Holmes cements legacy in final meet

Nine time title holder Sharmelle Holmes | AK4KProductions

HOPKINS – Saturday was one for the books for Sharmelle Holmes… literally.

Sharmelle Holmes ended her Griffin career on the highest note she could reach, bringing home three individual state titles from the SCHSL 2A State Championship track and field meet.

But that’s not all Holmes accomplished on Saturday. The Fairfield Central standout sprinter and University of Kentucky commit set two new state records during the South Carolina High School League’s 2A State Track and Field meet, cementing her place in the history books.

Holmes was a heavy favorite to win each of her events, coming off four 2023 individual state title finishes. She repeated three of the four events, and this time also participated in the 4×100 relay.

Holmes opened the day with her teammates in the 4×100 relay.

“That’s Fairfield Central in four – the black and gold there in the middle… As long as Fairfield has a good exchange here, I like them,” the announcer for SC Milesplit said during second handoff of the relay.

“So it’s Fairfield Central,” he continued as Holmes stretched out the Griffins’ lead in the final leg. “She’s gone, forget it! She is flying with lots of heat down the homestretch!”

But she was just starting to heat up. Fairfield’s 48.17 first place finish collected their first points of the day, but it was also the first of the four top-finishes Holmes would end the day with.

Holmes competes in long jump

Holmes moved into long jump next, where she won her first individual championship of the day at the 5.86 meter mark. She was just shy of hitting a new personal-best and school record in the event; she previously set it at the 5.87 meter mark on April 24 in a meet at Camden High School.

Holmes returned to the track for the second heat of the 100 meter finals. A heavy favorite again, Holmes’ qualifying time bested her 2023 title finish (12.23) by over a half second.

 “Her qualifying time is 11.54. She’s almost a full second clear of the rest of the people who qualified,” the announcer said. “She’s our favorite, in lane four.”

It was over almost as soon as it started.

“Here we go, gun’s up,” he said. “Yeah, it’s over. She’s gone. 11.45 is your winning time.

 “Holmes from Fairfield Central was impressive,” he continued. “She just put a scare in the state record… and when we say state record, we’re talking all classifications… There are classifications, but a state record must be set at a state meet – the only place you can set a state record.”

And break it she did.

“11.45,” he repeated her time, “breaks the state record of Bonetta Kelly from Southside in 1993 of 11.49. So you’re talking about a record that has been there for… a long time. Well before Sharmelle was born, right? 31 year old record.”

But it wasn’t the only record she broke on the day. She did it again about an hour later when she wrapped up her day in the 200 meter dash.

Holmes finished the sprint at 23.57 seconds, over a full second faster than her 2023 title finish time (24.74) and set a new South Carolina record. The time, however, was not her fastest of the season. Her personal record of 23.53 was set at Upper State just a week before.

The final sprint of the day marked her last as a Griffin. She amassed eight individual state titles and one relay title in three seasons for Fairfield Central. She leaves Fairfield with big shoes to fill, but also with a legacy of greatness. Holmes holds school records in each of her individual events and in the 100 meter hurdles from her 2023 title.

Following her 2023 title wins, Holmes said she was grateful to be putting up times for number one overall in the state.

“When I’m running, I’m running for the time, not just for the win,” she said, calling herself a humble person. But she knew even then that she was working towards greatness – towards becoming the person to beat.

“Once you’re at the top, everybody wants you to lose, so I just use that as motivation for everything that I do,” she said.

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