it 12. After a few falls and missteps here and there things actually got pretty close. They were so close in fact, South Lakes actually held a .5 point lead heading into the 200m dash. South Lakes had 59.5 and Western Branch had 59.
The Ballard sisters though did what they had to and went 1-2 with South Lakes going 3-5. Those 18 points helped Branch gain a 7.5 point lead heading into the 4x400m relay where both teams had solid lineups. Western Branch just needed to finish third to make it 12 in a row and their quartet finished 5th with South Lakes taking the event.
The final team score was 81 to 79.5 which lines South Lakes up pretty well for the showdown of the century next indoor season.
Class 6 Boys
The competition here was almost the opposite. It was supposed to be brutally close throughout but the depth of Western Branch could not be overcome. These Bruins picked up a staggering 66 points with only two victories (4x4/discus). Talk about depth.
Oscar Smith was the team with the best chance at upsetting the Bruins but due to a misunderstanding in the 100m prelims their star runner Kurt Powdar did not make the finals. He would have scored an average of six points so ultimately things would not have been that close.
Class 5 Boys
Next up was the Class 5 Boys team battle featuring Highland Springs, Bethel, and defending champions L.C. Bird. The favorites heading into the meet were the Skyhawks of L.C. Bird who not only had depth in the relays but also distance, sprints, and field events as well.
The meet though started in a bad way for Bird. They missed a few points here and there on Friday but by Saturday they were picking up points left and right. Highland Springs and Bethel were also doing the same though. This made things quite close until the end but ultimately their depth was too much.
L.C. Bird had so much depth that they scored at least a point in 12 of the 17 events. Had they focused even more on that stat they could have probably scored in 15 of the events too. They chose though to focus on relays a little more and closed out the meet in style with a big win in the 4x400m relay.
Class 5 Girls
The most exciting team competition of the meet though was the Class 5 girls. This one was honestly not supposed to be close at all. A dropped baton in the 4x1 relay later and it became very close. We truly thought at that point the meet was over and that Bethel or Maury was a lock for the crown.
The Warriors boasting a 10 state title streak had other plans in mind. They entered the 300mH down by 27 points. That was probably their largest deficit in a state meet in years and probably the first time they trailed a team on Saturday.
In the 300mH the Warrior tallied up 15 points behind Kori Carter's win and a 6-7 finish. The next event for all three teams was the 200m dash where Nansemond River picked up another three points on Bethel to make it a nine point deficit heading into the 4x4.
That made things not only come down to the 4x4 but make it so that Nansemond River had to win the entire event to win the team title by a single point. That was what they needed to do and exactly what they did with Kori Carter anchoring them home to a 3:49 victory over Highland Spring's 3:50.93.
Mills Godwin finished third in the race with a 3:54 clocking. They achieved that time thanks to a crazy 52.03 split from Britton Wilson. Watch that race above.