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Rockdale sweeps NewRock
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The Bulldogs’ Dax Willitte, who placed first overall in the 1600 meter and 3200m runs, breaks away from the crowd during the first lap of the 1600m run. - photo by Matt Smith

The Rockdale County boys and girls track and field programs wrapped up a pair of championships Thursday afternoon at Salem High School, capturing the boys and girls titles at the 2014 NewRock championships.

The Rockdale girls used a second day comeback to earn the team title, garnering 141 points. Heritage High finished second with 121 points, while Newton High placed third with 116 points.

In the boys’ competition, Rockdale blew past the field with 169 points, besting Newton for first overall after the Rams finished with 141.5 points. Eastside High rounded out the top three with 81.5 points.

In all, Rockdale captured 17 combined individual titles from the girls’ and boys’ meets – 12 more than any other of the six local schools, including Salem and Alcovy, at the event.

Hill paces Lady Bulldogs

Rockdale spring Candace Hill led the Lady Bulldogs with a pair of first place finishes, placing first overall in the 100 meter and 200m dashes. Hill took home the title in the 100m dash with a time of 11.7 seconds, while finishing better than a second in the 200m dash over Newton’s Brianna Hayden in the 200m dash with a time of 24.02.

Antwonette Thomas continued Rockdale’s track supremacy with a first place finish in the 800m run, posting a winning time of 2:29.81. Keke Lewis also brought home another long distance title for the Lady Bulldogs in the 1600m run, using a time of 5:58.49 to best Heritage’s Ferree Buck.

Buck didn’t go home empty handed, however, finishing first in the 3200m run (13:20.99). Eastside’s Breanna Thornton rounded out the short track competitions with a first place finish in the 400m dash (59.18).

In the hurdles, Heritage’s Morgan Hubbard swept the 100m and 300m competitions, placing first in both events with times of 15.09 and 45.46, respectively.

Rockdale’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams rounded out the track events, earning individual titles in both events.

In the field, Rockdale struggled to replicate its same success on the track, but Taylor Wilkins grabbed the Lady Bulldogs’ lone first place finish in the shot-put, registering a final score of 33 feet 6.5 inches.

The Heritage girls’ program earned a pair of first place finishes in the long jump and discus. Mia McLean took the long jump competition with a leap of 17 feet and the Lady Patriots’ Nia Woolford earned the title in the discus with a throw of 89 feet 1 inch, almost 10-feet further than her nearest competitor.

Newton’s Brianna Hayden (36 feet 1 inch) and Nyah Chavis (5 feet 6 inches) closed the field events with individual wins in the triple jump and high jump, respectively.

Bulldogs run to victory

The Rockdale boys’ program ran itself to victory, capturing nine individual titles out of the 10 track events.

Lawrence Crawford helped the Bulldogs to the overall team title with a pair of wins in the 100m and 200m dashes, posting times of 10.63 and 21.87, respectively, in the short sprints.

Malik Dawkins joined Crawford with a pair of wins in the mid-length races, earning individual titles in the 400m (49.79) and 800m (2:03.02) events.

Freshman Dax Willette rounded out Rockdale’s top finishers in the long distances runs, using a time of 4:43.18 to best the field in the 1600m run before claiming the 3200m run in a time of 10:15.73.

The Bulldogs were just as successful in the hurdles, as Jhibri Greer earned first place finishes in the 110m (14.56) and 300m (40.68) hurdles.

After capturing the 4x100m title (42.12), Rockdale’s lone blemish on the track came in the 4x400m relay. The Bulldogs finished third overall (3:26.31) behind Newton (3:22.10) and Salem (3:25.31).

In the field, Newton’s Malik Franklin earned a pair of first place finished in the long jump (22 feet 7 inches) and triple jump (47 feet).

Eastside’s Daniel Oduah placed first in the high jump (6 feet 8 inches), while Salem’s Quintis Maddox led all competitors in the discus with a throw of 154 feet, 11 inches.

Robert McCray closed the field event with a first place finish in the shot-put, besting teammate Keijne Thomas with a throw of 52 feet, 1 inch.

Alcovy (78), Eastside (56) and Salem (50) rounded out the bottom half of the girls’ overall finishers, while the Seminoles (69), Patriots (67) and Tigers (53) took the bottom three spots in the boys’ events.