The best 1A boys track and field team in North Carolina resides in Polk County.
The Wolverines earned the first state boys track and field championship in school history Sunday, winning the 1A title in the 2018 state meet at North Carolina A&T State University.
Jake Justice’s victory in the pole vault – the first time a Wolverine has won an outdoor title in that event – led Polk’s effort, but the Wolverines needed every point they could get from every athlete they could get in finishing six points ahead of John A. Holmes High and Albemarle. Polk had 44 points, with Holmes and Albemarle each with 38.
The Polk County girls team also sparkled, finishing third overall. The Wolverine girls had their own state champion, with the 4×400-meter relay team of Mariah Overholt, Marissa Twitty, Sydney Waldman and Izzy Jackson pulling away to defeat Murphy by almost six seconds.
The Polk girls also had a pair of state runners-up in Autumn Owen (shot put) and Lauren Ketwitz (pole vault). Owen set a school record with a throw of 37-10 1/2 to earn her second-place showing. Jackson also placed third in the 400-meter run.
Murphy used that second-place finish in the 4×400 to surge ahead of Research Triangle and win the 1A girls title. The Bulldogs had 60 points, with Research Triangle finishing with 57 and then Polk in third with 37.
Justice becomes the first Wolverine to win an individual title since John Spencer Wolfe did so in 2009 and the first to do so in a field event since Regis Bittle’s victory in the shot put in 2008. Justice also won the state indoor title in the pole vault earlier this year.
The Polk junior matched his personal outdoor best at 14-6 to win the title, needing all of that to defeat Princeton senior Luke Brush, who cleared 14-0.
Justice added a runner-up finish in the long jump, with Jack Derkach placing third in the 800-meter run and David Horton finishing third in the high jump.
The Wolverines also picked up points from Caleb Potter, who placed fifth in the 3200-meter run; their 4×800-meter relay team (Potter, Matias Akers, Evan Dadson and Derkach), which placed sixth; Jason Fox. who took sixth in the triple jump; Mitchell Yoder, who earned seventh in the 100-meter dash and the Polk 4×400-meter relay team (Wyatt Derkach, Jack Derkach, Jared Wolfe and Justice), which finished seventh.
Of the Wolverines who earned points Sunday, only three – Fox, Wolfe and Wyatt Derkach – are seniors.
Yoder also took 12th in the 200-meter run while senior Dillon Overholt placed ninth in the long jump.
Polk County’s girls 4×200-meter relay team – Twitty, Ansley Lynch, Overholt and Waldman – finished ninth with a time of 1:52.93, just five one-hundredths behind Northhampton County. Southside won the event in a time of 1:46.09.
Twitty placed 11th in the long jump with a mark of 15-0. East Carteret’s Breah Taylor landed a jump of 18-3 to take the top spot in the competition.
Jackson had a time of 13:13 in the 100-meter dash preliminaries and failed to qualify for the final.
Hobbton’s Josh Polk dominated the two shortest events of the meet, the 100 and 200 meter dash. Polk crossed the line in 10.92 seconds in the 100 and blitzed through the 200 in 21.94 seconds. He was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Performer.
West Montgomery’s Araybian Lilly was the girls’ Most Outstanding Performer, winning three individual events. Lilly claimed the three sprint events with a blazing 12.48 second time in the 100, a 25.73 seconds mark in the 200 and a speedy 57.06 seconds performance in the 400 meters.
POLK COUNTY STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONS
Regis Bittle, shot put, 2007/2008
John Spencer Wolfe, 800 meters, 2008/2009; 1600 meters, 2008/2009
Polk County, 4×800-meter relay, 2015
Jake Justice, pole vault, 2018
Ebony Cunningham, 110-meter hurdles, 1999
Karen Godlock, 800-meter run, 1991/1992/1993; 1600-meter run, 1991/1992/1993; 3200-meter run, 1991/1992/1993
Jennifer Dimsdale, 800-meter run, 1996/1998/1999; 1600-meter run, 1996/1998; 3200-meter run, 1998
Elisabeth Elliott, 1600-meter run, 2005; 3200-meter run, 2005/2006
Rachel McEntyre, 200-meter dash, 1998
Maggie Conner, 300-meter hurdles, 2008
Polk County, 4×200-meter relay, 1998/1999
Polk County, 4×400-meter relay, 2011/2012/2018
Polk County, 4×800-meter relay, 1990/1991/1992/1993