Westwood girls claim school’s first state title, share championship with Ridge View

Photos: Contributed

COLUMBIA – The Westwood and Ridge View girls track and field teams are friendly rivals battling within Region 5-4A during the regular season.

On Friday they took their competition to a state level, and it paid off for both teams—70 points apiece, good for a shared state championship.

The Westwood girls, which finished runner-up last year, bring home the school’s first team state championship. The Redhawks did so on the strength of its sprinters and jumpers.

“The program has been going strong for a while,” head coach Corey Head said. “We’ve got a lot of newcomers coming in this year, 8th graders 7th graders, and they contributed big to the team and the team spirit as well.”

They also have seniors Brianna Rodriguez and Ticora Gaskin.

Rodriguez took first in the 100 meter hurdles with the time of 14.14, and won gold in the 400 meter hurdles with the time of 1:02.22 seconds.

“It was a lot of ups and downs but I was able to get through it,” Rodriguez said. “God definitely helped me to deal with the hardships. Just keep working and having a strong mentality is what gets you through anything.”

Gaskin, ranked 7th nationally in the long jump, won her second straight gold in the event with the jump of 18 feet 6.5 inches. It wasn’t her best jump—she qualified for state with a 20-foot jump the week before—but it was good enough for her to take first place.

“I knew I wanted to go in here and be a back-to-back state champ,” Gaskin said. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I wanted to do anything it took to win it.”

Gaskin finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.39. She was just ahead of Rodriguez who took third with a time of 25.46.

Gaskin and Rodriguez were also part of the 4×400, along with London Brooks and Thanna Davis, that finished second behind Ridge View with a time of 4:03.38

“Brianna’s and Ticora’s leadership has been phenomenal,” Head said. “Unfortunately we’re losing them this year.  They played an integral part of this team for the past three or four years.”

Ridge View stayed right on Westwood in the sprinting and relay events.

The Blazers 4×400 team of Alahna Valentine, Ariana Washington, Arielle Mazique, and Denia Staley took gold with a time of 3:58.27—about five seconds in front of the Redhawks team.

Ridge View’s 4×100 team of Nala Tobin, Jayalove Greaves, Kassidy Davis, and Ariana Washington took second with the time of 48.40, 8 hundredths of a second faster than Westwood’s team of Ja’keyia Martin-Maybin, Courtnece Pope, Ayanna-Naja Aarons, and Katie Cantey.

Besides anchoring the 4×400 team, Staley took first in the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.01, and won gold in the 400 meter dash with a time of 55.35.  She placed second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.11.

Nala Tobin took second in the long jump behind Westwood’s Gaskin with a distance of 18-1.5.

“We knew it was going to come down to the 4×4,” Ridge View girls head coach Warren Eure said. “My hat’s off to them (Westwood). They are amazing athletes. My girls, they performed well. We knew at the end of the day every inch, every meter, every second counted. We both did what we needed to do.”

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]