The talented small-school sprinter from Ewing, Va., tied meet records and claimed gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters on Friday during the 35th running of the star-studded track and field event at Sullivan North’s Benny Compton Field.
Frustrated with his second-place finish in the high jump — he cleared 6-foot-4 — Cain blasted off in the 100. He clocked a 10.86, tying the meet record set by University High’s John Patrone in 2011.
“It felt fast,” said Cain, who won the meet’s Chris Pruett Award for outstanding boys running performance. “Coming out of my blocks, it was the best start I’ve had.”
He’d finished fourth in 2011 against Patrone — at which time Cain was bulked up 15 pounds heavier preparing for football. The Pioneers sprinter sat out last year’s Relays with to a knee injury, but had hoped to race one last time against Dobyns-Bennett speedster Malik Foreman.
The rematch was not to be. Foreman, making his first appearance since injuring his left hamstring in April, ran the anchor leg on D-B’s 4x100 relay squad. Roughly 40 meters after taking the baton, he dropped out of contention with a tight hamstring.
Indians coach Bob Bingham said he didn’t think Foreman’s injury was too severe, but the day was over for the University of Tennessee gridiron signee.
In the end, Cain didn’t need Foreman for motivation.
Cain ate the field alive at the turn in the 200 and posted a 21.98, tying the meet record set by Morristown West’s Quinton Greenlee in 2007.
“Fourth in the 100 is the best he’s done here. We’d actually never competed here in the 200,” said Thomas Walker coach Rodney Ayers. “He’s just a remarkable all-around athlete and I think he’s going to have multiple wins at state.”
Cain also picked up a silver in the triple jump, marking a 42-2¾.
Dobyns-Bennett’s Adriana Watkins had perhaps the best day of any athlete at the meet, winning all four events she entered.
The Lady Indians junior got off to a solid start in the field events, winning the long jump with a personal-best leap of 16-11½ and collecting the gold in the triple jump with bound of 36-9. She went on to sweep the hurdles, taking the 100 event in a time of 15.46 and winning the 300 crown with a 47.13.
“I tried to go at a 45 pace because I want to get our school record. It’s like a 45.80-something. I ran as fast as I could and tried not to die at the finish line, just to push through it,” said Watkins, who took home the Ashton Bishop Award for outstanding girls running performance.
Science Hill’s Hunter Boone won the Phil Robbins Award for outstanding boys field performance with wins in the long jump (20-9½) and triple jump (42-11).
Dobyns-Bennett’s Jamie Almeria, who propelled herself to a meet-record 9-6 on Thursday in the girls’ pole vault, collected the Deanna Stayton Award for outstanding girls field performance.
“I like to come to meets when I don’t have to do anything because I can just watch everybody else do their thing,” said Almeria, whose favorite events to watch (after the boys’ pole vault) are the hurdles and the 4x100 relays.
Tennessee High’s Ashlee Mitchell had a fabulous outing Friday, sweeping the girls’ weight events. She took the discus with a fling of 111-5½. In the shot put, she came within a half-inch of the THS school record, heaving the rock 39-8½.
“I PR’ed last week with a 39-8, so I was sure I’d get 39-9 today. But I PR’ed by half an inch. So now I’m just a half an inch short,” said Mitchell, who will embark on her college athletic career as a point guard at Virginia Commonwealth University next fall.
The 5-foot-5 Mitchell is not only deceptively strong, she also is impressively fast. She went on to win the 100 with a 12.27.
Virginia High weight events star Nik Huffman collected a PR in the shot put, taking the gold in that event with a throw of 58-0. He was visibly disappointed with the winning toss, however; he had been gunning for the meet record of 60-1 set by D-B’s Hal Miller in 1979.
“That was the best one of the season so far that’s been marked. I’ve been knocking on the door (of 60 feet), but I’ve had trouble staying in the ring. I was really hoping to get in the high 50s and stay in the ring,” Huffman reflected more calmly on his way to the discus circle.
Huffman, who set the meet record in the discus last year with a 181-1, proceeded to lock down fourth place with a throw of 137-8, scratching out of three subsequent throws.
Science Hill’s Justin Grant won with a toss of 153-9.
In other girls events, the Lady Hilltoppers’ Molly Foster won the 1,600 (5:10.87) and 3,200 (11:25.26). D-B’s Mercedes Bright took the 200 (59.49), Volunteer captured the 4x200 relay and D-B won the 4x400 relay.
In other boys events, Daniel Boone’s Chad Whitehead won the 1,600 (4:26.31) and teammate Christian Stumpf took gold in the high jump (6-6). D-B’s Bryce Ailshie won the 400 (50.07) and the Indians raced to victories in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.