Monroe wins second straight state title
Monroe High's girls track team repeated as 1A state champions last Friday, and it wasn't even close.
The Redhawks crushed the field, rolling up 103 points — second-place Winston-Salem Prep had just 42 points, followed by West Wilkes (40).
Last year Monroe won the state meet with 101 points, followed by Hendersonville with 54.
Monroe won four individual events and a relay on the campus of N.C. A&T Friday. Those 50 points were enough to win the meet, but the Redhawks also placed second in two relays and top five in five other events.
"It was a great team win," said Monroe coach Nichole Jackson. "I'm very proud of all of them. A lot of kids contributed."
The Redhawks were much deeper in 2013, and Jackson believes the notoriety from their 2012 state title contributed to their dominant victory on Friday.
"It helped our numbers," Jackson said. "Kids saw we could do it again and they could be a part of it. Throughout the season we just focused on getting better individually and as a team and keeping our focus."
Junior Reneazia Collins and senior Kendall Cox led the way.
Collins repeated as state champion in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.52 seconds, and also repeated in the 400 meters. She ran a 57.41 to win the 400 in 2012, and just missed the state record of 57.40.
Collins shattered the state record, and her own personal best, with a winning time of 56.28 this year.
Collins also won the 200-meter dash (25.47) after placing second in the event in 2012.
"I am so thrilled, so happy for Reneazia," Jackson said. "She struggled with a sprained ankle about a month into the season and she didn't have the spring she wanted to. For her to break the state record in the 400, that was her goal. That was her year-long goal."
Collins collected a fourth state title on the day when she teamed with Cox, Julice Crowder and Zasha Barrett to win the 4x200 (1:42.66).
Collins and Cox are now three-time state champs in the 4x200 after also winning it in 2011, when the Redhawks finished third in the state with 67 points.
Collins is now a five-time individual state champion for Monroe, and has also been a part of four state champion relay teams.
"She's having a really impressive career," Jackson said of Collins. "She's such a competitor."
Cox will graduate with four outdoor gold medals after capturing the state title in the long jump with a mark of 17 feet, 10 inches.
Cox also placed third in the 100 (12.54) and fourth in the 200 (26.44), giving her 23.5 points on the day.
"Kendall, she's had a strong season," Jackson said. "She had a spectacular day. It was a great way to send off a senior."
In addition to helping Monroe take the 4x200, Crowder, a junior, teamed with senior Daya Jordan, junior Simone Gwehi and junior Asha Jordan to place second in the 4x100.
Gwehi, who was on Monroe's 4x200 state title team as a sophomore, also claimed second in the 4x400 along with Daya, senior Shikima Gainey and Barrett, a sophomore.
Gainey added a top-five finish in the 300 hurdles.
Asha Jordan placed third in the shot put and seventh in the 100 hurdles, giving her 12 points on the day.
Jackson has built a track dynasty at Monroe. She will return most of the team next year, but faces the challenge of Monroe moving up to 2A.
Of the 10 Redhawks who scored, only three were seniors. Jackson was confident her team had the talent to repeat as state champions, but wasn't sure what to expect with so many young athletes.
"They really responded well," Jackson said. "Last year we counted mainly on three athletes but this year was much more of a team win. I'm glad so many girls got to stand up there knowing they were a part of it."
Monroe's top five scorers
Reneazia Collins, Jr.^32.5
Kendall Cox, Sr.^23.5
Asha Jordan, Jr.^12
Zasha Barrett, So.^9.5
Shikima Gainey, Sr.^8
Monroe boys place 4th; CATA 12th
The Redhawks won the 4x200 and 4x400 relays on the way to a fourth-place finish at the 1A state meet on Friday.
Junior Jaylan Barbour is now a four-time relay state champion for Monroe after running the first leg of the 4x200. He teamed with junior Tre Shun Wynn, senior Lavonte Baker and junior Tyler Casey to cover the event in 1:29.67.
The Redhawks swept the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays at the 2012 state meet, and Barbour was on all three teams.
Wynn, also a junior, is a four-time relay state champion as well.
Wynn ran the anchor leg on the 4x400 Friday. His brother, senior Douglas Carelock, ran the opening leg, followed by senior Quay Chambers and freshman Desmen Robinson.
Carelock scored a team-high 10.5 points on the day after placing second in the triple jump.
Central Academy sophomore Elijah Inuwa won the state in the 800 meters with a time of 1:58.75, leading his team to a 12th-place finish.
Inuwa scored 13 of his team's 19 points, including a sixth place in the 3,200.
Teammate David Pann, a senior, finished third in the 1,600.