MORGANTON – Two regional titles in hand and Bryce Jergenson wasn’t satisfied.
“I think me and the 4×400-meter relay team are going to get another one, for sure,” Jergenson said a few minutes before that race.
Jergenson’s words proved prophetic. Polk County pulled away to a fairly easy victory in the 4×400 and clinched a third-place team finish for the Wolverine boys in the process.
The relay win pushed Polk past Owen in the team race, trailing only regional champion Bandys and host school East Burke. Bandys won the regional title by a point, its fifth-place effort in the 4×400 earning the needed points for that championship.
Wrapping the 4×400 only a couple of minutes before a downpour soaked East Burke’s track, Polk County secured a seventh event with qualifiers for next week’s state 2A championships at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Jergenson helped account for three of those events, winning both the 200 and 400 meters and anchoring the 4×400 win.
Braxton Edwards ran the third leg of the 4×4 and also finished third in the 800-meter run and third in the pole vault (top four in each event advance to the state meet). Nathaniel Rhein ran the second leg of the 4×4 and also placed third in the 300-meter hurdles.
Polk’s 4×800-meter relay team of Nathaniel Martinez, Cade Bryant, Jayln Thomas and Mark Teague grabbed fourth place for the Wolverines’ other state-qualifying effort.
Polk also had three fifth-place finishes – Teague in the 1600 meters, Rhein in the 110-meter hurdles and Steven Chupp in the long jump. Rhein added a seventh-place effort in the triple jump, with John Quay-Wright soaring to ninth in the long jump and Kris Littlejohn finishing ninth in the long jump.
Kanye Staley in the discus, Martinez in the 800 meters, Rhein in the long jump and Polk’s 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams also competed and earned regional finishes.
Jergenson’s win in the 200-meter dash came by the thinnest of margins, with Jergenson just three-hundredths of a second ahead of East Burke’s Spencer Goins. His 400-meter winning margin of almost four-tenths of a second over Owen’s Davis Kendall seemed a walk in the park by comparison.
“I felt him. I knew he was there,” Jergenson said of the 200-meter finish. “I knew I had to get a good lean and I did. That’s what got it.”
Jergenson’s return to Polk County has provided a spark for the Wolverine squad this spring. The senior spent two years at Polk before transferring to Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, then coming back to the Wolverine campus at the start of the spring semester.
“I’ve loved it. Honestly, I didn’t know how much I missed it unril I came back,” he said “This is definitely the track program I wanted to be with, for sure.”