In what has become a Hilton Head Island High School tradition, the Seahawks' boys 4x800-meter relay team won the Class 3-A state championship Friday night on Day 1 of the S.C. Track and Field State Championships at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
This is the sixth straight year Hilton Head High has won gold in the event.
And, ironically, none of the four runners on this year's winning team -- Robbie Iulo, Jack Manesiotis, Colton Hennessey or Alex Couch -- competed in the event last season.
Despite replacing the entire team, the Seahawks turned in a time of 8 minutes, 9 seconds, and edged Chapin by .19 seconds. Three runners were neck and neck on the final leg before the legs of the runner for top-seeded Wade Hampton gave out and he tripped and fell.
Hilton Head High's uncanny success in the event may not be as strange as it seems, according to Seahawks coach Blake Bishop.
"I think with the 800, I would say it's the hardest race on the track," Bishop said. "So if you can get four guys to commit to training for it, you can win. Kids don't like to train for it, so if you can find four who will buy in to it, they'll be rewarded for their hard work at the end of the year."
Bishop has high hopes for the Seahawks today, particularly in the distance events.
"I expect good things from Desmond Bonaparte in the 400 and the 4x400 relay," Bishop said. "We're expecting a good finish in that."
The girls team had a strong showing in the 4x800, as well. The team of Rachel Friend, Christina Mason, Abi Short and Carley McGlinn turned in their best time of the season (9:51.69) to finish second and claim all-state honors.
Two other area athletes earned all-state honors, as well.
Battery Creek's Gretchen Brown finished second, an inch out of first, in the Class 3-A girls long jump with a distance of 17 feet, 11 inches, and Beaufort High's Martin Washington finished seventh in the 4-A boys long jump with a distance of 22-5.
Other area competitors: