There is one thing coaches will tell you after winning a state team title: You have to actively go out and win it, it is not given to you or your athletes, you need to earn it. That is what South County did this Saturday at the Class 6 State Championships.
Though Western Branch, Oscar Smith, and West Springfield had some stars who were certainly going to score some big points; it always looked like it was going to be yet another battle between Grassfield and South County for the team title.
Indoors ultimately saw Grassfield victorious and headed to outdoors, it looked tough for anyone to catch them considering their strength in the throws.
South County though focused on their bread and butter events and went out to attack the meet head on.
After day one it was a mix of emotions. Grassfield had scored a lot of points and advanced their key finalists while South County knew points were on the horizon but needed to stay focused and bring the heat on day two.
"We reminded our kids that this is a moment where we need to come together as a team, supporting and pushing each other to give our absolute best. We instilled the belief that there's no hole too deep for us to climb out of, and that with every stride, and every throw, we have the opportunity to turn the tide in our favor" - Coach Maurice Hutton
The second day started great with a staggering 21 points in the 100m dash. Catalina Sanchious ran a solid 11.89 for the win with Cameron Thompson in second and Mianna Mason in 6th. This really put SoCo into a great position and started the day off great.
What happened next was truly the inflection point of the meet. In the 4x100m final, which was arguably the most hype event of the meet, the Stallions of SoCo led by about 5 meters over Oscar Smith heading into the final exchange when there was some miscommunication and SoCo was unable to make the exchange. Though it was not guaranteed, it looked like they were going to definitely win and in worst case get second place.
Those points would have been huge.
Not 20 minutes later, Grassfield's Sophie Rambo won the 400m dash to give them crucial points. These were on top of the three points they picked up during the 4x100 as well.
You could see the South County athletes walking around the track, looking semi-defeated and frustrated that another title could slip thru their fingers. Like coaches say, you have to go out and win it.
"Our team understood that this was a test of character, and they were fully committed to embracing the challenge"
That message worked because after that, they started chipping away at the points. In the 300mH Mason finished 4th overall (5 points) from the unseeded section and then Sanchious and Thompson went 1-2 in the 200 and put SoCo in the driver's seat.
Headed into the 4x400 it was 57 to 52.5 with SoCo leading. The quartet of Jordann Germain, Ajayla McNeal, Destinie Williams, and Jordan Salisbury teamed up and went out to prove a point. They battled a very strong Colgan team to the line to win the 4x400 in 3:54.07 to officially win the team title.
Over 10 athletes scored for them to make it a true team effort.