MURFREESBORO – Quanisha Sales heard the buzz through the stands even before she settled into the blocks. Not only that, she felt it.
“They wanted a show,” the Hillsboro senior said. “We gave it to them.”
Right from the gun, Sales and Memphis Northside senior Sharika Nelvis were stride for stride, and they stayed that way all the way to the finish of the Class AAA 100-meter dash at the TSSAA Track and Field Championships on Thursday.
In a race that was too close to call with the naked eye, Sales, the 2008 champion, was bested by the slimmest of margins. Nelvis’ winning time was 11.89 seconds. Sales crossed the line in 11.92.
The two hooked up again in the 200 meters, the event in which Nelvis set the state record a day earlier in qualifying. Sales led off the turn in that one but got run down and conceded in the final 15 meters so the difference in their times (Nelvis 24.19, Sales 25.04) was not an accurate indicator of the competitiveness of the event.
“The best person won,” Sales, a Louisiana Tech signee, said. “She put her heart into it. Congratulations to Sharika.”
The overflow crowd at Dean Hayes Stadium might have come to see a sprint duel, but while they were there they could not overlook University School of Nashville sophomore Jordan Lavender, who dominated three different events.
Lavender outdistanced the field in the Division II 100, 200 and 400. Earlier in the day she also finished second in the long jump.
She completed the rare triple-victory when she ran 25.16 in the 200 and held off Battle Ground Academy junior Madeline Cross. Her time was fourth-fastest of all classifications. Similarly, she won the 100 in 12.27 seconds, which was fifth-fasted of all classifications.
In between she outdistanced the field in the 400 and won by nearly three seconds with a time 55.62, which was the fastest of the day, regardless of classification.
“The competition was a little harder than normal, but I was ready for it I guess,” Lavender said.
In the case of Sales and Nelvis, the competition could not have been any better.
Other items of note from the girls state championship meet:
• Local schools finished second in the team standings in two of the three classifications. Brentwood Academy (104 points) was the runner-up to Baylor (122) in Division II, and Martin Luther King (77 points) narrowly lost out to Memphis Howard (80) in A-AA. Ravenwood (fifth, 39 points) was the top local team in AAA.
• Hunters Lane sophomore Michelle Cummings won the AAA shot put at 41-2 ½., and the AAA discus at 136-3.
• East Literature’s Kanellar Carney won an all-freshman duel for the A-AA high jump title. Carney cleared 5-4, which was two inches better than runner-up Rebecca Browning of Eagleville. They were the only two freshmen among the eight finalists.
• Vanderbilt signee Allie Scalf of Science Hill won the AAA 3,200 (11:00.75), 1,600 (5:04.09) and ran a leg on the victorious 4x800 relay. Science Hill won the AAA team title.
Other local state champions:
• MLK sophomore Jalyn Burr in the A-AA triple jump (35-11)
• Brentwood Academy senior Alyson Hasty in the D-II pole vault (10-6)
• Ravenwood senior Courtney Woodard in the AAA triple jump (39-1 ¼)
• Brentwood Academy senior Chenelle Terry in the D-II high jump (5-6)
• Ensworth sophomore Sarah Delozier in the D-II 1,600 (5:09.21)
• MLK junior Kirsten Jones in the A-AA 400 (57.24)