The only two Lincoln County schools in the Midwest 2A brought home conference championships Wednesday at Bandys High School.
On the menâ€™s side Lincolnton recorded 120 points, edging out East Rutherford who had 108 points. The West Lincoln menâ€™s team finished in seventh place with 34 points.
Lincolnton was led by Luis Soto and Ray Conley who stood out in several events.
Soto finished first in the 1600 (4:41.77) and 800 (2:07.38) meter runs. He also took third place in the 3200.
Conley took first in the long jump (20-02.25) and second place in the triple jump (44-00.00). He also participated on the 1600 relay team which took second.
Wolves head coach Jeff Cloninger was impressed by his veteran leadership in seniors Aaron Johnson and Jared Webb.
â€œThey really stepped up. Theyâ€™re seniors that showed leadership in a meet that really counted,â€ he said.
Making the Midwest 2A All-Conference team for the Wolves were: Soto, Conley, Johnson, Michael Mauney, Andrew Mauney, Felipe Arce, Devan Jefferies, Delvin Bynum, Richard Lynch and Webb.
Cloninger also cited sophomore Michael Segura and senior Terrell Phelps as playing an important role in the Wolvesâ€™ victory.
Notable performances for the West Lincoln men were Jeron Mosteller who won the discus throw (119-09) and placed fourth in the shot put (38-06.50).
Seth Barkley placed third in the pole vault (10-06.00). Mosteller garned an all-conference selection for his discus performance.
The West Lincoln Lady Rebels blew away their competition running away with the Midwest 2A Conference crown with 137.5 points.
Shelby finished a distance second with 113 points, while Lincolnton finished seventh with 38 points.
Pacing West were junior Brittany Beeker and senior Lilly Tallent.
Beeker, the best distance runner in the county, pulled off the triple crown winning the 1600 meters (6:02.32), 800 meters (2:46.42) and 3200 (12:52.37).
Rebels head coach David Avery believes Beekerâ€™s accomplishments have their own voice.
â€œBrittany did well, she was unanimous choice for track athlete of the year. In the 1600 and 3200 she set conference records. Sheâ€™s going to get all-conference in four events as a junior,â€ he said.
Tallent made her niche in field events, setting conference records in the shot put (40-09.00) and in the discus throws (126-04).
â€œShe just improved on her previous performances. She improved five feet in the shot and then in the discus improved 24 feet from last year. She has a very good shot to win both at the state,â€ Avery said.
Avery believes Tallentâ€™s throws are so solid, they will stand the test of time.
â€œI think her Midwest 2A records will stand for a long time, maybe ever,â€ Avery said.
Beeker, Tallent and Kristine Leatherman, Kelly Pittman, Brittany Watts and Valerie Fite all garnered Midwest 2A All-Conference selections.
Watts placed in the top two in three different events. She won the triple jump (29-08.00) and came in second in the high jump (4-10.00). Watts then entered the pole vault and won that event as well jumping 4-06.00.
Karla Sigmon narrowly missed all-conference honors jumping 4-08.00 in the high jump and placing third.
Beeker and fellow junior Fite along with freshmen Leatherman and Pittman comprise the 3200 relay team.
Avery was pleased with the relay teamâ€™s performance.
â€œThey performed well. Itâ€™s a good mixture of athletes. Weâ€™ve got some long distance and some shorter distance people running that event. Theyâ€™ll all be back next year,â€ he said.
Avery was ecstatic with the effort both of his teams put forth. He believes their diligence in pursuing excellence is paying off.
â€œI couldnâ€™t be more happy with the girls and boys. The girls won by 30 points, so we showed we were the best team at that meet. Theyâ€™ve worked hard all year and it shows off when itâ€™s time to when a title,â€ Avery said.
The Lincolnton women were led by Elena Fernanders and Danica Stacks who made all-conference.
Fernanders finished second in the 400 meters, while Stacks finished second in the long jump.
â€œElena and Danica both performed very well. I was very happy with both of them,â€ Cloninger said.
Talking to both coaches the feeling exist that Cloningerâ€™s words about his team rings true for both.
â€œWe have some stars, but we also have role players that complement them well, more so than any year,â€ he said.by John Mark Brooks