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Pierce closes career with second state title

L-E’s Lawson gets second, third place in 4A track and field meet

Posted: May 15, 2017 3:27 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Photo provided/

CAMDEN HIGH TRACK COACH Emet Reyes is flanked by Tajz Bradley, the AAA state runner-upin the triple jump, and Lindsay Pierce, who won his second straight AAA state title in the pole vault.

Earlier this spring, when asked about his chances to repeat as the state’s AAA pole vault champion, Camden senior Lindsay Pierce did not hesitate in saying that he felt good about his training and chances for a repeat.

Saturday, those feelings turned into another state championship medal as Pierce successfully defended his title by clearing the bar at 12-6 in the South Carolina High School League Track and Field State Championships held inside Harry Parone Stadium at Spring Valley High Schol.

Pierce was joined in Columbia by teammate and classmate, Tazj Bradley, whose leap of 35-11 was good for second in the triple jump.

In the class 4A meet, Lugoff-Elgin sophomore Gatlin Lawson was second in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200-meter dash while senior teammate Thai Wood finished fourth in the discus throw and eighth in the shot put.

In the girls’ AA meet, North Central’s Jasmine Dunlap was seventh in the 400-meter run.

Camden: Going first in the competition, Pierce applied the pressure on the rest of the eight competitors when he cleared 12-6 on his initial try. The other seven vaulters were unable to clear that height with Joey Schirripa of Powdersville finishing second at 11-6.

Pierce immediately jumped to 14-6, which would have been his personal best, on his next try but was unable to clear that height.  

Camden head coach Emet Reyes said the sky is now the limit for Pierce, who signed with The Citadel to compete in the pole vault after having played baseball and running track in the spring at Camden High.

“Lindsay has a bright future in front of him at the Citadel,” Reyes said. “He will be fully invested into the track program and after a summer of camps and competing he will show significant improvement.

“I don’t know if I ever coached a young man as determined as Lindsay. The pole vault is an extremely technical event and he juggled playing baseball and practicing his vaulting on the weekend.”  

Reyes added that Pierce had a great support system, including his family as well as Bulldogs’ head baseball coach Denny Beckley, who never stood in his team’s starting second baseman’s way of playing and excelling in two sports.

“Lindsay has had tremendous support from his parents and Coach Beckley,” Reyes said. “It’s been a joy watching him improve from seven-feet his first year to 12-feet to two state championships.”

Bradley came into the AAA state meet as the lowest qualifying seed entering the competition.  Each competitor in the triple jump is given six attempts and on her second attempt, Bradley went 35-11, good enough for second place behind the 36-09.50 posted by Emerald’s Elizabeth Self. 

Reyes said hard work in the days leading to the state finals paid off for Bradley.

“This was an incredible improvement from her qualifying jump of 34-4 at the Upper State qualifier the week before,” he said. “Tajz now holds the Camden High School records in the triple jump, long jump and was a member of last year’s 4 x 100-meter relay team that holds the school record, as well.”

Reyes said Bradley is a natural athlete and leaves Camden after putting her own stamp on the school’s track and field record books.

“Tajz has only been triple jumping for one and a half years,” Reyes said. “The improvement she has shown is due to her work ethic and determination.”

Lugoff-Elgin: Anyone who watched Gatlin Lawson play football last fall at Lugoff-Elgin knows he is fast in pads. Take off the helmet, protective pants and shoulder pads and he is even quicker.

Last Saturday, the Demon sophomore finished second in the 100-meter dash with a final time of 10.91, chasing only Lower Richland junior Ronald Fuller who ran a 10.74.

Lawson took third in the 200-meter dash with a final clocking of 21.86. Fuller also won at that distance with a 21.32 time.

Wood, a senior who started at defensive tackle for Matt Campbell’s Demons football team in the fall, was fourth in the discus with a throw of 142-01. He took eighth in the shot put with a best heave of 42-02.

North Central: Sophomore Jasmine Dunlap finished seventh in the girls’ AA 400-meter run with a time of 1:04.23.

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