Blythewood girls repeat 5A state title

COLUMBIA – Back on top. Blythewood High School’s girls track and field team has officially cemented their place in the history books as back-to-back 5A State Champions.

It was not unexpected. Coming off of their 2023 state title, the Bengals opened the 2024 season with a first place finish at the Diamond Hornets Invitational in early March. And they continued to dominate in meets throughout the season, taking the 5A Region 3 title and claiming the Upper State title two weeks ago.

In a sport that is seemingly so individualized, it was the combination of individual performances that clenched the 5A State Championship title for Bengal girls on Saturday.

The team had with only three first-place finishes on the day from Peyton Hightower, Aminah Rhone, and the girls’ 4×400 relay team (Madison Ross, Peyton Hightower, Alexandra Francique, Patience Lisbon) but solid performances from the rest of the team put Blythewood ahead of the field.

Peyton Hightower | @BlythewoodTFSC

“The greatest team effort this year,” head coach Aleshia Hawkins told The Voice following the win. “We didn’t win many events, but we came together. Not the best individual performances but we didn’t give up.”

The Bengals finished the day with a score of 88, substantially ahead of Summerville’s second place finish (50.5).

Peyton Hightower finished first in the 400 meter dash with a time of 55.15.

Aminah Rhone took first in 100 meter hurdles with a 14.57 finish. She also placed seventh in 400 meter hurdles at 1:05.67.

The 4×400 relay team’s 3:53.34 finish was their fastest of the season.

D’ara Bolt finished second in triple jump at 11.58 meters.

Olivia Taylor came in second in the 400 meter dash, just behind Hightower, at 55.64. Taylor also had a season-best time in the 100 meter dash. She finished third in that event and also finished eighth in long jump at 5.12 meters.

The 4×800 meter relay team of Mallorie Hogue, Anna Kelly, Hayley Hightower, and Jurnee Warren came in third place with their fastest time of the season (9.31.43).

Patience Lisbon had her season-best time in 400 meter hurdles at 1:03.60 for fourth place. She also finished sixth in 100 meter hurdles at 15.22.

The 4×100 meter relay team of Zion Harvey, Madison Ross and Rhône finished in fourth at 47.75, their fastest time of the season.

Aminah Rhone | @BlythewoodTFSC

Anna Kelly had her fastest time of the season in the 3200 meter run at 11:15.48 for fifth place.

Zion Harvey finished the 200 meter dash in sixth place with her season best time of 35.16.

Hayley Hightower placed sixth in the 800 meter run at 2:20.67.

Romell Garway finished seventh in triple jump at 10.85 meters.

Madison Ross came in eighth in 400 meter hurdles at 1:05.78.

Aniya Fluker placed eighth in shot put at 10.52 meters.

“Winning a state championship is super hard as a team,” Peyton Hightower told The State newspaper following Saturday’s win, “and to win it back-to-back, that’s really difficult. So for our team to just all come together, everyone played a big part, everyone scored points, and everyone came together. So I’m just super proud of the team. I knew we could do it, so I’m glad we came out on top.”

Hawkins said that many of her top performers are coming back for 2025, and she’s already looking forward to a great cross country season and 2025 track season.

“We’re a young team,” Hawkins said in a post-meet interview with The State on Saturday, “and a lot of the girls that did not make it to the region championship last year are actually here, on the podium today.

 “We kind of have a revolving door,” she said. “We have girls in the chambers. We have about 30 or 40 girls still waiting at home, you know, getting ready for next season.”

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