Lejeune boys and girls place third at Coastal 8 Conference Track Championship - Camp Lejeune Globe: Sports

Lejeune boys and girls place third at Coastal 8 Conference Track Championship

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Posted: Monday, May 6, 2019 8:36 am

Lejeune High School boys and girls’ track & field teams ended their conference seasons on Wednesday, May 1 with two third place finishes versus seven Coastal 8 1A/2A Conference opponents at Heide Trask High School in Rocky Point, N.C.

The LHS girls finished with a total of 102.5 points, 12.5 short of second, but held a commanding lead over host school Heide Trask. The boys gave a strong effort, finishing just shy of the 100-point mark with 96, but were unable to catch up to Croatan and Heide Trask.

The Devil Pups got off to a quick start with both 4x800-meter relay teams claiming eight points a piece in two second-place finishes. The men then grabbed 16 more points thanks to three top-six finishes from Kyle Baldwin (2nd), Xavier Rice (4th) and Tyler Gilman (6th) in the 110-meter hurdles. Rice would go on to take third in the 400-meter dash as Kamrin Wisherd took sixth. The boys later dominated the 300-meter hurdles with Mason Nuckles, Gilman and Baldwin finishing second, third and fourth respectively. Baldwin took first in the men’s pole vault with fellow Devil Pups Dylan Presson and Niklas Cooper taking second and fifth.

“This season has gone really well,” said Nuckles, a senior planning to enlist in the Marine Corps after graduation. “I’ve had a couple personal records in there and that’s all I really want, is to improve every meet and make it to state.”

The girls got a huge boost from junior Georgia Lee who placed second in the 3200-meter run and fourth in the 1600-meter for a total of 13 points. Taylor Pound and Caroline Morgan each had top-10 finishes in the girls’ mile for LHS. Karl Benson’s mile time of 4:51 was good enough for fifth place and four points for the boys. Nicholas Presley placed tenth in the men’s mile with a time of 5:20.

The boys’ fifth-year head coach Bronwyn Schwend credits much of the team’s success to the time and hard work they put into conditioning during winter track trying to reach personal bests.

“We spend a lot of time celebrating personal records, so the kids know that is the goal on a week-to-week basis more than finishing in a certain place,” said Schwend. “We’re fortunate to have great facilities, year-round training and volunteer coaches all dedicated to helping this tenacious group of kids, but none of that matters unless the kids have the desire to succeed, and our kids do.”

Emalee Reynolds earned six points for the girls placing third in the pole vault and Jameela Rod added four and a half, taking fourth in the high jump. Anna Perdue contributed nine points placing third in discus and sixth in shot put. Nevaeh Bartlett (5th) and Peyton Martin (7th) helped the girls tack on six more points with good showings in the 100 meter-dash.

Ryan Miller, a Lejeune freshman whose father is a Marine colonel, admits that the Devil Pups have a certain edge on the competition that comes from living on base.

“I think there is just something about growing up on a military base with military parents,” said Miller. “I think it’s just something with that that makes us more focused on what we do. We are more motivated. We are not just representing our school, we are representing our community.”

Nuckles agrees with Miller that Lejeune’s athletes have an advantage, but also understands its disadvantages.

"We move all the time,” said Nuckles, “and unlike all these other public schools we don’t have (the aspect of) ‘I’ve known this guy for this many years, and I know how he works and how I can work with him within this sport.’” 

“We try to have close relationships with all the athletes,” coach Schwend said. “We spend so much time with them as teachers in the school, then as coaches at practices and meets after school. We celebrate victories as a family, and we help each other through disappointments.”

Nuckles says the main inspiration in his decision to become a Marine is his father, a master sergeant, who is a dog handler with the provost marshall’s office.

The Devil Pups will travel to Holmes High School in Edenton, N.C. for the regional meet on May 10.

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