State Track and Field Finals Notebook: HHH's McGlinn adds to haul; coach Wallace honored

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 18, 2014 

Hilton Head Island track coach Blake Bishop's advice seems counter-intuitive, but sophomore Carley McGlinn used it to capture a state championship on Saturday.

McGlinn, a member of the 4x800-meter championship quartet Friday night, rallied over the last 100 meters to win the 1,600-meter run in 5:13.64, just one second ahead of Susannah Cate of A.C. Flora.

"It felt amazing," McGlinn said. "I was actually really surprised. I was trying to medal and I just saw the opportunity. When we came around the 200, I knew I would be able to out-sprint her."

McGlinn said staying back until late gave her the element of surprise, and the ability to see what her opponents were doing.

"To win the mile, it's incredible," McGlinn said.

Bishop said McGlinn ran a textbook race.

"She took the lead the last 100 meters, which is what we tell them to do," Bishop said. Just sit back and get in a good position. She's got a great kick. She ran a wonderful race, smart race, and her best of the year."

WALLACE TAKES SPOT IN HALL

Former Beaufort High School and Battery Creek High School track and field coach Al Wallace was recognized Saturday for his long work in the sport.

Wallace was inducted into the S.C. Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony in the infield between the state championship meets Saturday. He coached the Eagles to the 1990 state championship and three runner-up finishes before that.

"I feel honored to be a member of such a fine group of coaches," Wallace said.

The 61-year-old Wallace coached at Battery Creek from 1976 to 1987 and then at Beaufort High until 2003. He still helps out with the Beaufort High athletes.

Many of the Eagles coaches, including head boys coach Al Harvey, ran track for Wallace at Beaufort High.

When asked how long he would continue, Wallace pushed the dirt with his tennis shoe.

"When they cover me up," he said. "Coaches don't ever retire, they just die."

MORRISON GOES BACK-TO-BACK

Battery Creek's Quamecha Morrison almost didn't reach the state meet after back problems. But she did enough, and Saturday she won her second consecutive Class 2-A state title in the girls high jump, clearing 5 feet, 4 inches to take gold.

Morrison beat out Batesburg-Leesville's Asia Raiford, who cleared 5-2.

The Battery Creek junior escaped the Region 6-AA meet with a spot at Lower State in the high jump after her back locked up and she could only manage one attempt.

Her goal all season was to clear 5 feet, 6 inches. But in the end, she managed another winning height.

"We're very pleased with 5-4," Battery Creek coach Tyrone Pierce said.

CLARK WINS 1-A GIRLS DISCUS

Whale Branch freshman Shatayia Clark had low expectations for the Class 1-A girls discus.

She didn't think there was a chance she would win, and wasn't shy about it. But with the help of some of her older teammates who also throw, Clark had improved her technique throughout the season.

She threw 105 feet, 1 inch on Saturday to win the state title by almost 8 feet over Southside Christian's Megan Kaiser.

Clark's seed time was only 91 feet, 1 inch. She started throwing in seventh grade, after her coach convinced her she didn't have to be fast to come out for the team.

Clark, a first-timer at the state track meet, said her teammates told her what to expect.

"That calmed me down," she said.

WARRIORS' RELAY TAKES GOLD

There were few words after the Whale Branch Early College High School girls 4x100-meter relay stepped down from the awards stand.

The group of Daja Smalls, Harmony Cleveland, Nichole Smalls and Marshayia White ran in 50.90 seconds to take gold and finish better than any of the qualifying times. The teary-eyed sophomores said they expect to be back the next two years.

"It feels great, knowing that we're all 10th graders and have years to grow," Nichole Smalls said. "It feels wonderful to be able to build and accomplish more."

JENKINS HURDLES TO THE TITLE

Whale Branch's Kemoni Jenkins dashed and leaped her way to a state championship in the Class 1-A girls 100-meter hurdles on Saturday, finishing with a time of 16.53, just ahead of Dixie's Sierra Miller.

"I just felt very good," Jenkins said. "I was surprised. I wasn't expecting that, but I guess it just happened."

Jenkins said last week's qualifier gave her confidence heading into Saturday's meet, and said she planned to "run my heart out."

"I'm glad that I made it this far," Jenkins said.

Jenkins also finished third in the 400 hurdles.

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