COLUMBIA -- Members of the Hilton Head High boys track team walked around Spring Valley High School's stadium Saturday and filed down the steps on the opposite side, closest to the finish line.
The Seahawks' Class 3-A title hopes rested on one race -- the 4x400-meter relay -- and they wanted a better view.
Hilton Head High needed only to finish ahead of South Pointe, but South Pointe runners led each of the first three legs, taking the final baton 50 meters or so ahead of Hilton Head High junior Desmond Bonaparte.
Most onlookers might have given the Seahawks little chance. But the Hilton Head High squad watching from the stands knew better. They had watched Bonaparte overtake runners at the region meet and state qualifying.
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And so when he did it again, running a personal best split to overtake South Pointe for second with fewer than 70 meters left, the Seahawks were giddy, but not surprised. Bonaparte's finish ensured Hilton Head High of its first state track title since 1987.
The Seahawks won by a single point.
"We knew he had it in him, we just didn't know if he was going to get it done," Seahawks senior Jack Felix said. "And then he pulled through, and it was amazing when he did."
Beaufort High School's girls finished fourth in Class 4-A after a strong start, seven points behind champion Summerville. The Eagles enjoyed a large cushion after Friday's events and started Saturday with a second-place finish in the 4x100 relay.
But for as well as Beaufort High girls coach Herb Glaze thought his team performed, he knew there were deeper teams. The Eagles were within two points of second and third place entering the final relay, but all three teams ahead of them were strong in the event.
Beaufort High's champions included freshman Madeline Aune, who cleared 12 feet on the pole vault, and Veneshia Holmes, who did not match her qualifying number but still did enough to win long jump.
"It was amazing," Glaze said. "Next year will be bright."
Beaufort High's boys finished fifth in the team standings. Akeem Smalls won the 400-meter dash and finished third in the 200.
In Class 3-A, Battery Creek's boys finished 10th, led by Jamario Williams' third-place finish in the 400. Bluffton's boys were 15th. Bobcats senior Desmond Jenkins was the 400-meter hurdles champion.
Hilton Head High's girls finished 18th and Bluffton was 20th.
The Class 1-A and 2-A meet was delayed as thunderstorms swept through Northeast Columbia. When the weather cleared, Whale Branch's boys had finished sixth in the Class 1-A team standings.
Ridgeland junior Alvin Brown had the top showing among the area's Class 1-A schools, winning the discus with a throw of 144 feet, 10 inches. Hardeeville senior Aaron Grant was second in both hurdle events.
Hilton Head High's boys won their team title despite not having a single qualifier in a field event. Instead, the Seahawks stacked the distance events. In the half mile, mile and 2-mile, Hilton Head High earned 43 of its 61 points.
Four of the eight runners in the 3,200 were Seahawks.
Hilton Head High coach Blake Bishop scribbled out the totals as each event finished. He was almost certain of where his team stood when the final race was finished. But he waited until after South Pointe was announced as runner-up before letting loose.
Bonaparte raised a fist in the air. T-shirts were handed out.
The final race was only the third time the Seahawks had used that combination of runners for the 4x400 -- the two previous times being at region and state. Senior Michael Brewer, who won the 800, ran the third leg of the final relay and said he just tried to close as much ground as possible before handing off to Bonaparte.
"I just gave it to Desmond and prayed he would do something good," Brewer said. "And he did."
S.C. High School League Track and Field Championships
Girls team Class 3-A
18. Hilton Head High
20. Bluffton High School
Boys team Class 3-A
1. Hilton Head High
10. Battery Creek
Girls team Class 4-A
4. Beaufort High
Boys team Class 4-A
5. Beaufort High
200-meter: 8. Stephanie Pollock, Beau.
400-meter hurdles: 8. Alexia Neal, Beau.
4x100-meter relay: 2. Beau. (Tiffany Robinson, Stephanie Pollock, Latoya Smalls, Veneshia Holmes)
4x400-meter relay: 4. Beau. (Bre-Anna Heyward-White, Veneshia Holmes, Geneshia Holmes, Stephanie Pollock)
Pole vault: 1. Madeline Aune, Beau.
Long jump: 1. Veneshia Holmes, Beau.
Shot put: 2. Deja Jackson, Beau.
Discus: 5. Deja Jackson, Beau.
800 meter: 5. Margo Dill, HHH.
1600 meter: 5. Sara Manesiotis, HHH; 6. Faith Lifer, HHH.
4x800 relay: 8. Bluffton
Long jump: 4. Shawanda Stokes, Bluff.
Triple jump: 6. Tyelure Moses, Bluff.
400: 5. Adashia Beasley, Ridgeland
4x100: 2. Hardeeville (Tydasha Rivers, Ravon Grant, Aaliyah Hill, Raven Grant)
4x800: 5, Ridgeland (Adashia Beasley, Goldy Cohen, Amani Ferguson, Loretta Young)
High Jump: 4. Aaliyah Hill, Hardeeville
200-meter: 3. Akeem Smalls, Beau.
400-meter: 1. Smalls, Beau.
110-meter hurdles: 6. Randy Thomas, Beau.; 7. Henry Jenkins, Beau.; 8. Davonte Green, Beau.
4x100-meter relay: 3. Beaufort High (D'Vonte Cohen, Desmond Howard, Thomas, Smalls)
4x400-meter relay: 8. Beaufort High (Howard, Jenkins, Smalls, Thomas)
4x800-meter relay: 7. Beaufort High (Timothy Aune, Ruben Francis, MArk Rennix, Terae Davis)
High jump: 6. Martin Washington, Beau.
200-meter: 7. Jamario Williams, BC
400-meter: 3. Jamario Williams, BC; 7. Marcus James, BC
800-meter: 1. Michael Brewer, HHH; 5. Aubree Bruce, HHH
1600-meter: 2. Jack Felix, HHH; 5. Jack Manesiotis, HHH; 6. T.J. Melanson, HHH
3200-meter: 4. Melanson, HHH; 5. MacKenzie Johnston, HHH; 6. Felix, HHH; 7. Manesiotis, HHH
400-meter hurdles: 1. Desmond Jenkins, Bluff.
4x100-meter relay: 6. Battery Creek
4x400-meter relay: 2. Hilton Head High (Johnston, Brewer, Bruce, Desmond Bonaparte); 7. Battery Creek (Rakeem Brown, Brent Johnson, James, Williams)
4x800-meter relay: 1. Hilton Head High (Felix, Brewer, Johnston, Bruce); 4. Bluffton (Clark Sinclair, Harris Reeves, Anthony Vecchio, DeVaughn Frazier); 7. Battery Creek (Brown, Johnson, Raymond Wayne, Keenan Wright)
Shot put: 8. Spencer Butler, BC
Discus: 6. Spencer Butler, BC
800: 5. Devonte Lykes, Whale Branch
1600: 5. Devonta' Glover, Whale Branch
3200: 5. Devonta' Glover, Whale Branch
110 Hurdles: 2. Aaron Grant, Hardeeville
400 Hurdles: 2. Aaron Grant, Hardeeville
4x100: 6. 6, Hardeeville (Jamal Grant, Aaron Grant, Dominique Riley, Charlie Morrison-Ford)
High Jump: 3. Devonta' Alston, Whale Branch
Long Jump: 2. Devonta' Alston, Whale Branch
Triple Jump: 6. Saydrian Williams, Ridgeland
Shot Put: 2. Wesley Scott, Ridgeland; 5. Travono McKee, Whale Branch; 7. Alvin Brown, Ridgeland
Discus: 1. Alvin Brown, Ridgeland; 4. Howard Allen, Whale Branch; 6. Jarell Knighton, Hardeeville