High School Sports

Hilton Head High 4x800 team wins 5th straight state title

The Seahawks just about have this down to a science.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Hilton Head High boys 4x800 meter relay team captured a Class 3-A state championship, holding off top-seeded Chapin on Friday night on the opening day of the state track meet at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.

Chapin's anchor overtook Jack Felix on the final leg, only to have the Hilton Head High senior chase him down and pass him on the final lap.

"Jack's been injured a bit, so he ran a smart race," Seahawks coach Blake Bishop said. "All four looked very relaxed and confident."

The Seahawks' winning time of 7 minutes, 57 seconds, was half a second better than Chapin and was good enough to break the school record set by last year's 4x800 squad. Bluffton's boys finished fourth and Battery Creek took seventh.

Senior Michael Brewer got the Seahawks' winning run started, jumping out early and clocking a 1:58 first leg.

"He came out and set a tone for it," Bishop said. "He gave our kids a good lead."

Brewer handed the baton to Mackenzie Johnston -- the only new member on this year's relay team -- and the senior also ran a 1:58 split. Aubree Bruce was in charge of the race's third leg, registering a time of 2 minutes.

"He's been injured, so he ran very comfortably and smooth," Bishop said of Bruce.

The victory earned 10 team points for the Seahawks. With several more runners set to hit the track today, Bishop is hoping for a good finish in the team standings.

"We'll see what happens," Bishop said. "I'm excited -- a good start to say the least."

The same could be said for the Beaufort High girls in Friday's Class 4-A events.

The Eagles claimed state titles in two of the four girls events in which they competed, as Veneshia Holmes had a mark of 17 feet, 4 inches, to win the long jump and freshman Madeline Aune posted a height of 12 feet to win the pole vault. Deja Jackson took second in the shot put and was fifth in the discus, giving Beaufort High a very fast start to the meet.

Beaufort High's boys finished seventh in the 4x800 relay.

In Class 3-A, Shawanda Stokes was fourth in the long jump for Bluffton's girls. The Bobcats finished eighth in the girls 4x800 relay.

A thunderstorm halted the action before all of Friday's events could be completed. The meet resumes at 8 a.m. today.