Lowcountry shines at state track meet

Fort Dorchester's Jasmine Quinn won four gold medals for the second year in a row at the state track championships Friday and Saturday.

Hanahan High's boys and James Island's girls captured AAA state team championships, and Bishop England's girls won the AA title, at the 2014 State Track and Field Championships held Saturday at Spring Valley High School.

Wando's boys and girls teams finished as state runner-up in the AAAA championships, as did the Bishop England boys team in AA.

Fort Dorchester's Jasmine Quinn and Burke's Raven Saunders made big news individually.

Quinn captured four gold medals with wins in the long jump, 100 hurdles, and the 100- and 200-meter dash, while Saunders won the AA gold in the shot put and discus. Quinn set state records in the long jump and 100 hurdles, and Saunders set a state record in the shot put.

Hanahan's boys scored 87 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Daniel, which scored 58 points. The Hawks were led by gold medal performances from its 4x400-meter relay team and 400-meter hurdler Greg Casselman, but depth proved to be the difference, according to head coach David Pratt.

"We knew that if we performed, we had a good chance to win," said Pratt, who won his second title at Hanahan and his seventh overall. "This group was very focused all week. I had a good feeling that we were ready today. This started a year ago, after last year's state meet. I knew what we had coming back and I asked these guys to really commit to being the best they could be. It's really rewarding to see them achieve this goal."

Hanahan finished second in the 100 and took second and third in the 200, while also placing second in the shot put and third in the discus. The 4x100 relay team finished second as well.

James Island's title was the first track championship in school history. The girls' cross country program won the AAA state title in 2012. The Trojans finished with 80 points, just ahead of Daniel's 72 points.

"We knew coming into the season that it would be a nickel and dime thing and our main push last week in qualifying was getting as many here as possible," said Trojans coach David Lee. "We knew it would come down to every point and we did about as well as we could do. Some may not have performed as well as they wanted to, but the goal today was team. From the time we arrived, it was all about team."

Junior Makyla Stanley was pivotal in James Island's effort, accounting for 36 points by winning the long jump and high jump and placing second in the 100-meter dash and the triple jump. Pole vaulter Hailey Sweatman won the gold in her event.

Anchoring Bishop England's repeat win in AA was Michele Boykin, who won the 800-meter dash and took second in the 1,600-meter run. Adele Blalock won the pole vault and placed third in the 200-meter dash and third in the 400-meter dash.

"I'm really proud of our team today," said Bishops coach Tony Colizzi, who has guided the program to 10 state titles in the last 13 years.

"They saw that team last year do it and they said we're going to do it this year. We had some new additions, some freshmen and sophomores, and they all did exceptionally well. I told each girl what they needed to do and they all did what I needed or better. They did an awesome job."

Quinn capped an impressive two-year run at the state level, capturing eight gold medals over the last two seasons. She established state records in the long jump (22 feet, 21/4 inches) and 100-meter hurdles while also winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Her record time in the 100 hurdles of 13.54 seconds beat her own record of 13.84 that she set last year.

"I'm happy to win all four events but my goal was to get state records in all four," said Quinn. "I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get the records but it was a good day. I'm pretty pleased overall."

Saunders entered the state meet as the heavy favorite to not only win her two events but dominate. She did not disappoint, shattering the state record in the shot put with a toss of 55 feet, 8ΒΌ inches. The former record was 44-8. The national outdoor high school record is 56-8.

"Setting the state record was the main thing for me," said Saunders. "This meet meant more to me than breaking the national record or anything else because this is home. The state meet means a lot to me and I wanted to give it my best in my last state meet."

Saunders won the discus event by nearly 44 feet with a winning effort of 148-05.

Other local individual state champions include Wando's Kenny Waring in the AAAA long jump, Angelica Collins of Wando in the triple jump, Goose Creek's Deandre Daniels in the AAAA 400-meter dash, and Woodland's Roderick Britt in the AA discus.