Michael Brewer, Jack Felix and Aubree Bruce know the tradition. They helped establish it.
Mackenzie Johnston is simply glad to finally be a part of it.
Individually, they are four of the top runners on the Hilton Head High boys track team, which has aspirations of competing for a team title at this weekend's Class 3-A state track meet at Spring Valley High School.
Together, they form an accomplished team -- and an awfully big target. The chosen four make up a distinguished 4x800-meter relay team, which will run for a fifth consecutive state title Friday at Spring Valley. The Seahawks have won the event each of the past four years, but they will take a new foursome into Friday's only boys race, scheduled for 6:50 p.m.
"There is definitely pressure," admitted Felix, who has been a part of the past two titles, along with Brewer. "There is that expectation for us since we've won it the last four years. We have a lot of weight on our shoulders."
Brewer believes the Seahawks are again strong enough to carry it.
They enter the race ranked second in the state in the 4x800. They have never been ranked first entering the event, despite winning gold four straight seasons.
Bruce was on last year's team, along with Felix, Brewer and four-time champion Clifford Morrow. Johnston is the lone newcomer, and he had to win a difficult battle among teammates to earn the spot vacated by Morrow, who graduated last year.
"We've had a strong group of people for a while now," Brewer said. "We have a really good training program, and we're all dedicated to it. We have a good streak going, and we don't want to be the ones to lose that."
They may be running for something even bigger -- a team state championship.
The Seahawks have qualified two relay teams for the state meet to go along with nine entrants in three individual races, including four of the meet's eight participants in Saturday's 3,200-meter race. Although they have no qualifiers in any of the field events, coach Blake Bishop says his team's sheer numbers in the running events puts them in the mix as a state contender.
"If everybody runs well, it should be a good day," Bishop said. "We just look for everyone to do what they've already done, which will be good enough to win a lot of races."
Much of their competition will come from county rivals. Battery Creek and Bluffton qualified for the 4x800 relay, and the Dolphins and Seahawks will compete against one another in the 4x400, as well.
Battery Creek's Jamario Williams qualified for two individual events -- the 200 and the 400. Teammate Spencer Butler is the only athlete from the county who will be competing in the Class 3-A shot put and discus, for which he qualified eighth and second, respectively.
SCHSL STATE TRACK MEET
When: Friday and Saturday
Where: Spring Valley High School, Columbia
Admission: $5 Friday, $8 Saturday
Schedule: Friday events include Class 4-A and 3-A long jump, pole vault, shot pot, discus, triple jump and 4x800-meter race; all other Class 4-A and 3-A events are Saturday. All Class 2-A and 1-A events will take place Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
Class 3-A local qualifiers
200 meters: Jamario Williams, BC, 4th
400 meters: Jamario Williams, BC, 3rd; Marcus James, BC, 5th
800 meters: Michael Brewer, HHH, 2nd; Aubree Bruce, HHH, 5th
1,600 meters: Jack Felix, HHH, 2nd; Jack Manesiotis, HHH, 5th; T.J. Melanson, HHH, 6th
3,200 meters: Jack Felix, HHH, 2nd; Mackenzie Johnston, HHH, 3rd; Jack Manesiotis, HHH, 4th; T.J. Melanson, HHH, 8th
400 hurdles: Desmond Jenkins, Bluff., 2nd
4x100 relay: Battery Creek, 4th
4x400 relay: Hilton Head High, 2nd; Battery Creek, 5th
4x800 relay: Hilton Head High, 2nd; Bluffton, 6th; Battery Creek, 8th
Shot put: Spencer Butler, BC, 8th
Discus: Spencer Butler, BC, 2nd
800 meters: Margo Dill, HHH, 8th
1,600 meters: Faith Lifer, HHH, 4th; Sara Manesiotis, HHH, 6th
3,200 meters: Sara Manesiotis, HHH, 4th
4x800 relay: Bluffton, 7th
Long jump: Shawanda Stokes, Bluff., 6th
Triple jump: Tyelure Moses, Bluff., 7th