BHS’s Albert, Relay Tandem Tops in State

Devin Albert (left) breaks from the pack in the 100-meters.

Competing in the difficult 4A class, the Blythewood High School Bengals did themselves proud, winning the state championships in the boys’ 100-meter dash and 4×400-meter relay.

Head coach Andre’ Cook had high expectations for his team. “We expect a few good performances by our athletes. The boys are in five events. Ones to watch are Devin Albert in the 100-meters and 200-meters and Michael Lantz in the 2-mile. Our boys in the 4×400 relay are ranked second by only two hundredths of a second, so they have a chance at winning. They are a great bunch of guys who work very hard. I believe they can get it done.”

About Lantz in the 3200-meters (2-miles), Cook added, “Mike wouldn’t come to go out and eat with the team because he felt he had to run and get prepared for today. He was fifth in state last year as a sophomore.”

Cook’s predictions turned out to be quite accurate. Albert became the team’s only individual state champion, taking gold in the 100-meter dash. Albert’s winning time was 10.67 seconds, a full half-second faster than his qualifying time. Albert would ultimately finish the meet with three medals around his neck.

Albert medaled again in the boy’s 200-meter dash, finishing second in a time of 21.59 seconds, only .03 seconds off the winning time.

Albert would again don a gold medal as a member of the Bengals’ state championship 4×100-meter relay team. Joined by Dean Beckford, Darius Wilson and D’Andre Fletcher, the four won gold in a time of 41.77 seconds over favored Dutch Fork.

The boys’ 4×400 relay team of Yancy McPherson, Darius Wilson, Jalen Brown and Albert finished in the eighth spot with a time of 3:27.81.

The boys’ ace distance runner, Lantz, claimed the bronze medal in the 3200-meter run. The “metric two-mile” is a bit short for Lantz, as he is the current silver medalist in 4A boys’ cross-country, where the runners compete head to head against hundreds of runners, not just the eight who qualified for today’s race.

The Lady Bengals had some standout performances as well. Junior Jena Alston took fourth in the girls’ 100-meter dash and seventh in the 200-meter dash. Joined by Sharnae Alston, Lauren Morris and Angel Rispress, the Bengal 4×400-meter relay team claimed fourth.

Albert, Alston and the boys’ 4×100-meter relay team all met the National Silver Standard in their events. The standard was established as a way designed to honor athletes who have achieved an elite level of performance.