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Igbinoghene stars in Tri-Cities Track Classic

STEVE WILMOTH, TriCitiesSports.com • Apr 3, 2016 at 1:32 AM

JOHNSON CITY — Hewitt-Trussville and T.C. Roberson claimed titles at this weekend’s Tri-Cities Track Classic on the Sydney Smallwood Track at Science Hill’s Kermit Tipton Stadium.

More than 1,000 athletes representing 45 different schools from multiple states competed at the annual event.

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Hewitt-Trussville out of Trussville, Ala., won the boys’ title headed by the Most Outstanding Male Performance of Noah Igbinoghene. The Division I football prospect and son of former Nigerian Olympians won the triple jump (48-5½), long jump (24-8½) and 100-meter dash (11.31).

Igbinoghene edged the record-setting effort of Jordan Jeffers, who broke the Dobyns-Bennett school record long held by former NFL player Gerald Sensabaugh with his leap of 47-8. D-B’s Alijah Dunn was third at 44-2.

“Jeffers’ mark is 14th best in the nation right now,” said Tribe coach Bob Bingham. “He leads the state rankings by about 3 feet so that’s pretty big-time. For Alijah, he’s just now getting completely healthy to the point where he can really train.”

Igbonghene’s long jump ranks him second nationally. D-B’s Bryce Barrett finished third behind Igbonghene in the 100-meter dash at 11.50.

“I was really looking forward to competing with him,” Barrett said of Igbinoghene. “I wanted to beat him, but I’m happy with what I ran.”

Barrett returned later to earn a victory in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.06.

“It’s a big honor to win an event in a big meet like this,” he said. “I like the competition and running against other quality people.”

Fighting a strong 22 mph headwind in the final half of the 200 and the entire 100 added to the challenge.

“The major key was being able to fight through the wind,” Barrett noted. “This race came down to who was stronger coming down the last 100 meters in the straightaway. It felt like running into a brick wall; you just have to run through it.”

Barrett’s efforts helped the Indians to a fifth-place finish as a team, with their 53 points one off fourth-place Hardin Valley’s total.

Other strong performances on the boys’ side for the Tribe came from Reese Cornett, who finished third in the 110 hurdles (16.14) and Jacob Bee, who was third in the discus with at 141-04.

Devarias Evans crossed sixth in the 200 (24.88) and helped the Indians’ 4x200-meter relay team to a fifth-place finish

“Devarias is a senior transfer from Florida who had never ran before in his life,” Bingham noted. “That’s a good story right there. Good to see.”

Sullivan East’s Luke Meade pushed Igbinoghene for top male performer honors with two wins on the day. The Furman signee won the 1-mile run in 4:21.28 and topped the meet record with a 9:18.19 in the 2-mile run.

“The goal was to come out and get the wins,” Meade said.

“It’s the first big double of the year for me and I had never won at this event before. It was really important for me to come here and get wins against top caliber competition.”

Meade said he’s right on his timeline of prepping for bigger races down the road, including the Penn Relays later this month and the state championships in about six weeks.

“I’m still in higher-mileage training, so I haven’t had the speed work yet to run some even faster times,” Meade said. “We are working on what we believe will work best for when I need to peak.” 

Asheville’s T.C. Roberson edged Hardin Valley 97-88 in the girls’ team standings. Signal Mountain’s McKenzie Ethridge won both the 100 meters (12.15) and 200 meters (25.74) to earn the Most Outstanding Female Performer Award.

Ethridge won state titles in both events last year in leading Signal Mountain to a second straight Class A/​AA state championship. The winds likely cost her shots at breaking her own meet marks in both events.

“Times today are almost irrelevant on a day like today,” said D-B’s Bingham, whose Lady Indians tallied 30 points for a ninth-place finish.

The Lady Indians didn’t get any wins but logged several top-five performances, headed by the 4x400 relay team of Sydney Breeding, Kelsey Bailey, Erica Stone and Makayela Fullen’s third-place time of 4:11.72.

Hannah Sokol finished fourth in the steeplechase, breaking her own school record with a time of 7:51.32. Natalie Donahue was fourth in the pole vault (9-0), Makenzie Fullen was fourth in the discus (105-07) and the 4x800 relay team was also fourth (10:00.86).

“Makenzie is really coming on and she has a chance to qualify for state in the discus, as does Donahue in the pole vault, and it wasn’t great pole vaulting weather either,” Bingham added.

Morgan Salyers earned a pair of top-five finishes for Volunteer, finishing fourth in the triple jump (33-3¼) and teaming with Kayle Gibson, Tianna Poirier and Josie Salyer for fifth in the 4x100 relay (51.76).

Cherokee got a sixth-place run of 2:28.33 from freshman Harper Russell in the 800 meters.

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