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Ring season returns for Hornets following track and field finals

May 23—Conversations with Aiken High track and field coach John Hostetler typically begin with a single word before moving on to other topics.

That word? Rings. As in championship rings.

That's what Aiken's program covets, and Monday afternoon members of the Hornets' program stopped by the school's main office to meet with a sales rep to customize their own following their performances at Friday night's Class AAAA state championship meet at Lower Richland High School.

Soon to be delivered to the school are 11 shiny new championship rings — seven for athletes and four for coaches — and Monday was the opportunity to enjoy the fun part of all of that ring-chasing.

The girls' 4x100-meter relay team of Jordyn Mobley, Morgan Coverson-Springs, Malasia Jamison, Jameria Davis and Allayah Whetstone went back and forth trying to agree on the finer details of their matching rings after their title win by .002 seconds over Ridge View.

Braylon Staley, who won the 200-meter dash in 21.63 seconds and his second consecutive triple jump championship at 47'8", was hard at work on a laptop trying to visualize exactly what he wanted, trying on a variety of the sample college and high school rings in the traveling case to see which elements of each he liked.

Eliza King, now a three-time champion and state record holder in the javelin throw after Friday night's throw of 156'2" that was more than 31 feet better than the competition, wasted little time choosing her design — she has a couple of years of experience doing that, after all.

Their championship wins helped Aiken's teams to top-10 finishes in the state, the boys in a tie for fourth and the girls in seventh, and they were among nine titles and 49 podium (top-eight) finishes by local athletes in the Class AAAA, AA and A meets.

The Class AA meet was also held Friday night, about 20 miles up the road from Lower Richland at Spring Valley High School, and area athletes earned five state championships.

Strom Thurmond's Gregory Bryant and Chase Brightharp both snagged two apiece, piling up points as the Rebels' boys' team tied for fifth overall. Bryant won both the 100 (in 10.86 seconds) and 200 (in 21.92) sprints, while Brightharp was victorious in both the shot put (48'7 3/4 ") and discus (152'7 1/2 ") throw. Barnwell's Shontavia Tyler also won a title in the shot put with her throw of 33'7 3/4 ".

Those were the top finishers of the weekend from the area, and there were plenty of others with reason to celebrate. Here are the rest of the local podium finishes, by classification and school:

Class AAAA

Aiken boys (49 points): Luke Fundak second in the javelin, Mickenzie Atterberry third in the 110 hurdles, the 4x400 relay team third, the 4x100 relay team fourth, Sadarius Anderson sixth in the 200, and Jameat Williams eighth in the 400 hurdles.

Aiken girls (35 points): Coverson-Springs third in the triple jump and fourth in the 100 hurdles, and Jamison fifth in the high jump.

South Aiken boys (12 points): Jeffery Jackson fourth in the high jump, Lucas Kaden sixth in the 100 and eighth in the 200, Tylan Creech seventh in the long jump, and the 4x100 relay team eighth.

Midland Valley boys (6.5 points): Torion Whiteside sixth in the high jump, 4x100 relay team sixth.

North Augusta boys (5 points): DJ Curry fourth in the javelin.

Midland Valley girls (4 points): Tekinia Dixon fifth in the 100 hurdles.

Class AA

Strom Thurmond boys (44 points): Canaan Talbert 7th in the 400, 4x100 relay team seventh.

Silver Bluff boys (19 points): 4x400 relay team third, 4x100 relay team fifth, Hiszari Gantt fifth in the long jump, DenTavis Morris sixth in the 400, Trevion Harris 7th in the 100.

Barnwell girls (18.33 points): Kaitlyn Elmore tied for second in the high jump, 4x100 relay team seventh.

Strom Thurmond girls (8 points): J'Niya Barnes third in the 100 hurdles and seventh in the 400 hurdles.

Silver Bluff girls: (6 points): 4x400 relay team fifth, Alexis Bryant ninth in the high jump.

Barnwell boys (5 points): Tyler Smith fourth in the high jump.

Class A

Blackville-Hilda girls (9 points): Breyanna Williams second in the 400 hurdles and eighth in the 200.

Blackville-Hilda boys (8 points): Jamarien Priester third in the 110 hurdles, Tamari Daniels seventh in the 100.

Wagener-Salley boys (6 points): Chris Kitchings third in the long jump.

Ridge Spring-Monetta boys (4 points): DeAnte Hopkins sixth in the javelin, Kanaan Ligons eighth in the shot put.

Williston-Elko boys (3 points): 4x100 relay team sixth.

Ridge Spring-Monetta girls (1 point): 4x100 relay team eighth.