Each of the area schools had representation this spring at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Track & Field Championships. Within the Mideastern Conference, Laney and Hoggard proved their might in distance events, while Ashley and New Hanover kept pace in field competition. West Brunswick and South Brunswick also had athletes in the mix throughout much of the season.
The Ashley boys ran away with their seventh straight Mideastern Conference Track & Field Championship in early May, while the Hoggard girls edged Laney 157-150.50 to earn the division crown.
As one of the fastest short distance sprinters in the region, Deshawn Ballard from Laney earned Mideastern Conference Player of the Year honors thanks to strong performances in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 4X100 meter relay and 4X200 meter relay. He helped the Buccaneers win the 4×100 and 4×200 relays at this year’s Mideastern Conference Championship, while capturing titles in the 100-meter (11.25) and 200-meter (22.10) runs.
Xavier Gause (West Brunswick) and Russell Corbett (Ashley) earned Field Co-Players of the Year. Corbett placed fifth at the 4A state meet in shot put. Gause earned First-Team All-Conference honors in triple jump and long jump.
In the girls’ division, Natalie Tyner capped a breakout freshman season as Player of the Year. New Hanover’s Autumn James worked her way back from injuries last spring to claim Field Player of the Year in the Mideastern Conference following a vote by the leagues seven coaches.
Tyner has solidified herself as one of the top distance runners across the area, earning First-Team accolades in the 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter runs. She finished sixth at the 4A meet in the 3,200 meter event.
James took first-team honors in multiple events, including triple jump and high jump. The junior placed fifth at the 4A state meet in triple jump and eighth in high jump.
Player of the Year: Deshawn Ballard, Laney
Field Co-Players of the Year: Xavier Gause, West Brunswick; Russell Corbett, Ashley
Coach of the Year: Ryan Hauck, Ashley
- 100 Meters – Deshawn Ballard, Laney
- 200 Meters – Deshawn Ballard, Laney
- 400 Meters – Pon Jithan, Laney
- 800 Meters – Shaffer Lisle, New Hanover
- 1600 Meters – Robinson Snider, Hoggard
- 3200 Meters – Robinson Snider, Hoggard
- 110 Hurdles – Jaylon Allen, Laney
- 300 Hurdles – Corey Whaley, Ashley
- 4×100 Relay – Jamius Beckett, Jaylon Allen, Ryan Williams, Deshawn Ballard, Laney
- 4×200 Relay – Pon Jithan, Micah Hairston, Jaylon Allen, Deshawn Ballard, Laney
- 4×400 Relay – Sydney Wiegman, David Thuman, Jamie Witmer, Jared Robertson, Hoggard
- 4×800 Relay – Henry Kunz, Jack Markovich, Shaffer Lisle, Zach St. Pierre, New Hanover
- High Jump – Carl Scott, New Hanover
- Pole Vault – Daniel Suggs, Ashley
- Long Jump – Xavier Gause, West Brunswick
- Triple Jump – Xavier Gause, West Brunswick
- Shot Put – Russell Corbett, Ashley
Player of the Year: Natalie Tyner, Laney
Field Player of the Year: Autumn James, New Hanover
Coach of the Year: Billy Mason, Hoggard
- 100 Meters – Erin Nesselroade, Laney
- 200 Meters – Jelonnie Smith, South Brunswick
- 400 Meters – Shar Nichols, Hoggard
- 800 Meters – Cameron Smithwick, Laney
- 1600 Meters – Natalie Tyner, Laney
- 3200 Meters – Natalie Tyner, Laney
- 100 Hurdles – Cassidy Breland, Topsail
- 300 Hurdles – Cassidy Breland, Topsail
- 4×100 Relay – Ana Williams, Jayla Rogers, Jacil Sparrow, Erin Nesselroade, Laney
- 4×200 Relay – Anna Shelton, Kim Williams, Jelonnie Smith, Caroline Moore, South Brunswick
- 4×400 Relay – Sydney Thuman, Amy Hendrick, Sandra Tolbert, Shar Nichols, Hoggard
- 4×800 Relay – Grace Christian, Bella Idol, Taylor Woodard, Julia Ubertini, New Hanover
- High Jump – Autumn James, New Hanover
- Pole Vault – Emma Orosz, Hoggard
- Long Jump – Anna Shelton, South Brunswick
- Triple Jump – Autumn James, New Hanover
- Shot Put – Chantel Wright, Ashley
- Discuss – Alex Erling, Laney