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Nansemond River track with strong performances at state championships

Nansemond River’s boys and girls track teams put together stellar performances on their way to top-five finishes at the Class 5 State Track and Field Championships at Todd Stadium in Newport News.

Individually, Nyah Harrison and Sydney Ellis each took home a state title, with Harrison taking the 400 and Ellis the 300 hurdles. The two also combined with Ansolei Taliaferro and Kayla Morris to win the 4×400 relay.

Nansemond River track coach Marco McCoy said Ellis, who just finished her junior year, had a breakout season.

“Seeing her have such a fascinating run, we’ve just been working on it, working on it,” McCoy said. “Her first part of her race is excellent, so in practice, we’ve worked on the latter part of her race, and to see her put it together, it was exciting to see, so I was extremely proud of what she was able to do.”

Harrison, who just completed her sophomore year, was able to improve how she ran the first half of her race to do it the way McCoy had hoped and put herself in a position to win.

“We knew she was something special when she first came to us,” McCoy said.

For the boys, Deondre Hardy topped the field in the 110 hurdles in 14.53 seconds and finished third in the 300 hurdles in 39.35 seconds.

“He’s had his eye on it, so it was really just about putting in the work, and keeping him mentally focused to be ready to win that title,” McCoy said. “He really wanted the 300 hurdle title, but he fell a little short. I think he just got a little tired and fatigued, but that’s one of those things we’ll work on in the offseason to make sure he’s ready to go for next year.”

Teammate Savion Wingate finished third in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles.

Hardy and Wingate, along with Brian Flowers and Charles Wall-Davis, combined to finish second in the 4×400 relay. Flowers and Wall-Davis were also part of the third-place 4×100 relay team with Lataveon Brandon and Christopher Griffin.

“I’m extremely happy with the way that they were able to perform,” McCoy said, “especially with everything that they’ve been through, we’ve been through together over the COVID pandemic and everything.”

In particular, McCoy said he was proud of the seniors on the team who lost their outdoor season last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. At the state meet, Nansemond River had just three seniors take part.

“It was huge for them to emotionally and mentally get over it and overcome a lot of that and keep us together,” McCoy said. “We’re such a young team.”

Qualifying for the state meet changed this season. Rather than meeting state qualifying standards in different events throughout the season, only region meet results counted for state meet qualification. Teams were also limited to four meets prior to the region championship.

And with the state meet moving from a two-day event to being held on one day, it compressed the schedule and gave those competing in multiple events less time between them.

The results at the June 18 state meet give McCoy reason for optimism going into the next year’s indoor and outdoor track seasons, especially graduating just three seniors and having the support of the other coaches, parents and school staff. He believes the Warriors track teams will be in the conversation for state titles next season.

“Probably 60% of them had never been in a state meet before,” McCoy said. “So looking at that, that’s exciting to see. Because the season was so short, we didn’t even get to touch on a lot of things we need to touch on such as jumps and field events. So when we add that, as well, to what we already have, I think, without a doubt, we set ourselves up, all the girls and boys, to be right there in the running for a state title next year.”

Nansemond River results

Class 5 State Championships

Girls – tie-4th place, 36 pts.

Boys – 3rd, 48 pts.

Girls

200 – Nyah Harrison, 25.53, 3rd

400 – Nyah Harrison, 56.20, 1st

300 hurdles – Sydney Ellis, 44.87, 1st

4×100 relay – Kayla Morris, Ansolei Taliaferro, Tamia Levine, Sydney Ellis, 52.30, 14th

4×400 relay – Ansolei Taliaferro, Sydney Ellis, Kayla Morris, Nyah Harrison, 3:55.91, 1st

Boys

100 – Christopher Griffin, 11.14, 7th

200 – Christopher Griffin, 22.83, 8th

400 – Charles Wall-Davis, 50.39, 5th

110 hurdles – Deondre Hardy, 14.53, 1st

110 hurdles – Savion Wingate, 14.73, 3rd

300 hurdles – Deondre Hardy, 39.35, 3rd

300 hurdles – Savion Wingate, 39.79, 4th

4×100 relay – Brian Flowers, Charles Wall-Davis, Lataveon Brandon, Christopher Griffin, 43.37, 3rd

4×400 relay – Deondre Hardy, Savion Wingate, Brian Flowers, Charles Wall-Davis, 3:23.26, 2nd

Long jump – Savion Wingate, 20-7.5, 10th