This season, Pageland (S.C.) Central High's track team adopted the motto: "No Track, No Problem."
Even the Eagles, though, couldn't have imagined what resulted over the course of the spring season. Despite practicing on dirt and grass with broken hurdles and a single starting block dubbed "Old Rusty," according to WBTV-TV, Central captured the school's first state track and field championship.
"Our conditions are bad," Central coach Billy Blakeney told the local TV news station. "We got potholes. Running around the field, one of my guy's twisted his ankle one day right before a meet."
Yet, the Eagles swept county, regional and Upper State titles before taking home the Class AA state championship over the weekend. Central junior Marquise Welch captured an individual state title in the long jump (22-3), but the relays really carried the way. Working as a true team, the Eagles won the 4x400-meter relay (3:25.63), placed second in the 4x100 (42.96) and took fourth in the 4x800 (8:36.09).
Considering the practice conditions, that may have been the most unlikely avenue Central could have taken to the crown. As senior Devin Coleman pointed out to WBTV, other teams "know their marks, their times and exchange zones, but when you get to us, we're going in blindfolded."
In the end, the Eagles credited their success to the lack of a track, using the disadvantage as motivation.
"Just because we don't have a track doesn't stop us from anything," Central senior Travay Hatten told WBTB. "I take it as, this is what made us better. This is what made us a championship team."
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