HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD

Hilton Head Island sweeps 3-A 4x800 state championships

mmccombs@islandpacket.comMay 17, 2014 

Hilton Head Island's 4x800 relay team of Carley McGlinn, Rachel Friend, Ciara McMahon and Rebeka Parent won the Class 3-A state championship Monday night at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.

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It was a Seahawks sweep in the 4x800 relay on Friday night at the S.C. High School League State Track and Field Championships at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.

The Hilton Head Island boys returned to the top, winning for the seventh time in the past eight years after last year's loss to Daniel ended their win streak at six.

And the Hilton Head Island girls finally picked up the win after three second-place finishes in coach Blake Bishop's first seven seasons.

"Our girls have been getting better every week," Bishop said. "I thought we had a chance depending on how (James Island) ran and what team showed up for us."

In the end, the Seahawks' team of junior Carley McGlinn, sophomore Rachel Friend, senior Ciara McMahon and junior Rebeka Parent turned in a school-record time of 9:48.40, more than seven seconds faster than the Trojans.

"We knew last year we had to face Daniel, we knew they were going to be strong," Bishop said. "It was disappointing (finishing second). We knew we lost to a really strong Daniel school and that we didn't run a bad race. This year, they've gotten better each week, stayed healthy."

Senior Colton Hennessey is the only runner remaining from Hilton Head Island's last boys 4x800 title team in 2012. He was joined this year by junior Chris Skager, senior Victor Jimenez and junior Seamus Love. The four combined for a time of 8:09.74, almost five seconds better than runner-up James Island.

Hilton Head Island's prolonged success in the 4x800 is no accident, according to Bishop.

"It's the hard work and the dedication that makes our kids standout from the others," Bishop said. "They work hard and don't complain. And it's a combination of a couple of long-distance guys and a couple of sprinters. The long-distance guys work on their sprinting and the sprinters work on their distance.

"It's a combination of the two. That combination works well. And you get the kids to buy into it. It's a fun race to watch, and after you compete in it, you want to do it again."

After the relay wins, Hilton Head Island stands at seventh in the boys and girls standings, each with 10 points.

Bishop, whose boys team won the 2011 3-A championship with most of its points coming from the Seahawks' distance runners, doesn't believe there enough points out there for either Hilton Head Island team to pull off the same feat this year.

"All of our kids qualified for (Saturday) are qualified at seventh and eighth," Bishop said. "But that's good in a way. They can only go up. I do expect good things (Saturday) but I don't think we have enough depth for a top-two finish."

"But I do think our kids could surprise some people."

The Seahawks' 4x800 teams were the only area athletes to compete Friday night.

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