Pressley, Briggs Bring Home Titles for Westwood

Westwood’s Brianna Pressley (6) takes gold in the 100-meters.

On Friday and Saturday, the best track and field athletes in South Carolina assembled on the campus of Lower Richland High School to battle for the top step on the podium, reserved for the one who can call himself or herself State Champion.

Just to get the chance, the student athletes had to finish in the top four in their event at the Region Championships, then make the top eight in the region qualifier.

Westwood head coach Lawrence Terry had faith in his team.

“Kelsey Briggs’ championship long jump was a personal best for her by almost three feet,” Westwood head coach Lawrence Terry said Saturday morning after one Redhawk champion had already been crowned. “The jump qualified her for the high school national meet on June 16 at North Carolina A&T, and she’s just a sophomore. She will go to the Nationals along with Adonus Lee who also qualified in the high jump. Anthony Friday also qualified in the shot put. Jai Lykes also qualified in girls’ shot put, along with Brianna Pressley in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Today, to be honest, we expect Pressley to be first in the 100 and 200. Friday should be a contender in the shot put and should do well in the discus also. Jai Lykes should do the same on the girls’ side.

“We may not win the overall team title, but we should be the school with the most individual winners, and most important, everyone will be back next year,” Terry added.

True to the coach’s prediction, Pressley had little difficulty landing the state championships in both the 100- and the 200-meter dash. Pressley broke the tape in a time of 12.64 seconds in the 100-meters and 25.59 seconds in the 200-meters.

Asked about how it felt to be a double state champion, Pressley said, “It feels great! I wasn’t sure about the 100 because it’s my first year doing it. Last year I was running 13’s, this year I have my time down into the 11’s . I work and practice all year around with my coach. I only take two weeks off out of the whole year.”

The other state champion, as Terry mentioned, is Kelsey Briggs, who flew 18-feet, 5-inches for the victory in the girls’ long jump.

While some of the other competitors didn’t have their personal best day as Briggs did, no Redhawk finished lower that fifth in their event. Friday’s shot put throw was a tie for the longest throw at 50-feet, 10-inches. According to the U.S. Track and Field manual, ties are broken by the next farthest throw, which relegated Friday to the silver-medal spot. However, in the discus, Friday slung the disc 144-feet, 5-inches, only four feet shy of his personal best, and good enough for third place.

Like Friday, Lykes was a bit disappointed in her shot put. She also had to settle for second place as Kristen Sansbury of Hartsville threw a few inches farther. The two women were the only two to throw over 40 feet, with the next best competitor throwing a full four feet shorter. Lykes did about as expected in the discus throw, taking fourth place with a throw of 118-feet, 5-inches. Despite finishing fourth, Lykes’ throw was a foot farther than her best throw in the Region and State qualifiers.

Lee looked to be in good shape for the high jump victory. Lee jumped 6-feet, 4-inches in the qualifier to win that event, and he matched that height here, as did two other competitors. Lee and Demetrick Fick of Broome both missed at 6-foot-6. Dorian Raines of Seneca, on his last attempt at 6-foot-6, brushed the bar on his way over, but it stayed up, earning Raines the win. Lee took the silver medal over Fick on fewer misses.

Pole vaulter Raymond Hall* cleared 11-feet, 6-inches, but missed at 12-foot-6 for a creditable fifth place.

In the team championships, the girls’ 3A state championship team was Daniel High School with 79 points. Westwood was an amazing fifth in the state with 47 points.

*Hall was inadvertently omitted from last week’s list of WHS qualifiers. The Voice apologizes for the error.